The SSD/HDD Balancing Act in the Enterprise

Achieving the Right Mix of Performance, Capacity and Cost-Efficiency

Scott Harlin

Published May 2013

Introduction

For as long as most of us have been using computers, either on a personal level or via a business networked environment, we are familiar with storing information on traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). Yes, those antiquated storage devices with the spinning disks introduced in the mid 1950s are still dominant for secondary storage used in data center environments. Challenging this prominence, advances in flash-based NAND memory over the last few years has enabled significantly faster data I/O access and accelerated server application performance through solid-state drive (SSD) technology that has reduced CAPEX, OPEX and total cost of ownership (TCO) in the enterprise.

Utilizing HDDs and SSDs in the data center does not always have to be an ‘either/or’ situation, but in fact a co-existence can provide an optimal balance of performance, capacity and cost-effectiveness especially for such widely used enterprise applications as tiered storage and virtualization. The purpose of this white paper is to outline the benefits of this hybrid approach that merges the performance advantages of SSDs with the cost-efficient capacity advantages of HDDs.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. HDD Enterprise Limitations
  3. Beyond the Spin
  4. Hybrid Tiered Storage
  5. Hybrid Virtualization
  6. Conclusion