Solid State Storage vs. Magnetic Storage

Solid state storage eliminates the efficiency problems associated with traditional multi-unit magnetic file management systems. Adding more hard drives to a growing business environment or hosting service has never been an adequate solution for data storage needs.

The traditional disk is out of date and soon to become a new reference point in discussions concerning ancient computer history.

Managing storage via a hybrid storage system

According to a white paper from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, the distinction in performance characteristics between flash drives and disk drives provides a wonderful opportunity for balancing workloads across a hybrid storage system.

In hybrid data storage, data blocks are automatically migrated to and fro between flash drives and disk drives. The process is self-adjusting according to the specific needs as matched to the technological access patterns of a given storage device.

The process assumes that disk drives are quicker at writing and flash drives are quicker at reading. However, the read rates of magnetic disk drives tend to deteriorate when dealing with small files. For any hybrid storage system to succeed, the system designers must treat disk drives and flash devices as peers rather than as two discrete storage mechanisms.

It’s not an accurate assumption.

The limitations of superparamagentic storage technology

Traditional file management systems incorporate mechanized magnetic storage devices. However, the basic characteristics of such magnetic equipment includes seek and rotational delays that hinder and constrain the input/output speed of each hard drive. The situation creates a unique combination of complications:

—      Drive speeds regulate unit reliability and performance

—      Modern businesses demand more storage space

—      Increasing the base storage space decreases the seek performance of the unit

—      Efforts to overcome the inefficiency of hard disk technology are self-defeating

In May of 2012, authors at Carnegie Mellon University released a white paper that addressed the complications associated with modern hard disk drive technology. According to the paper, modern HDDs are on the verge of clashing into the forced limitations of superparamagentic storage technology. One suggested solution to the issue is Shingled Magnetic Recording. However, this heat-assisted bit-patterned magnetic recording technique sacrifices the capacity to function as a random-write device.

Strangely enough, the SMR concept pulls upon various techniques found in solid state drives. Perhaps clinging to HDD technology is not the answer to modern business data storage and data management demands.

The solution

Flash memory is quickly becoming the business data management device of the future. Spinning hard drives have bumped the edges of their capacity. Adding new HDDs merely increases equipment expenses, decreases equipment performance and hinders overall business functions. There are now companies offering low latency flash storage arrays.

Why invest in a fruitless effort to make old HDD technology meet modern business storage management needs? Solid state storage delivers hundreds of terabytes of ready-to-use, high-performance flash storage in a compatible form factor that you can put to work right now.

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