How Do Solid State Drives Work?

A Little Background…



All computers need a method to store, retrieve, and share digital information. This is usually accomplished via a hard drive. Hard drives store your data magnetically using one or more rapidly rotating disks or platters coated with magnetic material. The earliest hard drives were extremely large and very expensive.


The First Hard Drive



Currently, there are two main types of drives that are used to store data; Hard disk drives and SSD’s. We are going to be focusing primarily on SSD’s.


What Is An SSD?


An SSD or Solid-State Drive is a storage device which retains data in flash memory as opposed to a magnetic based system like a hard disk drive. Solid-state drives are so named because they do not rely on moving parts or spinning disks. Instead, data is saved to a cluster of memory banks like the flash drive you may carry in your pocket. Basically, an SSD is simply a larger version of a flash drive that mounts inside of the computer/server.

SSD Capacity


Liquid Web currently offers multiple SSD options to choose from:

  • 2 250Gb SSD’s in a RAID1 configuration, increasing in size up to 2 2Tb SSD’s in a RAID1 configuration
  • 4 250Gb SSD’s in a RAID10 configuration, increasing in size up to 4 2Tb SSD’s in a RAID10 configuration

Now that you have seen a few types of SSD configurations we offer or if you would like to review the full options we have available, take a look at the following pages:

SSD Reliability


SSD drives have no moving parts to wear down or break which provides better performance and improved reliability over regular hard drives. Additionally, SSD’s provide enhanced data integrity and endurance since they retain data even when not powered up.

SSD Performance


Using SSD’s, your data moves at a quicker rate which will increase your servers overall speed and responsiveness which provides for a more predictable lifespan. A typical SSD has access speeds of 40 to 100 microseconds which can be nearly 100 times faster than a normal hard disk drive. Faster access speed means programs can run faster and work gets done with less stress on the server.


SSD Power Requirements


SSD’s require less power and cooling than other types of storage media because they produce far less heat than a regular hard disk drive which generates heat by the spinning of the disk. Under load, SSDs use anywhere from 2.5 – 3.5W of power. Because SSD drives perform better, they spend more time in an idle state compared to a traditional hard disk drive. This simply means that an SSD delivers an order of magnitude of increased efficiency per watt than a normal hard disk drive.

Why An SSD Drive Is Important to You


The benefits of using an SSD drive in your current server setup will be shown in an overall increase in capacity, performance and reliability. This means that with the addition of this type of drive, the amount of data you will be able to store will increase, with an overall lower total cost per Gigabyte.


If you are rendering graphics or processing video, SSD drives provide a critical time-saving in overall delivery of that data. If analyzing significant amounts of info, SSD’s provide a drastic reduction in processing time and in server load. Additionally, the ability to stream those videos in real time will dramatically increase which will allow for no-lag video streaming. In the long run, an SSD will provide the speed, endurance, and stability you need to ensure your information is shared with certainty.


Want to learn more? Read some tips on “How to Get the Best Performance out of Your Servers”.
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