The battle between computer storage formats continues as traditional mechanical hard drives duke it out with the flash solid-state drives trying to usurp their throne. SSDs thrive in modern, mobile devices like tablet computers. Flash solid-state drives are even the storage format of choice in some Windows laptops, as well as Apple’s Macbook and the Google Chromebook.
While the stability of SSD storage is renown, the old school HDD still reigns supreme when it comes to the price vs. storage ratio. According to data reported in StorageNewsletter, the cost per unit of storage ($ per GB) for SSD storage is 10 times more expensive than traditional HDD storage drives. So obviously, solid-state drives must hold some other advantages for the battle with HDDs to be any sort of contest.
Advantages of the SSD
Solid-state drives bring some unique advantages to the equation when compared to their old hard drive brethren. For one, they don’t have any issues with backwards compatibility with older versions of the technology, something that has hamstrung storage vendors designing systems around HDDs. Additionally, SSDs allow the development of turnkey storage solutions that take advantage of software-based innovations that leverage low cost multi-core, multi-socket CPU server architectures.
These new server storage designs use SSD arrays to derive performance that exceeds traditional HDD solutions. Considering the higher costs normally found with solid-state storage, higher performance and better data efficiency are the two major advantages causing IT operations procurement personnel to look at solid-state for their computer storage needs. Software driven data services like block and file protocols, auto-tiering, snapshots, cloning, and replication work more efficiently on SSD.
Implementing some of those data services offers efficiency improvements on a ratio of 10 to 1, which helps to bring the overall storage cost in-line with a solution using old-school hard drive technology. Additionally, SSD systems that use software to “dedupe” the stored data are able to enjoy capacities that equal high-end HDD storage solutions, with the superior performance typical of solid-state drives.
Software Driven Data Efficiency Key for SSD to Win the War
These software-based data services like deduping remain the key factor in giving SSD storage solutions a price performance ratio superior to traditional hard drive storage. Today, implementation of SSD systems using these services is allowing smaller storage vendors to compete with more established companies in the computer storage sector.
Neuralytix, a market research firm focused on the computer storage industry, predicts that by 2016, inline data efficiency will be an industry standard for tier 0 and tier 1 storage. If their prediction comes true, expect the old school mechanical hard drive to be on its way out in the computer industry. They have seen the storage future, and it is squarely in the realm of solid-state drives.
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