Which is More Reliable in Data Centers: SSDs VS HDDs?

Data Centers mainly rely on storing or accessing multimedia contents. Data centers mostly struggle with the problem of how to store information; companies can opt for any of the technologies like Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) or Solid State Drives (SSDs). But which technology is the best, HDDs or SSDs?  In current market situations, solid state drives are more reliable than hard drives, but this isn’t always true in all conditions. Before getting into any conclusion, let us know what are SSDs and HDDs.

SSDs and HDDs are storage devices, but have different storage methods. HDDs store data magnetically on spinning platters and use a mechanical read or write methods.  On the other hand SSDs store data electronically in semiconductor circuits in binary (1s & 0s) format. SSDs are employing nonvolatile flash memory as their main storage medium, nonvolatile medium stores data even when the power is down.  Differences in their storing technologies lead to number of advantages and disadvantages. So before replacing all HDDs to SSDs have considerable idea about both the technologies.

Google has made a detailed study on why HDDs fail. Following are some of the conclusions drawn from the study, 36% of failed hard drives did not exhibit any SMART (Self Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) monitored failure, because failure of HDDs might have been caused because of mechanical or electrical failures. HDDs are mechanical devices whose components would wear out due to lose precision or dry lubricants, as a result they draw greater amount of power and emit greater amount of heat. SMART system is almost useless because I cannot detect mechanical failures modes which include capacitors, power regulators, connectors and firmware.

SSDs replace mechanical components of HDDS like heads, motors, platters and bearings with flash, but SSDs don’t replace any electrical components that cause many failures. SSD chips are manufactured in different grades, manufactures like Intel Samsung and Toshiba manufacture highest graded chips for their own SSDs and lesser quality chips are sold to market and most of such lesser quality chips go into SD cards and USB drives. Lower quality chips have more number of failures compared to higher quality chips. One more advantage of SSDs are its writing and reading speeds, SSDs can read or write data at a rate of 200-500MB/s, whereas HDDs reading and writing speed is within 50-120 MB/s. In high performance environment where fast booting is needed, this high speed read and write capability is more advantageous. Another advantage of SSDs when compared to HDDs are its power consumption, SSDs consume almost 50% less power than HDDs. In addition to all these disadvantages HDD produces more vibrations and noise, and SSD can withstand more physical damage than HDDs.

Pricing of SSDs are more when compared to HDDs, storage capacity of HDDs are more when compared to SSDs. SSDs offer numerous advantages over HDDs, but it cannot compete in terms of mass storage capacity and cost.

Hybrid storage systems can be implemented to overcome the disadvantages of each

technology. Data centers can include expensive SSDs where faster read and write or booting is required and it can include inexpensive HDDs where large storage is needed.

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