SSD data storage is often considered mostly for high performance. Concerns about the reliability of the SSD, long considered its weak point, are, in fact, overcome. And market data speak of a growth that shows no signs of stopping: it will grow at an annual rate of 10.2% until 2030, when it will be worth over 46 billion dollars, according to Allied Market Research.
Enterprise SSD Storage Solutions: The Performance vs. Reliability Debate
The debate around solid-state data storage focuses primarily on performance, and it’s perfectly understandable: as the demand for IT grows, so do the performance needs.
Interest in solid-state storage has grown regardless of form, whether you’re talking about all-flash arrays, hybrid arrays, or other SSD systems. In addition to obvious benefits in data writing and reading speed, energy consumption, and silence, data reliability may also be an advantage.
It is logical that fewer moving parts translate into reduced reliability risks (and a quick look at datasheets and statistics to compare mean time between failures for SSDs and Hard Disk Drives, or HDD, does not show big differences).
The trade-off between price and endurance in SSD storage
Another important element to consider is the trade-off between price and resistance. The fact that organizations are moving towards solid-state data storage due to the higher levels of reliability may be even more significant when one considers that the industry is currently busy driving the price of SSD down by implementing configurations that sometimes reduce its resistance to achieve certain levels of savings.
In fact, these implementations vary from the more resistant SLC flash technologies to MLC or TLC ones; therefore, the relative cost of storing data decreases as the storage density of a single cell increases. Of course, as the density level increases, the amount of write and erase cycles a single cell can withstand decreases.
Recovery times, overheating, crashes: other benefits of SSD storage
Another relevant element is that when the archiving jobs on SSD or HDD fail, the data must be recreated separately. In this case, the performance of solid-state storage significantly accelerates the recovery process; therefore, even where solid-state and hard drive data storage has the same failure rates, the amount of downtime will be greatly reduced with the SSD.
Hard drives are also susceptible to unforeseen mechanical problems, such as scratches or crashes and failures from overheating and dust. Solid-state storage, on the other hand, is not exposed to mechanical failure and can survive higher temperatures.
Enterprise storage: how priorities change
SSD storage systems for corporate storage have been designed starting from the needs of companies, which use SSD disks for applications such as Big Data within servers that not only have to withstand work peaks but also have to support such load peaks for a long time: the difference with a client-type SSD – the one that can be found integrated into a modern notebook, for example – is clear.
For example, SSDs for corporate storage must meet more stringent requirements in terms of unrecoverable errors on the total amount of data processed: an SSD for corporate storage, in this sense, is ten times more performing than a client SSD and can expect one bit of error for every ten quadrillion bits (about 1.11 PetaBytes) processed.
SSDs intended for enterprise storage have other characteristics, including:
- the ability to maintain high performance (read and write) 24/7;
- withstand higher temperature conditions than conventional SSDs;
- performance and work peaks are constant over long periods.
How to choose the best data storage solution
Making sure you have chosen the best data storage solution goes through some merit evaluations that must recognize the specific need of the action and application for which SSD storage is requested. Today the market for enterprise-level SSDs is very rich: there are options for everyone, which also means that it is easier to make some light decisions when choosing.
For example, one would automatically think that the best-performing SSD is automatically the best choice; but a lot depends on the needs of the company: the risk, in fact, is paying a lot for a hardware component whose performance exceeds the required workload. Therefore, it is important to consider what the company needs:
- Do you need an SSD with high capacity?
- What are the performance margins that the specific workload provides?
- What is the minimum latency below which the company cannot consider an SSD?
- If the SSD is linked to an application that manages critical data for the company’s core business, what are its capabilities in terms of disaster recovery?
Data storage: what to keep in mind
It is clear, then, that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to data storage and SSD storage. Each situation requires a different response and has much to do with both the sector in which the company operates and the data it intends to archive: are they structured or unstructured?
Furthermore, a company operating in the financial or healthcare sector must comply with stricter compliance and regulatory conditions due to the sensitivity of the information it must keep. At the same time, enterprises must keep in mind that it is essential to choose the SSD storage solution based on the data that needs to be managed (and the speed with which the company wants to access it or wants to recover it in case of a cyber incident, for example): conversely, the risk is not to satisfy the needs of the data and not to have achieved the desired result.
Finally, the upfront cost of implementing an SSD storage solution is only part of the story – the true expense to your business will depend on how you operate it each day for years to come. This implies that, beyond the obvious considerations of economies of scale and negotiations with the vendors during the purchase phase, it will also be necessary to take into account technical assistance, consumption, and the frequency of hardware updates: they are all elements that affect the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).