According to research conducted by IDC, the price-performance of SSD exceeds mechanical hard disk drives (HDD) in a number of areas. Here are just a few of their research findings:
- SSD improve data access times for applications which increases productivity by 35 percent or about $93 per user per year.
- SSD improve reliability to reduce PC downtime which can result in productivity costs of 40 percent or $52 per user per year.
- The extended battery life of SSD adds 11 hours of work time for users who travel.
Many of the benefits of SSD can be attributed to the difference between solid-state and mechanical data storage, but they may not be intuitive to someone unfamiliar with SSD. So let’s outline the specific benefits of SSD over HDD and offer some analogies that might help explain those advantages:
- Speed – Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of SSD is their speed. SSD performance is much faster than mechanical hard drives both for data access but especially for startup times. It takes longer than a minute to boot the average computer with a mechanical HDD, but you can boot the same system with an SSD in 15 seconds. Consider how much time is saved using an SSD over an HDD. Another way to think of mechanical HDD versus SSD data speeds is to think about the difference between having to use an encyclopedia index to find the information you want instead of a Google search – the mechanical steps of HDD data access will take longer.
- Reliability – Another one of the benefits of SSD is their durability. As with any mechanical device with moving parts, HDD break. An HDD spins at 7200 RPM or 67 MPH at its outer rim. If the disk can’t spin or one of the moving parts stops working the hard drive becomes useless and the data is lost. With an SSD all the data is stored in memory and there are no moving parts. If you drop an SSD or the hardware becomes damaged in some way, the data stored in memory is still there because there are no moving parts to break. Consider the difference between a power generator and a battery; the generator has to be able to spin to produce energy where the battery delivers power no matter what.
- Durability – SSD will outlast HDD. The reason has a lot to do with the HDD’s moving parts. An HDD starts and stops frequently, and eventually the disk will wear out just like the brake pads on a car. The SDD has no moving parts so there is nothing to wear out.
- Power consumption – In terms of power, an SSD consumes substantially less power than an HDD. In general, mechanical devices require more power since energy has to be used to drive the mechanical components and for cooling, since moving parts generate friction. As with our generator analogy, you have to turn a crank or use energy to produce energy while batteries require much less energy to recharge.
- Maintenance – Mechanical hard drives do require routine maintenance, such as defragmentation. The more fragmented the data on the disk becomes, the slower the disk’s performance. SSD do not have this issue since all data is stored in memory. To extend our car analogy, consider the amount of maintenance an internal combustion engine requires versus a hybrid car. The moving parts in the gas engine have to replaced when worn, lubricated regularly, and serviced to prevent failure. Most hybrids and electric cars require little or no maintenance; they just go.
- Noise – An additional selling point is the SSD’s quiet operations. When you have a data center humming with servers and hardware, the quieter operations of the SSD make a huge difference. Just consider how exhausting it is to work in a room with a noisy air conditioner; even as white noise the continuous hum is distracting. SSD make no noise because there are no moving parts. And they run so much cooler than HDD that no additional fans or cooling are needed that can add to the noise.
These are just a few of the ways to talk about the benefits of SSD over HDD in terms that are easy to understand, and easy to sell. What’s your favorite analogy for explaining the benefits of SSD?