For the past two decades, hard disk drives (HDD) have ruled the storage landscape. Servers in particular have relied on high-performance HDDs to store data for short-term use. For long-term storage, many organizations may have used tape backup, although even those have gradually been replaced with hard drives. Now, solid state drives (SDD), which use flash storage technology, are gaining momentum.
The benefits of using solid state drives in servers include: faster access times, lower latency, less physical space required, no moving parts, and lower power requirements. The current major disadvantage is that SSDs currently still cost more per GB than HDDs, but the cost is dropping quickly.
Because SSDs generally still cost more, you may only elect to have SSDs running your operating system and applications while you still use a larger HDD to hold your data. That way, you get the benefit of faster boot times and faster-running applications on your server, while still getting the cost benefits of large hard disk data storage.
Solid state drives are also gaining moment outside of persistent storage in the form of “Flash on Server” (FOS) technology. One in particular involves installing a flash storage device on a PCIe card. These solid state drives, called PCIe IO accelerators are designed to increase I/O performance on a server.
SSDs still have a long way to go before they completely overtake HDDs on servers, but you may benefit from using them in certain situations now. In some cases, they are well worth the investment.