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Get the most out of solid-state storage

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Data compression with SSD

Compression is another topic gaining a fresh look because of solid-state storage technology. Because SSD technology

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is generally more expensive than hard drive technology, when looking only at price per gigabyte, one way to increase the benefit of SSD technology is to compress the data before placing it on the SSDs, thereby consuming smaller amounts of a more precious resource. These days, with processors gaining in performance, it may make more sense to spend some extra CPU cycles compressing data to place it on significantly faster storage devices, therefore increasing overall performance. This can make sense whether the compression occurs in the host or in the storage system. When compression is enabled on some storage systems, the data is compressed immediately upon entering the storage system, so that any cache, SSD or disk device only sees the compressed data, so less capacity is consumed at every stage.

Another solution, mentioned above, is to have all-flash storage arrays. This will become more common as the big storage vendors take up the trend begun by some startup companies last year. We can fully expect to see flash arrays from the big storage vendors announced this year. It’s also very likely that in the near future, all-flash arrays will have the same advanced features that current hard drive-only systems have today, including things like thin provisioning, data deduplication and more.

BIO: Dennis Martin has been working in the IT industry since 1980, and is the founder and president of Demartek, a computer industry analyst organization and testing lab.

This was first published in March 2012

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