Is SSD only for performance?

November 24, 2012 – 12:34 pm

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

Normally solid state devices (SSD) including non-persistent DRAM, and persistent nand flash are thought of in the context of performance including bandwidth or throughput, response time or latency, and IOPS or transactions. However there is another role where SSD are commonly used where the primary focus is not performance. Besides consumer devise such as iPhones, iPads, iPods, Androids, MP3, cell phones and digital cameras, the other use is for harsh environments.

Harsh environments include those (both commercial and government) where use of SSDs are a solution to vibration or other rough handling. These include commercial and military aircraft, telemetry and mobile command, control and communications, energy exploration among others.

What’s also probably not commonly thought about is that the vendors or solution providers for the above specialized environments include mainstream vendors including IBM (via their TMS acquisition) and EMC among others. Yes, EMC is involved with deploying SSD in different environments including all nand flash-based VNX systems.

In a normal IT environment, vibration should not be an issue for storage devices assuming quality solutions with good enclosures are used. However some environments that are pushing the limits on density may become more susceptible to vibration. Not all of those use cases will be SSD opportunities, however some that can leverage IO density along with tolerance to vibration will be a good fit.

Does that mean HDDs can not or should not be used in high density environments where vibration can be an issue?

That depends.

If the right drive enclosures, type of drive are used  following manufactures recommendations, then all should be good. Keep in mind that there are many options to leverage SSD for various scenarios.

Which tool or technology to use when, where or how much will depend on the specific situation, or perhaps your preferences for a given product or approach.

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

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