Feedback Needed On Seagate Skyhawk Versus WD Purple Surveillance Drives

We are an OEM of a popular VMS and, as such, produce close to 1000 recording servers per year (about 2000 drives per year).

We have been using WD Purple drives such as the WD20PURX in 2TB. We have an opportunity to lower our costs significantly (about 10% less) by going to Seagate Skyhawk such as the ST2000VX003 in 2TB (we were burnt a few years ago by Seagate and have hesitated trying them once more).

Before making this decision, I would like to know your personal experience with Seagate surveillance drives (and maybe failure statistics for the Seagate Skyhawk series).

Thanks in advance for your help.


1, thanks for sharing this question. Very interesting!

I can't provide advice since do not have expertise here but did want to point out one relevant IPVM study: Favorite Video Surveillance Hard Drive Statistics 2016: Seagate vs WD

We'll share this with other members to get direct responses.

Thanks John, that was a good report. Hopefully i'll get some feedback from some intensive Seagate users- so far it's mostly WD feedback

You won't find many, and that is more telling than anything. WD just works and that is why people rely on them. Risking data to save a few percent is just not worth it. Knowledgable people know this and that's why you will find most use WD.

My personal experience is that WD Purple drives are more reliable than the Seagate SV35/Surveillance series.

This is timely, as I was just having this discussion in prep for our hard drive testing.

I was under the impression that SkyHawk wasn't fully available yet. We were just trying to price out models for testing and only find the 10TG SkyHawk online.

We have used WD for a few years with ZERO failures and the three companies we buy hardware from use WD. If one of those vendors moved to Seagate, we would probably not purchase from them or buy diskless units for a while until we were satisfied they were just as reliable. Switching technologies is always a little scary, and I am sure that's why you're asking this question today. No matter how confident you are in moving, if you have a few more failures than normal, it may not be worth saving 10%. My advice, reach out to your top 20% clients and ask them what they think. Only do that if you're planning on passing some savings along or if you're just not going to increase the cost of your product do to other expenses increasing. I realize including customers in every decision isn't possible, but IMO something as crucial as HDDs warrants a little more effort on the manufactures part.

Our best vendors and the people I want to buy from, reach out to us regularly for our opinion. If it goes south (sometimes it does) I don't mind because they warned me.

BTW, Seagate should be doing better than 10%. If whoever is negotiating this deal for you can only get 10%, you need to buy them "Secrets of Power Negotiating for Salespeople" and require them to read it before their next meeting.

Seagate and WD have very similar prices. When we started using WD 5 years ago (switching away from Seagate because of issues with their Barracuda drives), the WD and Seagate drives were practically the same price (we chose to go with WD Black at that time; we have since switched to WD Purple because of price).

Today, in the volumes that we buy, WD and Seagate are normally almost the same. 10% is actually a big difference for products that are seen on the marketplace as equals. Seagate and WD evidently price-check each other.

By the way, our volume (thousands of drives per year) is not enough for a direct relationship with WD or Seagate - we purchase through distributors just like most other small-to-medium sized assemblers.

The Skyhawk looks to have a 180TB workload rating published. I believe that maps back to about 50Mbps/sec of sustained inbound video write activity to the drive under 24/7/365 workloads.

- not accounting for multi-drive systems (distributed workload)

- assuming sustained bit-rates

- not accounting for any additional overhead MB/yr for index writes

Seems reasonably suited for most VMS applications.

We have been using the Purple drives for 2+ years (over 500 drives) No failures, Excellent product.

One Note: there are many things to save a few bucks on but the Hard Drive is not one, you need absolute 100% reliability above cost

Forgot to mention that buying the Western Digital wholesale over the last year or so the price has dropped 25%, so why change?

We used to get very agressive WD pricing and it was satisfactory to us - but we just received notice that our supplier could no longer sell those drives to us at the agreed price (an increase of about 5%). This has prompted us to look at alternatives and we can get Seagate drives at 10% cost savings over our old WD price (and 15% less than the proposed new price). At the end of the year, that could easily mean over $50k of savings for us and we would be negligent not to at least examine the alternatives to WD.

I just do not trust seagate... had a few fail in the past whereas, WD has been pretty reliable. Of course, I can't speak to the Seagate Skyhawk but I do use the WD purple. No issues yet.

Keep in mind the WE Purple drives rotate at a maximum of 5,400 RPM so they are best suited as archive drives. The SkyHawk drives are 7,200 RPM, tuned to 90% write / 10% read cycles and outperform the purples in many tests. I'm a WD fan myself but if durable, these drives may be a real contender. Just my 2 cents.

I am unsure that the Skyhawks have 7200 RPM spindle rates. I have looked at the datasheets and the longer specsheet and the only mention of spindle speed was "Low-RPM spindle speed". They surely could make it much clearer.

As for the WD Purple, they are Intellipower, which is a variable speed from 5400 to 7200 RPM on demand.