Updated: The Pros and Cons of SSD in the Enterprise

Questionable life expectancy – NAND Flash, the underlying technology of today’s majority SSD products, has write wear-out limitations, with embedded processors, software and over provisioning of capacity, among other things,” said Zhu. SSD manufactures have addressed this limitation, however, this inevitably adds another link in the chain of the overall reliability of SSD-based systems that must be rigorously tested and certified. “The lack of standard measurement of the life expectancy of SSD is a major drawback,” Zhu warned.

Capacity – There has been a rapid increase in capacity, said Mei, reaching levels as high as 2TB for a single SSD. Even so, HDDs still have a significant advantage in both overall storage capacity and price per GB.

Technology is nascent – HP and other industry leaders including Intel and Sun/Oracle do not predict that SSD will replace hard drives in the enterprise. “Like any new technology, SSD is still at the testing stages so there are a number of factors and challenges that need to be addressed before it matures in the enterprise space,” said Zhu.

Not ideal for all – “SSD is not recommended for everyone. It is ideally suited for businesses that require high-performance, intensive I/O operations; are power sensitive; and/or are in a rugged environment,” said Zhu. HP expects SSD to be used as a premium performance tier in well balanced storage deployments.

SSD vendors are improving the technology everyday and the list of pros and cons will fluctuate accordingly over time. “HDDs have had 53 years of research and development to refine the electro-mechanics — the rotating media, moving read/write arms, etc. — of the components and to squeeze every possible refinement into that technology, based on magnetism, explained Willett.

“By comparison, SSDs have had only a relatively few number of years to refine the underlying technology of solid, unmoving electrical components, but already the latest generation of SSDs is challenging the HDD for position in the data center and in all mobile devices.”

A prolific and versatile writer, Pam Baker’s published credits include numerous articles in leading publications including, but not limited to: Institutional Investor magazine, CIO.com, NetworkWorld, ComputerWorld, IT World, Linux World, Internet News, E-Commerce Times, LinuxInsider, CIO Today Magazine, NPTech News (nonprofits), MedTech Journal, I Six Sigma magazine, Computer Sweden, NY Times, and Knight-Ridder/McClatchy newspapers. She has also authored several analytical studies on technology and eight books. Baker also wrote and produced an award-winning documentary on paper-making. She is a member of the National Press Club (NPC), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and the Internet Press Guild (IPG).