SSD vs HDD for Network drive and network faster than local drive copying


4 computers in our office are using one of the computers's hard drive as a storage for artwork files (it proved more reliable than Network attached drive in the past).

With SSD being cheaper and my storage computer HDD getting a bit aged (4years) I am thinking about replacing it with SSD. My dilema is whether it makes sense (since over Gb network office computers will save with max 1Gb transfer anyway).

Trying to test reality I have tested transfer speed and sending 1GB (6 files in total) to different (newer) computer over network. The results were as expected about 1Gb speed (about 11sec).
Surprise came when I did the same just copying the same files to a different place on the same hard drive (at least 16sec).

This proved to me that SSD would give me some improvement.
Of course 3 other computers would not save files faster than 1Gbps each BUT combining for example 2 people saving at the same time to the same drive (plus other current operations on the same local computer) SSD would cope much better than HDD. Is my thinking right?
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. How much data are you storing and how safe does it have to be? This might be a case where a RAID 1, 0+1, or 5 might make sense. Have you considered replacing that machine with a NAS box like this (or cheaper, or whatever your needs are):

    If you are talking just a few e-mail archives or similar then yes an SSD would avoid bottlenecks when multiple users are searching or accessing data at the same time, but it seems like a pretty huge price to pay for a small amount of storage for only getting a benefit in a small subset of uses.

    Just as an example, that thecus storage unit and 5 2TB Western digital Red drives in a RAID 5 would be 8TB of relatively safe storage for about 1100 bucks. The limiting factor on transfers in that case is most likely going to be the network rather than the drives.

    Though if you only need a few tens of GB of storage and it doesn't need to be safe while being live then you could just get an SSD and a spinning disk and have the SSD for daily use and back it all up to the spinning disk in an automated way each night. Fairly safe, simple, fast, and cheap.
  2. Best answer
    If you're asking will the write times be faster to an SSD over your LAN, the answer is yes. That being said, if you're going to be using an SSD for a network group data storage platform I would look at your motherboard's RAID options. If that computer's internal storage controller can support RAID 5, redundancy is worth striving for in order to avoid that "oh S%&* - the drive croaked and I lost my files" moment. Looking at the performance of (1) 500GB Samsung 840 Evo vs (5) 120GB Samsung 840 Evo, your cost will be higher in terms of $/GB but your write speeds will be exponentially higher despite the individual drives performances being slightly less. That being said, if it were me I think it would be just as easy to backup the files to another source (whether that be another internal HDD, an external HDD or to a cloud-storage platform) daily/weekly so you can restore if someone has an "oh crap - I overwrote the wrong file". Assess how much space you need for those files at your peak of usage, then purchase an SSD with enough space to give you some wiggle room and a large HDD to backup the content.

    Easiest way to get what you want
  3. Traciatim said:
    Have you considered replacing that machine with a NAS

    Had bad experience, affordable technology is usually older cable-wise and I had problem with onboard software system. File dates going crazy from time to time etc.

    Thanks for all the advice.
  4. Milosz Nasadowski said:
    Traciatim said:
    Have you considered replacing that machine with a NAS

    Had bad experience, affordable technology is usually older cable-wise and I had problem with onboard software system. File dates going crazy from time to time etc.

    Thanks for all the advice.

    Then I think it comes down to how much storage you are going to need, and how safe it's going to need to be for the live copies. Are you talking terabytes or under 100GB per machine? Are you talking about single files that are large, or lots of accessing small files all over the drive for each user in succession?

    In my example previously, if your day to day usage is under 100GB of data what you could do is set up a 256GB SSD with a nightly backup job on to a 2TB spinning disk which is an acting copy of the live data as well as a daily 7 days of accessible backups, or possibly as files don't get touched for 7 days they auto move over to the 2TB disk as well as keep a backup of the SSD each night.

    If you are looking for multiple TB of data though, SSDs become cost prohibitive very quickly and the only time an SSD is going to be faster than a spinning disk is situations where the spinning disk has seeking problems accessing data in multiple locations over a drive for multiple users. These situations is where a RAID and proper controller comes in handy.

    There are other really unique solutions too, like the . . . it's a RAID controller but has 200GB of flash to be used as a cache which is great if you find you work on sections of data at a time and not always the whole amount of data you have stored.

    You can mimic that solution very cheaply by building a machine based around a machine on an Intel chipset that supports SRT (like the Z87/Z77). A 60GB SSD and a couple of spinning disks can make for a pretty good amount of quick accessed storage and backup depending on your usage.

    There are so many ways to approach data storage and most of them really depend on how and when you need access and how much data you are storing.
  5. From your example and the fact you said you deal in artwork(I imagine multi MB high quality images) It is not worth it.

    Hard disks are fast when dealing with big files, they do sequential reads at 100 MB/s, which is your case since you are dealing(according to your example) with 100 MB+ files. There would be speed improvements but not that much, had you been dealing with thousands of 4 KB files, the improvements would have been 40 folds, in your case, it would be at best twice as fast. Also, your network is a bottleneck, making any improvement from the ssd side curbed.

    On the other hand, you'd be spending 8 times more money on the ssd, since you are not tripling performance at the very least... I'd say it is a bad investment.
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