Updated: The Pros and Cons of SSD in the Enterprise

Energy efficient – “Using SSD technology reduces the overall power consumption of devices such as disk arrays, servers and laptops, but also improves their performance and environmental ruggedness,” said Jieming Zhu, distinguished technologist at HP StorageWorks.

Speed – In short, SSDs are blazingly fast. They are even great for developers doing complex and/or big builds. “The spreadsheet math on solid state disks is simple: They allow you to do more, faster builds so that QA teams don’t to wait as long and customers get the products sooner,” said David Intersimone, VP of Developer Relations and chief evangelist, Embarcadero Technologies.

Several of his company’s developers use SSDs for local builds as well as larger product builds.

“The savings and time to market, as well as the speed and stability make it simple to choose SSDs.”

Performance – “Solid state drives continue to offer a performance premium over other storage solutions and that gap continues to widen,” said Mei. They are more reliable, but they are also more rugged, energy efficient and a “greener” option.

Durability – “SSD is designed to operate in more extreme environments of up to 70 degrees Celsius. With no moving parts, SSD drives are less fragile and silent than hard disks, which are more susceptible to operational and non-operational shock and vibration,” explained Zhu.

Control of unstructured files – The incredible rise of unstructured data is having a dramatic impact on storage and data management applications.

“We’re seeing growing demand for specialized storage systems, including storage media that give users the control or flexibility they need to manage unstructured files over their lifetime,” said Jon Affeld, senior director of Product Marketing and Business Development at BlueArc , a provider of high performance, unified network storage systems. “In the near term, it will serve as a powerful caching tier for fast access to files that are in high demand. Moving forward, we can expect the use of SSDs to get more sophisticated as we see data management applications incorporating more powerful search, classification, archiving and retrieval functions.”

Compatibility with operating systems – “All SSD vendors provide existing input/output storage protocol compatibility, interoperable with the existing operating system storage stack,” said Zhu.

Caching – Storage virtualization software helps shape the shared storage infrastructure required by virtual IT environments and takes good advantage of SSDs where appropriate, reducing the write duty-cycle by caching upstream of the cards to minimize actual writes to media. This effectively extends the useful life of these premium-priced assets.

“It can also make modest sized SSDs appear to have much larger logical capacity by thin provisioning its resources,” said Augie Gonzalez, director of Product Marketing at DataCore Software. “The sage advice is consider SSDs as one element of the physical storage configuration, but put your money on device-independent storage virtualization software to take full advantage of them.”

The cons …

Cost – SSDs remain more expensive than HDDs. One of the major reasons behind many growth predictions is the expectation that consumer grade NAND memory prices will continue to decline and enable much lower unit costs.

“The fallacy of this assumption is that most of the cost estimates are based upon the expected reductions of consumer-grade multi-level cell (MLC) NAND memory chips,” explained Joel Hagberg, VP of Enterprise Marketing in Toshiba Storage Device Division. “In order to provide the reliability required for enterprise applications, most SSD vendors are using more expensive single-level cell (SLC) NAND memory chips or enterprise grade MLC (eMLC) NAND chips, which will not follow the aggressive consumer grade NAND price reductions.”