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Commentary

SSD Is Not Disruptive

One of the concerns about adopting Solid State Disk (SSD) is that it can be disruptive to the overall data management process that you may have in your data center. SSD is obviously a new and fast but somewhat more expensive alternative to your good old mechanical drives. However, when implemented correctly the addition of SSD can be relatively non-disruptive.
One of the concerns about adopting Solid State Disk (SSD) is that it can be disruptive to the overall data management process that you may have in your data center. SSD is obviously a new and fast but somewhat more expensive alternative to your good old mechanical drives. However, when implemented correctly the addition of SSD can be relatively non-disruptive.The first factor in how disruptive your SSD purchase will be is the type of SSD you choose to use. As we discuss in a recent article "Selecting Which SSD to Use" there are several SSD platforms for users to consider. In addition there are also several ways to implement them. A common misconception is that the SSD must be integrated with your current storage platform to truly be easy to manage and to be non-disruptive. While a shelf of SSD drives within a larger storage platform is integrated, there are overhead issues associated with the software load that these systems typically have. As well as there are potential bandwidth issues on the shelf itself.

SSDs disruption to storage management practices can be avoided by other means too. For example the caching type of appliances that are now becoming available, once implemented, are very non-disruptive as are the automated tiering solutions that we have discussed in prior entries. Both of these methods of implementing SSD can take the decision off your plate. It does not even require a special appliance to pull this off. Some of the storage virtualization software solutions on the market today will allow you to identify an SSD drive as a read-only or read-write cache area as well. We have seen in our testing a significant performance improvement from adding a small amount of SSD to one of these environments. Even the operating systems themselves are getting into the act. For example some OSs will allow you to mirror data to a SSD drive but then designate the SSD as the preferred source for reads. This allows you to continue to use your current backup strategy and still get the performance improvement that SSD promises.

For SSD to be non-disruptive it does not need to be integrated with your current storage system, there are plenty of ways to obtain the performance benefit of SSD without waiting for your current mechanical storage vendor to figure it all out.

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George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.

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