Businesses weigh benefits of solid state storage

Whether you are using DRAM-based or Flash-based storage, just how much speed you need?

As solid state storage drive technologies mature and claw their way into enterprise IT systems, businesses will face cost-vs.-benefit decisions over whether the time is right to adopt the new technology.

For many companies, the time to adopt solid state drives will be when the extra speed and performance of solid state over traditional hard disk drives have an impact on a company's bottom line by bringing in more revenue.

That was the message Tuesday from George Crump, principal analyst with Storage Switzerland, who spoke at the Tech Target Storage Decisions conference held in New York.

While solid state storage isn't a new idea -- the practice has been around for almost 10 years -- the higher costs of the storage method are dropping and the performance gains are rising, Crump said.

For businesses that require faster data flow speeds, such as financial institutions and stock transfer businesses, the technology is getting more looks, he said.

Even when a company looks at integrating solid state storage, it then has to decide which solid state storage technology to use -- DRAM-based or Flash-based.

"The debate boils down to how much speed you need," Crump said. DRAM storage is faster, but that's at a cost that's much higher than Flash-based storage. For example, 2TB of Flash-based storage costs about US$180,000, compared to about US$1 million for the same amount of DRAM-based storage. "DRAM is faster, but if Flash does it for you, why spend the extra money?" he asked. In that case, it depends on the needs of the business, he said.

While a traditional hard disk drive can read or write data in four to five milliseconds, with a random I/O speed of 150,000 to 300,000 I/O per second, a DRAM drive can read or write data at a speed of .015 milliseconds, with a random I/O speed of 400,000 I/O per second. A Flash-based storage drive can read or write data in 0.2 milliseconds, with a random I/O read speed of 100,000 I/O per second and a random write speed of 25,000 I/O per second.

For write-intensive software applications, Flash-based storage may not give the required performance compared to DRAM-based storage.

"You have to use them in the right applications ... read-heavy applications," Crump said of Flash storage.

For businesses that use high-performance database applications, DRAM-based storage "can make a big difference for your organization and be worthwhile" due to its extra speed.

Solid state storage will be like server virtualization was five years ago, Crump predicted. Today, server virtualization is more popular as a technology to help businesses cut costs, increase performance and reduce power consumption, he said.

"This will be similar to the virtualization rollout. Most here didn't have it five years ago and now many of you have it."

Several users said they see the benefits of solid state storage although their businesses are not yet jumping on the bandwagon.

Michael McCardle, storage technology manager for New York-based financial services company Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., said that while he doesn't know what the future will dictate, solid state storage isn't on the short list of things his company is looking to do anytime soon.

"A lot of bleeding edge technologies are real nice," McCardle said. "But when you boil it all down, how much of it do you really need?"

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags SSDdram

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Todd R. Weiss

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?