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SATA disk drive duty cycle

What's all this talk about SATA disk drive duty cycle?

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Good question, the answer is that disk drives are designed and built with certain operational targets and usage profiles. For example, enterprise Fibre Channel (FC), SCSI, and SAS disk drives are designed for high performance and continuous operation. They have a higher cost as they include additional technology to support this type of operation, can withstand higher temperatures and have more robust components.

Lower cost ATA and SATA disk drives are designed to a different usage profile. The disk may not be spinning all the time, and even if the disk is spinning all of the time, they may be supporting fewer I/Os streams concurrently. So, when you hear the term disk drive duty cycle, that is referring to what type of activity and usage the disk drive has been designed for.

This was first published in July 2005

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