Did you know that one of the most likely things slowing your server down could be the hard drive? Every server has a “bottleneck” – some piece of hardware that limits the maximum efficiency of the other parts of the server. In most newer servers, this bottleneck is the hard drive.
For years, people have had to rely on traditional hard drives to serve databases and websites. Traditional hard drives, known as hard disk drives (or HDDs for short), rely on spinning magnetic platters and other moving mechanical parts, and thus are limited in their speed in writing and reading data. This means that no matter how fast your server is, it will always be limited to how fast your hard drive can access its memory.
However, we no longer have to be shackled to the oppressive regime known as HDDs. The future and savior of modern servers has arrived, and it is called the Solid State Drive!
What is an SSD?
Solid state drives (SSDs) are a new form of hard drives that replace the ancient spinning platters with microchips. Rather than having to read data with an arm and spinning disk, like traditional HDDs, SSDs contain no moving parts whatsoever and are therefore not limited in their speed. This means that SSDs can read and write data almost instantaneously, consume less power, make less noise, and produce less heat than their HDD counterparts.
Although SSDs have been around since the 1990s, they have only recently gained the stability, capacity, and cost-efficiency to become a feasible and must-have commercial product for tech-savvy consumers.
How Does It Compare to Traditional Hard Drives?
SSDs have their advantages and disadvantages when compared to their HDD counterparts. In terms of pros, SSDs have read/write speeds upwards of five times faster than HDDs. They also do not need time to spin, meaning that the SSD is ready almost immediately after you turn the server on. As mentioned previously, SSDs also consume half to a third of the power needed to run HDDs, making them run cooler. Again, because of a lack of moving parts, SSDs also run much quieter than HDDs, weigh much less, and have a lifespan that is theoretically superior to HDDs.
Although the pros far outweigh the cons, there are disadvantages that SSDs carry which people have to consider before upgrading: for one, SSDs are still on the higher end of the drive price range. Traditional HDDs cost around $0.05 per GB, SSDs currently cost around $1.00 per GB. Whereas most people can easily find affordable 1-2 TB HDDs, they will only be able to afford similarly priced SSDs ranging in the 32 GB – 100 GB range. This means with SSDs, hard drive space will always be at a premium. To get around the limited space, most people simply buy a cheap HDD to use as data storage while using their SSD to run their operating system, databases, and critical web apps.
Should I Choose an SSD?
If you want to make the single best upgrade to your server, then yes, you should choose an SSD. Although they are more costly, and limited in hard drive space, the amount of time that you save while you’re using your server is absolutely worth it. If speed is important to your database, website or application, then you will see a significant increase with an SSD.
HDDs are slowly becoming a thing of the past – it is obvious that soon SSDs will replace them as the standard. Everyday, SSD technology improves, making them faster, cheaper to produce, and able to hold much more data. Why not enjoy the future now by installing an SSD in your server today?