Solid state drives (SSDs) have many advantages over hard disk drives (HDDs), but they are not expected to replace HDDs in the near future.
Hard disk drives store data by writing bits magnetically to spinning platters, and can store large amounts of data cheaply.
SSDs use flash memory to store data, offering increased speeds and a reduction in moving parts – which increases shock absorption and decreases the footprint of the drive.
In a comparison between an HDD and SSD with equivalent capacities, the SSD will always offer superior speeds and protection from physical damage.
Many of the world’s biggest storage customers will not replace their HDDs with SSDs any time soon, however.
This is according to Backblaze, which outlined its perspective on the adoption of SSDs.
Price per GB
The biggest obstacle to the adoption of SSDs is the price of the newer drives compared to hard drives.
“Today’s typical online price for a 2.5-inch 512GB SSD is $140 to $170,” said Backblaze.
“The typical online price for a 3.5-inch 512GB HDD is $44 to $65.”
This is critical for data centres, where the cost-per-GB is a fundamental factor in their profitability.
“The primary concerns for data centre storage are reliability, storage density, and cost,” said Backblaze.
“While SSDs are strong in the first two areas, it’s the third where they are not yet competitive.”
High-capacity SSDs are prohibitively expensive, making HDDs the preferred option for storage density – occupying less shelf space at a lower price.
While HDDs will still be around for a while across businesses with high-capacity storage needs, like data centres, cloud storage providers, and backup services, SSDs are becoming an increasingly-attractive option for everyday PC users.
Enterprise vs Consumer
Another important factor is speed.
The read and write speeds of a hard disk drive are limited by its platter’s rotation speeds, while SSD speeds are not limited by this factor.
SDDs also offer reduced latency and better reliability.
This is why, despite their high prices, SSDs still have important uses in data centres and storage facilities.
While they are too expensive to use as primary storage drives, they can be used as cache storage to improve the performance of commonly-accessed files and applications.
The real beneficiaries of SSDs are consumers, however, as they can drastically improve the performance of personal computers.
Backblaze said the best uses for SSDs are in laptops, as the drives are far more resistant to shock and movement, and offer increased performance in a lighter and smaller package.
This is especially true for high-end SSDs, which can be the size of a desktop RAM module.
Using an SSD as a boot drive improves a system’s overall responsiveness, and the drive can be a great asset for consumers with high-speed data access needs – such as video editors or gamers.
“Simply put, SSDs are not yet in the price range to make their use economical for the benefits they provide, which is the reason why we expect to be using HDDs as our primary storage media for the foreseeable future,” said Backblaze.