South African data centres are moving to SSDs

Solid-state drives have become increasingly prevalent due to their reduced form factor, increased speeds, and improved reliability.

Ghassan Azzi, Sales Director of Western Digital, told MyBroadband that solid-state drives (SSDs) could start dominating the global storage industry in the coming years.

Western Digital has noted a significant increase in the sale of portable SSDs, particularly in Europe, where quarter-on-quarter sales doubled in Q4 of 2019.

Azzi believes that SSDs will chip away at mechanical drive market share in the coming years, but that this will be a gradual process.

In 2019, the total SSD market value was just under $35 billion, said Azzi, with this number expected to increase to over $80 billion by 2025.

SSDs in data centres

One area where SSDs offer great value is within data centres.

Many data centres are in the process of transitioning to this technology, as it offers significant performance improvements over legacy HDD technology.

However, given the requirement of transferring data onto the new SSDs, as well as the additional cost and work required in doing so, the process of transitioning a data centre onto SSDs cannot take place overnight.

MyBroadband asked local data centres whether they are currently using SSDs, and what their plans are regarding the technology.


Xneelo

Xneelo told MyBroadband that its data centres do use SSDs, but said this varies according to server use cases and customer requirements.

“We have made significant progress in transitioning to SSDs. All-new Web Hosting packages, Managed or Self Managed servers are provisioned with SSDs by default, at no additional cost,” said Xneelo.

“Should an existing customer with an older server wish to upgrade their server specs to accommodate SSDs, we do so on request and charge a once-off setup fee.”

Xneelo said that the upgrade process to SSDs for older servers is part of its routine maintenance.

“Systems which will benefit from the transition to SSDs, due to increased workload for example, are upgraded without delay.”

“That said, from time to time, SSD global supply backlogs have forced us to extend our timelines.”


Africa Data Centres

Angus Hay, general manager for Africa Data Centres in South Africa, said that while Africa Data Centres provides the data centre environment, customers run their own equipment within it.

“Africa Data Centres is a colocation provider, offering controlled high availability environments for cloud, computing and networking equipment. The equipment within these environments is owned and operated by Africa Data Centres’ customers,” said Hay.

“These customers certainly use SSDs increasingly to improve speed and reliability, and to reduce power consumption in their storage systems,” said Hay.

He highlighted that the power consumption element is not a particular concern for its customers, however – despite concerns many have over load-shedding.

“In Africa Data Centres environments, [customers] can always be certain of power availability,” said Hay.

“Africa Data Centres standard operations include the ability to run for extended periods on generators, and to maintain these systems concurrently and continually at full availability in this configuration. ”

Africa Data Centres logo overlaid on server racks

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South African data centres are moving to SSDs