SSD Array vs HDD Array

With the emergence of SSD arrays, businesses are starting to question the more traditional HDD arrays that have been standard storage solutions for decades. And with the ever-growing presence of critical data across countless industries, it’s no wonder that the more sluggish spinning drive arrays are being put into question. But is the concern warranted?

Our SSD vs HDD comparison will help lay out the benefits and limitations of each, while helping determine which solution fits specific business needs.

HDD Arrays (Spinning Drives)

Enterprise-level HDD arrays group a series of spinning disk drives to form a much larger logical disk structure. These types of arrays have been industry standard for years, and are relied upon for their ability to store huge quantities of data. Many companies make heavy use of RAID arrangement with these arrays, utilizing full redundancy so systems continue to run properly if one component goes down. Limited downtime, reliability, and the ease of expanding storage for a low cost have kept many businesses happy for a long time.

But when it comes to performance, spinning drives don’t hit the mark for businesses operating in high IO environments. IO read/write requests are directed to physical disk locations, and data is retrieved with the help of a “head” (similar to a needle on a record player). This process results in data taking longer to find due to the physical movement of parts when retrieval is required. The sluggishness of these read/write requests is exacerbated by fragmentation, where files are stored in smaller bits and pieces across an array.

SSD Arrays (All Flash)

SSD Array - StorTrends 3610iSSD arrays, otherwise known as all-flash arrays, utilize the strengths of Solid State Drives and flash memory. Simply put, these arrays put emphasis on performance. Their incredibly fast data transfer speeds result from having no moving parts. With high IOPS and low latency, SSD arrays are perfect for businesses dealing with high-performance computing, financials, and any other applications that place heavy value on speed.

And while SSD arrays are certainly the future of storage, they do have their limitations. Expanding SSD array storage capacity is considerably more difficult when compared to HDD arrays. Furthermore, all flash storage arrays are still at a much higher price point (although that price is declining rapidly). So while SSD performance is league’s beyond their HDD counterparts, businesses operating with vast amounts of expanding data still need spinning drives in their array.

Compromising with Hybrid Arrays

Many businesses want a mix of performance and storage capacity, and hybrid storage arrays provide a nice compromise between the two. Hybrid arrays place SSD storage on the front end acting as a cache for your systems, and HDD storage on the back end for expandable storage capacity and archival usage.

At the end of the day, your storage array decision comes down to your business needs. Please contact us at 1-800-213-2667, Ext. 122 or email and we’ll help you narrow down your options until you find the storage solution that’s best for your business.