Thursday, April 10, 2014

Watch Out HDDs - SSDs are Taking Over the Market

Although hard disk drives (HDDs) have current advantages in storage capacity and price per unit of storage, alternatives have been said to be the next advancement in storage. HDDs are data storage devices that store and retrieve data through fast rotating disks that are coated with a magnetic material and can retain data when powered off. Downfalls of HDDs include chances of erased data from magnetism, high power consumption, and slower file operating speeds. HDDs are also prone to failure and many manufactures do not provide a warranty over 12 months. Because of these issues, solid-state drives (SSDs) and onboard flash solutions have recently grown to be the most favorable storage alternative to date.

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are data storage devices that use integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently. Providing advantages such as durability, reduced power consumption, and speed, SSDs contain no moving parts to operate, which reduces its chances of failure.  Downfalls of SSDs include price, capacity, and an erasing limit on the flash memory cells. Once that limit is reached, data is erased when data is written - it cannot over-write like a HDD does. SSDs typically have lower access time, less latency, run silently, and are more resistant to physical shock. Other benefits of SSDs include no operational noise or vibrations, low heat production, and reliability.

As onboard flash solutions and SSDs continue to gain popularity as a storage alternative, many enterprises are seeking out the pros and cons between HHDs and SSDs. Cost is one of the leading barriers keeping enterprises from becoming an all-flash  enterprise storage environment. HDDs are typically around $0.15 per gigabyte, whereas SSDs are roughly $0.50 per gigabyte. The cost of consumer grade SSDs has continued to drop as of 2013 and as the adoption rate continues to increase, the price/performance ratio is at an interesting point. However, SSDs are still about seven times more expensive than HDDs per unit of storage. HDDs also win the capacity war by offering greater storage capacity than SDDs. Entry-level SSDs currently max out at 1TB, requiring the purchase of higher capacity drives for more storage, which can be costly. HDDs provide more capacity with less cost. Although SSDs typically have a longer life span, there is a tremendous amount of variation between the life expectancy and reliability of SSDs depending on the type and what it’s made for (laptop, servers, etc.). 

As HDDs continue to be the dominant choice for consumers, many are becoming more concerned with computing performance, not cost. Whether starting with a new storage system or upgrading to SSDs, we will continue to see the rise of flash-optimized storage grow. An HDD still might be the right choice if you need a lot of storage capacity, want to keep costs down, and speed is not a factor. SSDs could be the right choice if limited storage capacity is not a concern, but speed, form factor, noise, or fragmentation are important factors and you are willing to pay for faster performance.

No comments:

Post a Comment