According to a study conducted by J. Gold Associates for Intel, the SSD advantages in terms of cost start at $195 for an enterprise SSD with a three-year lifecycle and climb to $492 over five years. The ROI on SSDs ranges from 98 percent over three years to 246 percent over five years. The overall performance and longevity of solid-state technology offer SSD advantages that are hard to ignore when budgeting for enterprise hardware.
So what are the specific SSD advantages that make solid-state drives a must-have data storage platform for the enterprise? Here are four of the most compelling reasons:
1) Reliability – Unlike hard-disk drives (HDDs) which have moving parts and use a physical media to read and write data, SSDs have no moving parts. All the data is stored in silicon memory. As a result, there is less to break if the data drive is subject to a shock or ongoing vibration. No moving parts mean there is no risk of mechanical failure. And SSDs are much more tolerant of extreme temperatures, making them ideal for difficult installations and extreme environments where HDDs would surely fail.
When you look at a side-by-side comparison of the performance of some of the leading SSDs against the leading HDDs, the mean time between failures (MTBF) says it all – 1.2 to 2 million hours on average for SSDs versus 300,000 to 750,000 hours for HDDs. If you need a reliable data storage system for a data center, or any kind of tough environment, the SSD advantages make it a much more reliable choice than an HDD.
2) Performance – SSDs will always outperform HDDs. Mechanical drives have delays inherent in seek times as the system scans the disk. A single-level cell (SLC) SSD provides a constant seek time since the storage is solid state. HDDs also vary in performance because of the way the storage system operates. Since data is stored in sectors on a moving platter, performance will degrade as the disk fills up. The data on the faster spinning outer edge of the platter are accessible more quickly than the slower moving inner sectors, which can lead to a decrease in read/write speeds of up to 50 percent. Those kinds of delays can have a huge impact in a data center. One of the SSD advantages for data center use is that disk performance is constant.
In an enterprise setting, SSDs deliver incredibly fast IOPS (input/output operations per second) compared to mechanical disk drives. When assessing SSD drives for enterprise settings, you can’t use the traditional metric of cost per gigabyte as an effective ROI metric. The real value of SSDs is measured in IOPS; the price per IOPS can translate into incredible savings when you consider the speed in data access which reduces the number of drives needed for the same applications, and results in substantial savings from reduced power consumption.
3) Manageability – Remote health monitoring is an essential part of any enterprise infrastructure. One of the SSD advantages is that as a solid-state device, it’s easier to manage remotely. Algorithms can be built into control circuits to compensate for bad data blocks, to determine if there are an excessive number of read/write failures, or to detect if the drive is coming to the end it its useful live. Where the SSD can offer remote monitoring capabilities, there are only limited tools available for HDD monitoring. With an SSD you can predict a failure before it affects the data center.
4) Power consumption – While it may be less of a concern in most enterprise environments, the fact that SSDs require far less power than a mechanical HDD can be a real advantage. In the data center it means that SSDs not only consume less power but they generate less heat which reduces HVAC demand. For installations where the SSD has to be powered using a battery or solar power, such as a field installation, the lower power requirements offer a lot more flexibility.
When developing an enterprise data storage strategy the SSD advantages are clear. The combined performance benefits of higher IOPS, greater reliability, easier manageability, and lower power consumption make SSDs the most cost-effective choice for almost any enterprise application. Can you think of additional SSD advantages that we overlooked?