From the home office to the data center, storage has always been a huge factor in any infrastructure. The costs of implementing and maintaining storage devices for medium and large enterprises can be staggering and the data storage needs of an organization tend to out-pace its actual fiscal growth. On top of this, big data, business intelligence, and analytics platforms are advancing at a stellar pace and putting far more pressure on the performance of the storage hardware supporting it.
As any PC builder can tell you, switching your traditional platter hard drive out for a solid state drive (SSD) is one of the quickest and easiest ways to dramatically increase the performance of a system. With lightning fast read and write performance and transfer capabilities, SSDs greatly reduce startup, application launching, and load times. All of this with a huge impact on general computing ease and multi-tasking.
With all of these benefits, you would think that SSDs would have completely replaced traditional storage by now. There has been one major hurdle to overcome for complete domination of the market and that is price. SSDs were originally extremely expensive to manufacture and the price per gigabyte was well over $2 in the consumer space. As the capacities increased, the total cost and relative cost pre gigabyte also went up at a greater rate due to the fact that you needed more and better performing controllers to manage and access the data blocks. In the current market, prices have been decreasing rapidly and current drives can be found for as little as 80 cents per gigabyte. SSDs are now becoming ubiquitous in consumer products.
Now it’s time to evaluate how SSDs can impact business infrastructure in a meaningful and cost effective way. Enterprise grade SSD technology is still pricey when compared to their traditional counterparts but there are some very compelling reasons to outfit at least a portion of your infrastructure with solid state alternatives.
SSDs connected through normal wired connections like serial ATA (SATA) connections boast read and write speeds of 500 megabytes per second (MB/s), compared to 120 MB/s for high-end platter drives. Performance-based enterprise SSDs that connect directly to motherboards through PCIe connections boast read and write speeds of up to 2800 MB/s. These stats alone can give you an idea of where to implement SSD hardware.
The advantages of SSDs justify their cost when they are implemented to support the right tasks. They’re amazing devices when plugged directly into a data server that contains processor heavy tasks. Another great use is for big data and analytics tasks that can take hours or days, times which would be reduced drastically if the data was accessed via an SSD. They also make more sense as you start to virtualize applications and hosting software platforms. SSDs allow for better performance for these processor and user heavy tasks.
The return for SSDs is minimized when they’re used to store data that doesn’t require frequent access or performance. If you’re looking for simple data storage nothing will beat traditional storage hardware for cost per volume. But as your organization begins to require more analytics, virtualized applications, and hosted services, it may be time for you to move to SSDs.