Using Solid State Drives on a Server

One of the methods some system administrators use to speed up their servers is to install solid state drives in place of traditional hard drives. Solid state drives (SSD) are considerably different in hardware architecture from a standard hard disk drive (HDD). These differences give solid state drives a decisive edge in read access times.

The main difference between a hard drive and a solid state drive is that a hard drive operates using a spinning magnetic disk that rotates at a given speed. A faster rotation usually equates to a faster drive. Your laptop may spin at 5,400 rpm, whereas some high-powered dedicated server hard drives may spin at up to 15,000 rpm.

An SSD does not have moving parts like an HDD. Instead it uses memory chips similar to the ones you might find in a USB flash drive. Therefore, accessing information from these drives is usually faster. The downside to an SSD is that writing data to the drive is often slower than an HDD.

In order to get the best of both worlds, some system administrators opt for an SSD for the operating system and key applications, those tools that are usually unchanging. They then use a standard HDD for their data, which often changes on a daily basis. This gives them the increase read speed for applications and the stable write speed for data.