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Hard disk vs. flash storage: The fight of the century?

In the hard disk vs. flash storage fight, flash definitely looks like the frontrunner. But don't count hard disk storage out just yet. With backup, cloud and disaster recovery uses, disk still may have a place in the data center.

Introduction

In the hard disk vs. flash storage brawl, it may seem obvious which technology is the best choice. Flash arrays are thriving in the data storage market, and show no signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, hard disk drives (HDDs) -- with years of use in the data center under their belt -- are seeing a bit of a slump in the current landscape. But could a supporting role in backup and disaster recovery extend their usefulness?

Solid-state drives (SSDs) have seen a consistent rise in popularity due to their performance and reliability. A lack of moving parts makes them less likely to wear out over an extended period of time or fail due to overheating. While consumers once balked at the price tag on flash storage, developments in the technology have reduced costs and made SSDs a more attainable option.

The major benefit hard disk storage had over flash storage was always price and the amount of storage an organization could afford. For higher capacity, HDDs were the much more budget-friendly option. But as flash technology has matured, prices have gone down and the advantage of HDDs has been almost erased. SSDs also tend to use less power than HDDs, which can mean a lower electric bill as well. Is there a compromise to be found in the hard disk vs. flash storage battle?

Disk and flash can work in harmony in a hybrid array, but they are also losing popularity with the rise of all-flash. With the cost of flash looking to consistently drop as time goes on, the decision to supplement all-flash array with HDDs may become less appealing. Hybrid arrays, it seems, are destined to disappear into the sunset. Does hard disk face the same fate?

In this guide, we will weigh the pros and cons of hard disk vs. flash storage, see where each approach fits best and allow you to decide, once and for all, if HDDs are down for the count.

1Flash pros and cons-

The undisputed champion?

The role of SSDs in the data center continues to grow. While there are some concerns regarding lifespan and data backup capabilities, solid-state technology seems to be pulling ahead in the hard disk vs. flash storage throwdown.

Feature

The benefits of flash storage in the enterprise

With the help of protocols such as NVM Express, flash storage can meet the high demands of a data center. See how flash is breaking new thresholds in storage pricing and performance. Continue Reading

Answer

How long do SSDs last?

Should you be concerned about the lifespan of an SSD? While competing HDD vendors might have you worried, don't throw your flash storage a funeral just yet. Continue Reading

Feature

The state of solid-state storage

Vendors remain focused on improving flash storage systems, but the next step will be harder than just adding flash to existing system configurations. Continue Reading

Opinion

All-flash storage advances beat demand, create chances

Today's crop of massively dense storage systems in the all-flash array market will bring order to the chaos of unstructured data workloads. Continue Reading

Answer

Is flash well-suited for data backups?

While flash is not suitable for general backup quite yet, flash backups can be the right choice in certain cases, such as heavily used databases. Continue Reading

Opinion

Why you should go all-flash

Now that SSD manufacturers have fixed some of the common issues with flash arrays, an all-flash data center might be the right way to go. Continue Reading

2What about hard disk?-

Down but not quite out

Flash storage may be taking the spotlight, but HDDs haven't lost the fight. Along with being a reliable storage option, hard disk is a leading data backup choice and helpful component of cloud-based disaster recovery.

Answer

Are hard disks more at risk for failure?

While growth in the HDD field has increased the technology's density, does this put the data housed on it more at risk? Fixes like erasure coding and multicopy mirroring can help keep your HDD data safe. Continue Reading

Feature

Disk maintains lead among data backup storage devices

While flash storage may be thriving overall, hard disk storage has found its place in data backup. More companies have disk-based products deployed and in their purchase queues than any other type of enterprise backup hardware for data volume needs. Continue Reading

Feature

Demand rises for disk, cloud data storage backup targets

The data backup market for disk- and cloud-based targets is growing thanks to capacity concerns, ease of use, compliance and cloud disaster recovery. Continue Reading

Feature

Keep backup on target with disk

Whether you deploy a backup appliance or stick with your disk backup system, you've likely seen how data protection has morphed into a driver of business efficiency. However, with disk-based backups, you should keep an eye on growing complexity. Continue Reading

Feature

Stick with disk-based DRaaS

The DR-as-a-service market is so competitive, and the available options so varied, that it can be tough for IT decision-makers to make a selection. Don't forget to factor in the benefits of disk-based storage for DRaaS. Continue Reading

Feature

HDD speed factors into the future of hard disks

The hard disk vs. flash storage battle is real, but don't expect mechanical hard disks to disappear any time soon. For the foreseeable future, HDDs will have a home in many data centers. Continue Reading

3Head to head-

HDD vs. flash

When it comes down to it, pound for pound, which data storage option is superior? With all of the alternatives available on the market and recent evolutions in the technology, flash storage seems to come out on top. In this section, we pit the two competitors against each other to decide once and for all.

Video

Expert conversation on disk vs. flash storage

Expert Dennis Martin breaks down the hard disk vs. flash storage matchup, and gives his opinions on the different ways of implementing flash storage. Continue Reading

Feature

Where flash has hard disk beat

This head-to-head comparison between flash and hard disk may make you second-guess that idea that flash isn't right for your data center. In these seven areas, the technology rules the roost. Continue Reading

News

Hitachi storage strategy focuses on flash

Hitachi CTO Hu Yoshida sees no reason for anyone to buy hard disk drives for performance, but is that too harsh a judgement? See what he has to say about flash price and performance vs. disk. Continue Reading

Tip

The future of flash and disk storage in the data center

Solid-state drives have triggered a revolution in the deployment and usage of data center storage, while the future for hard disk drives is getting bleaker by the day. See why the future of hard disk vs. flash storage competitors may be in jeopardy. Continue Reading

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