Solid state drive (SSD) or Hard disk drive (HDD) for your server


Hard disk drives are being scraped off, so to speak. Solid-state drives are taking up their place. However, it could be a bit too early to completely trash out our magnetic storage drives that dictated the market for so long and continues to dictate even today. Are SSDs really worth investing for, or are just another of those marketing baits?

This article will provide you a side-by-side comparison of both these drives; we shall also serve the all-hyped SSDs with a grind of salt.

Read on to find out

Solid-state drive is new, faster, reliable, and in every sense better, the manufacturers claim. Unlike our HDDs, SSDs do not rely on spinning components and use solid transistors. The way engineers achieved this pinnacle is commendable, nonetheless.

The introduction of SSDs, in fact, motioned the migration from Hard Disks benefiting games that earlier relied on cheap dedicated servers in US.

The hard drive that came with your decades-old desktop has moving parts- or more appropriately, arms- that it relies upon to read and write data. HDDs work in many ways like an old record player except for the fact that it does not touch the disk anywhere. The arm inside a hard drive holds several heads that read and write bits on, or rather into, a magnetic disk lying underneath it.

The functioning of a hard disk is complicated with the platter flying only a hundred microns above the red/write head. It is not at all surprising that these drives are delicate and are to be handled with care. Shocks- as light as a notebook falling off a table -can dead your hard drive. Repair of these disks is a nightmare, even for professionals, and witchcraft for amateurs like us.

Drifting back to our discussion on Solid-state drives, SSDs have an array of transistors arranged in rows and columns forming cells at each intersection. The arrangement of transistors in a grid can be packed or sparse to achieve an array of varying density. Tighter packed grids have higher storage capacity, because of more number of cells over the same physical space when compared with a sparsely stacked transistor arrangement.

We shall not go any deeper into the technicality of either drive and bring back our focus to the subject: which one – SSD or HDD- should you choose with your server?

Below we have compiled the pros & cons of each drive to help you choose the right drive for your server.

Power consumption & Heat Generation

Hard drives are prone to high heat and generate huge amount of heat themselves. Solid state drives have higher refractoriness compared to a HDD, and also generate lesser heat. Cooler systems are quieter and work better. Considering the fact that cooling systems take a huge portion of operating expenditure in a data center, solid state drives in a server could be a big help.

Servers run on high RAID configurations. Consequently, little power savings add up to a tangible and noticeable reduction in power costs. It takes quite a power to run mechanical parts of a hard drive, and to add, there are frictional losses as well- however small it might be. SSDs do not employ any moving component, and are nothing but a stack of transistors. SSDs are quieter, have no moving parts, and use lesser power.

Transmission speed

It would have been appropriate if we had started the discussion with the largest difference between the two- the speed. Nonetheless, it is only second to mention that Solid state drives beat our conventional platter drives by a big margin.

Notwithstanding the whopping speed (7200 revolutions per minute) at which hard drives spin, they can only read/write 80-160 megabytes of data per second. Solid state drives clearly outshine with its ability to deliver read/write speed up to 550 megabytes per second.

Solid state drive

Price & Capacity

There is a reason why good old hard disks are still used, that too in good numbers. Hard drives, though bulkier than Solid drives, have big storage capacities. As of now, SSDs do not come with more than a few terabytes of storage, and that too, rarely.

To upscale storage over the same physical space, manufacturers have started storing multiples (two time, three times, and more) of data on the same cell. This practice, though laudable, eventually results in a downfall in the performance of the drive.

It is little that we pay for hard drives; when measured on a per GB basis, SSDs cost three times more than hard drives, but deliver superior performance in return.

Albeit manufacturers vision data centers in future to be configured with only SSDs, the dream still seems far beyond being achievable.

Thought worth retaining

The performance of solid disks vary considerably among manufacturers. The difference in speed between HDDs & SSDs is striking and is only visible when used in good numbers –like, in a server. It would not be a wise move to dump hard drives off completely- as of now, at least. Instead, it’d be clever to deploy both Hard & Solid State drives to rip benefits from both these storage disks.

What are your thoughts on SSDs and why do you use them?

A comment box awaits you below. If you have any additional information that you believe can benefit us and also benefit the community reading this, drop the same in the comments.

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Author bio:

Nishant is a content writer by hobby and fortunately also by his profession. A state level tennis player, Nishant has written short stories, poems, and snippets for a number of blogs (including his own). Cloud Computing, Dedicated Server Hosting and Cyber Security are Nishant’s forte. When he is not writing he is either sleeping or playing tennis.



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