Solid-state storage is fast, cool and consumes little power—but it’s still pricey, so determining the best place to deploy the technology in your environment is critical.
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Solid-state storage in storage arrays has evolved from a rare high-end feature to a performance-boosting option in a large number of midrange and high-end storage systems. Most storage array vendors now offer solid-state options and there’s a growing list of commercially available, purpose-built, solid-state storage arrays.
Excluding capacity and price, a solid-state drive (SSD) outperforms a mechanical disk drive in most areas:
• It’s an order of magnitude faster than disk drives.
• It’s 100% integrated circuitry, so it’s more robust and durable than disk drives that depend on vulnerable mechanical parts.
• It generates less heat, consumes less power and requires less space than disk spindles.
Challenges related to NAND flash—the underlying semiconductor technology used in SSDs—such as the wear-out of NAND cells, have largely been overcome through a variety of techniques, from overprovisioning of NAND cells to sophisticated wear-level algorithms that reduce the number of writes and distribute writes evenly among flash cells. As a result, contemporary SSDs match and, in some cases, exceed the warranty periods and mean time between failures (MTBF) of high-end disk drives. Were it not for its high per-gigabyte cost, solid-state storage would all but replace mechanical disk drives. At an order of magnitude higher per-gigabyte cost, however, the purchase decision and implementation approach of solid-state storage boils down to a diligent cost-benefit analysis that balances requirements and cost.
This "Buyer's checklist on solid-state storage arrays" discusses the topics above in detail and offers the information you need to evaluate a solid-state storage array, such as:
Key purchasing considerations
Determining the reason for deploying solid-state storage should top any solid-state storage evaluation checklist. This section outlines everything you need to know before deploying SSDs.
Special factors to consider
Because solid-state storage is still somewhat cutting edge, a lot of SSD products are from relatively new vendors. This section discusses what you need to consider when buying from a new technology provider.
Buyer's feature checklist
This table will help you make your final decision with key features, why they are important, and the options available today.