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Are Hard Drives the Walking Dead?


Yes, hard disk drives (HDDs) have been around for a while. Which makes this the ideal time to evaluate your HDDs today—with help from the HPE hard disk drive testing and qualification process.

Blog_HDD_Quality.jpgThe amount of data that is generated every day is staggering—and has been building since the beginning of the digital age.

Unless you’ve been in a coma like Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes from the popular television show The Walking Dead, by now you’ve heard a thing or two about Big Data. A quick Google search yields about 55 million results, starting with academic articles from the likes of the Harvard Business Review to the Wall Street Journal.

But, you only have to enter a local eatery to see just about every man, woman and child with a device of some kind, whether it’s a smart phone or a tablet. What most people don’t think about is the data footprint each of those devices creates. Conversely, if you run an enterprise data center, you are working to prevent the data apocalypse and avoid a societal breakdown (downtime in the datacenter). You get the value of data and it’s up to you to determine how it’s managed and stored.

Why HDDs are very much alive

With the advent and adoption of newer storage technologies like solid-state drives (SSDs), many reports have predicted that hard disk drives (HDDs) will become “walkers” and die. However, I’d argue that with this unprecedented data growth, we will continue to see a need for durable, high-capacity, low-cost solutions. That’s where HDDs come in. They live! And I believe will continue to survive in a safe and secure future. 

As one of the oldest computer components around, HDDs are often taken for granted as a viable storage solution in enterprise environments. The HPE HDD portfolio boasts a range of capacities, up to 10 TB and growing. 

So, you might be saying: Great! HDDs offer large capacities and are great for large amounts of data. But, why should I buy HPE HDDs?

Simply put, HPE may not make HDDs, but we do make them better.  The recently issued business white paper, The driving force behind HDD quality, reliability, performance and satisfaction, outlines our internal Hard Disk Drive Qualification (HDDQ) process. Customers can deploy with confidence knowing that every drive meets the rigors of HDDQ.  Our suppliers regularly tell us that HPE has one of the most rigorous testing and qualification processes in the industry. This time-proven methodology helps us drive continuous improvement of our current and future products, ensuring that each HPE HDD solution delivers the business outcomes you expect:

  • Proven performance for any workload
  • Unwavering reliability
  • Outstanding cost-efficiency

4 Steps for HDDQ

  1. Selection evaluation—A new HDD candidate drive is thoroughly assessed.
  2. Development validation—Extensive tests are performed on the HDD candidate and exhaustive system integration sequences are completed with HPE proprietary applications.
  3. Supplier production qualification—The HDD supplier’s processes and procedures are scrutinized.
  4. Continuous improvement and performance monitoring—Feedback on actual HDD product behavior is used to improve current and future releases of the product.

What does HDDQ mean for you?

 HPE quality means that our drives have gone through more than 3.35 million hours of testing and qualification. If the testing isn’t enough, we add HPE digitally signed firmware to each drive. HPE firmware ensures predictable, consistent drive behavior inside HPE servers. Digitally signed firmware provides the assurance that the firmware on the drive comes from a trusted source and hasn’t been tampered with. HPE firmware protects your data from malicious attacks that could result its theft, erasure or both.

This is important because interestingly enough, there isn’t an industry standard for drive firmware. Firmware can vary by supplier and even in HDDs and SSDs produced by the same supplier. This inconsistency can result in drives that don’t behave consistently once inside a server. I’ll cover more about HPE Digitally Signed Firmware in an upcoming blog post.

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee once said, “Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.” Trusting your data to HPE HDDs is a good bet then, as we strive to bring only the best solutions to you. And I believe they aren’t the walking dead at all but more like Sheriff Grimes, hard to kill and determined to survive.

Learn more about HPE HDDs.

About the Author


Michael Pratt’s passion is helping customers go further. His job is making products that make servers go further. He spends his days connecting the two.

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