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What is a solid state drive for?
SSD offer faster storage and other performance advantages over fixed disks. Enterprises
that are experiencing rapid growth in demand for higher input/output (I/O) are driving the
development and adoption of SSDs. Because these drives provide lower latency than HDDs,
they can efficiently handle heavy reads and random workloads. The lower latency stems
from the ability of the flash SSD to read data directly from a particular flash SSD cell
All-flash arrays only use SSDs as storage. Hybrid flash arrays combine disk storage and drives
with flash memory for caching hot data that is later written to disk or tape. In a server-side
flash configuration, solid state drives are installed on x86 computers to support target
workloads, sometimes in conjunction with networked storage.
High-performance servers, laptops, desktops, or any application that requires real-time or
near real-time information can benefit from solid-state drive technology.
These features make enterprise-class SSDs suitable for offloading reads from heavily
transactional databases, mitigating boot storms using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), or
inside storage arrays to store hot data locally in a hybrid cloud solution for offsite storage.
Solid state drives are used in a variety of consumer devices, including computer games,
digital cameras, digital music players, laptops, personal computers, smart phones, tablets
and thumb drives. These devices are not designed to provide the same performance or
durability as enterprise-class SSDs.
The design of the SSD has several features. Since it does not use moving parts, SSDs are not
affected by mechanical failures that occur with HDDs. It is also quieter and consumes less
power than its disks. And because SSDs weigh less than hard drives, they are ideal for
laptops and mobile computing devices.
In addition, the SSD controller software includes predictive analytics that alert users before
a potential drive failure. Because flash memory is malleable, all-flash array vendors can
manipulate available storage capacity through data reduction techniques.
SSDs are typically built using single-level cells (SLC) or MLC flash. The SLC driver stores 1 bit
of data per flash media unit. MLC-based SSDs double drive capacity by splitting the data into
two parts. Newer SSDs (called TLCs) are on the market, with each flash cell storing 3 bits of
data. TLC is cheaper than SLC or MLC, making it an attractive choice for consumer-based
flash device manufacturers. TLC-based SSDs provide more flash capacity and are less
expensive than MLC or SLC, although the likelihood of bit corruption is higher due to having
eight states within the cell.
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Solid State Drives do not have physical limitations of Hard Disk Drive. This enables drive
manufacturers to offer SSDs in a variety of shapes. The most common form factor is the 2.5inch SSD, available in a variety of heights, including Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), Serial
Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe)
The Solid State Storage Program (SSSI) is a project of the Storage Networking Industry
Association (SNIA) that has identified three major SSD shapes for the enterprise.
The SSD factor in traditional hard drives is for the same SAS and SATA slots in the server.
Solid state cards that use standard add-on card form factors, such as those that
interconnect fast (PCIe) serial cards using peripheral components residing on a printed
circuit board. PCIe-connected SSDs do not require a network host bus adapter (HBA) to relay
commands, which speeds up storage performance. These devices, including U.2 SSDs, are
often considered the ultimate replacement for miniSATA drives currently used in thin
Solid-state modules, located in dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) or small dual in-line
memory modules (SO-DIMMs), can use standard HDD interfaces such as SATA. These
devices are called non-volatile DIMM (NVDIMM) cards.
Two types of random access memory (RAM) are used in computer systems: dynamic
random access memory (DRAM), which loses data when power is lost, and static random
access memory (SRAM). NVDIMMs provide the persistent storage required for computers to
recover data. The NVDIMM places the flash memory close to the motherboard, but the
operation is done in DRAM. The flash component is inserted into the memory bus for
backup on high performance storage.
Both SSD and RAM contain solid-state chips, but the two memory types have different
functions in computer systems. As described above, a flash memory is a storage medium,
and RAM is an active memory for performing calculation of data retrieved from storage.