Solid State Drives are now very popular and many hosting providers need to deal with managing SSD’s with existing storage in servers. This means incorporating SSD technology with older spinning hard drives. Managing them both effectively and efficiently, cost wise and energy wise as well. A strategy will become important to properly manage the two different storage solutions. They can complement each other in a positive way if used correctly in the right scenario.
Seagate, for example, has developed hard drives that incorporate SSD technology within the hard drive enclosure to take advantage of both formats; the main spinning hard drives for large data storage and the SSD technology for automatic faster access to the most used data. This significantly speeds up server performance with data-intensive applications and software.
Virtualization can especially take advantage of SSD technology as many VPS (Virtual Private Servers) may need access to data at the same time. This is where SSD technology can really shine in the performance department compared to older 7,200+ rpm rotating drives. The main goal here in this situation is performance and less power saving.
SSD drives will help achieve power saving goals. The amount of storage space may not be as important as the power consumption. Lowering upfront costs may be an option by acquiring SSD’s with less capacity.
Best of Both
Some hosting providers will install certain applications or software on an SSD drive such as databases. At the same time, SATA drives store the rest of the website data. However, this does involve more management complexity and making sure the data is stored properly. Each device is vital to get the most out of a mixed media environment. Dedicated server providers need to make certain that all of the elements in a storage system as a whole is set up to deal with the capabilities and limits of each type of server setup or configuration. An incorrect setup can result in added expenses with minimal gains in performance and energy usage. Each different storage device indeed has different characteristics fro each other.
If Your Budget Permits
If the budget permits, then the easiest solution to managing SSD’s with existing storage in servers may be to simply incorporate only SSD’s and simply manage more physically separate SSD’s in a server at one time. (It is argued, however, that premature wearing is caused by excessive writing.) As long as the Operating System and installed software (such as web-based control panels) are able to utilize these drives it may be the best solution for that provider. This may also be an option to speed up older dedicated servers. Some older dedicated servers may not be compatible with new SSD technology. This is where a testing environment is important before planning on a major hardware change within servers.
Another factor to consider is if replacing all current spinning drives with SSD’s, will there be a noticeable increase in speed and is it necessary? Does it make economic sense? Or is it simply more of an attractive marketing move to bump up appearances? Will that convert to more sales?
Examine current data storage needs. It is not possible to determine the most suitable strategy for implementing SSD’s without truly understanding existing storage requirements. Purchasing enough storage for current needs may not be enough in the near future since often is the case that data grows in size continuously and rapidly.