Will SSDs Take Over The Enterprise?

The Future of High-Performance Enterprise Storage Belongs to Flash

We’ve been talking a lot about solid state drives based on flash memory cells, commonly known as flash SSDs. On the one hand, the recent generation provides excellent throughput and stellar I/O performance due to the low access time of transistors when compared to the slow head movements of mechanical hard drives. The performance benefits of flash SSDs over traditional hard drives remain very much undisputed, and the almost nonexistent access time seems to turn flash SSD into perfect replacements for enterprise class hard drives. On the other hand, [the potential power savings promised by most of the flash SSD vendors are simply not there yet. Fortunately, we’re starting to see more optimized drives that show us the technology is evolving in the right direction.

Flash I/O Performance Beats Any Hard Drive

We decided to get our hands on one of the fastest flash drives we’ve tested, MemoRight’s SSD MR25.-032S. This drive delivers a deadly blow to traditional hard drives, as it offers somewhat better transfer rates at only a fraction of the access time. As a consequence, such high-end flash SSDs can deliver between 3x and 10x the I/O operations per second possible from the fastest hard drives. This performance advantage, combined with power savings, was the reasons Google adopted flash-based storage.

Shootout! 3.5” 15,000 RPM and 2.5” 10,000 RPM Against Flash

The Swiss SSD specialist ssdworld.ch (www.ssdshop.ch) was kind enough to provide us with as many as eight of the high-performance MemoRight drives, this time with a capacity of 64 GB each. We then contacted Seagate to also get some of the latest conventional enterprise class hard drives, obtaining eight 2.5” Savvio 10K.2 SAS drives as well as eight 3.5” Cheetah 15K.5 drives. The Savvio 10K.2 runs at 10,000 RPM while the Cheetah 15K.5 are top-notch 15,000 RPM models.