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Get the most out of solid-state storage

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Best fit for SSD

Solid-state drives (SSDs) provide a viable, faster alternative to hard disk drives (HDDs). But the first step in determining

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the correct storage for a job is defining the application’s specific storage performance requirements. Those requirements should determine whether solid-state storage or traditional hard disk storage is the most appropriate and most cost-effective solution.

Key SSD management terms

  • Automated tiering software moves hot data to the solid-state drive (SSD) tier using policy set by the administrator to improve performance.
  • Caching copies hot data to the SSD to improve performance.
  • Compression shrinks data so that it consumes less storage capacity than in its “native” state.
  • Latency is the time it takes for a storage device to respond to a request. Lower latency is better.

We’ll start with a relatively simple example and then move up to more complex circumstances. One area where SSDs are already creeping into the data center environment is in laptop computers. An SSD in a laptop PC provides very fast boot-ups and overall performance, and will also extend battery life significantly as the internal SSD uses very little electric power. Applications such as word processing, large documents with graphics, spreadsheet macros, database and video will all respond very quickly. Copying files to or from the laptop is also very fast. So the effects of using solid-state storage go beyond just application performance.

The same benefits can also be realized with desktop PCs. Using solid-state storage to boot computers, for example, is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to improve performance. Installing an SSD as the boot drive in a desktop computer can extend the life of an older machine simply because much of the I/O is accelerated. This can also work for older laptop computers, if you get an SSD with the correct interface.

This was first published in March 2012

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