Server HDD vs SSD: Which One Is Better?

Updated on Jun 14, 2022 by

FS Rack Servers

In the realm of hosting, two primary storage devices are employed by companies to store data: hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). In recent years, there has been a notable shift from HDDs to SSDs, a trend also observed in servers. The performance of servers is significantly influenced by the choice of hard drive. This article aims to delineate the disparities between server HDDs and server SSDs, delving into whether server SSDs indeed outperform their HDD counterparts.


What Is Server HDD?

Server HDD meaning is a critical component used for data storage and applications on a server. As a non-volatile data storage device, a server HDD retains data even during device shutdowns.

A server HDD is a mechanical hard disk comprising components such as the spindle, disk platter, actuator, actuator arm, and read/write head. Typically, data transmission in server HDDs occurs through spinning disks, where the read/write head accesses data on the disk platter and communicates it to the server.

However, it's important to note that server HDDs are intricate and susceptible to damage. Physical shocks, such as bumps or drops, can impact the effectiveness of the arm, emphasizing the need for careful handling and protection of these components.

server HDD


What Is Server SSD?

Unlike server HDDs, server SSDs (solid-state drives) store data in flash memory rather than using a magnetic-based system. Comprising multiple flash memory particles and main control chips, server SSDs lack mechanical parts, reducing susceptibility to damage during high-speed movements and minimizing data loss in cases of shock, vibration, or drops.

Server SSDs leverage integrated circuits (ICs) for data transfer, eliminating the need for moving parts and spinning disks. This design choice enhances read and write performance, making server SSDs a preferred choice for applications demanding high-speed data access.

Common server SSD interfaces include Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA), Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe). For more details on server SSD interfaces, you can refer to the article "Different Types of Server SSD Interface."

server SSD


Server HDD vs Server SSD: What's the Difference?

The preceding overview highlights noticeable differences between these two storage devices, such as the faster read and write speeds of a server SSD compared to a server HDD. Further distinctions will be explored in detail below.

Features Server HDD Server SSD
Operating Principle Mechanical rotating components and magnetic technology Flash storage technology
Read/Write Speed Relatively slow Faster
Random Access Speed Slower, affected by seek and rotational latency Faster, no seek and rotational latency
Access Time Longer, influenced by mechanical components Shorter
Reliability Mechanical components are susceptible to shocks and vibrations No mechanical components, more durable
Durability Mechanical components are prone to damage Shock and vibration resistant
Power Consumption Higher, mechanical components require more energy Lower, energy-efficient
Heat Generation Higher, mechanical components in operation generate heat Lower, does not generate much heat
Noise Mechanical motion produces noise No noise
Storage Capacity Larger capacity Smaller capacity
Price Generally cheaper Generally more expensive
Applicable Scenarios Large-capacity storage, cost-sensitive projects High-performance, speed, and reliability requirements
Possibility of Long-Term Idleness May cause data loss or degradation Longer data retention time

Data Persistence

(Power Outage Scenario)

Time is needed to write data to the disk, more prone to loss Fast data writing speed, more reliable in case of power outage
Technological Development Trends Gradually being phased out but still used for large-capacity storage Continuously evolving and improving, gradually becoming popular
  • Performance: One of the most notable distinctions between server HDD and SSD lies in the faster read/write speed and lower latency of server SSDs. Why is SSD better than HDD? Due to the mechanical parts and fragmented data in server HDDs, they exhibit a slower boot time compared to server SSDs.

  • Storage capacity: Capacity is a crucial factor for hosting companies, particularly for growing businesses. Server SSDs not only offer superior performance but also boast larger storage capacities. While server HDDs typically range from 1-8TB, with a maximum of 20TB or more, server SSDs can achieve capacities of 50-100TB.

  • Power consumption: Server SSDs require less power compared to server HDDs, thanks to their lack of moving parts. Generally, a server HDD consumes up to 10W, while a server SSD uses approximately 5W. The reduced power consumption of server SSDs also diminishes the need for a robust cooling system, enhancing energy efficiency.

  • Durability: Server SSDs generally have a longer lifespan than server HDDs, with an estimated lifespan of around 10 years compared to 3 to 5 years for HDDs. The absence of moving parts makes SSDs less susceptible to external damage such as shock and falls, contributing to enhanced data integrity.

  • Price: The primary drawback of server SSDs is their higher cost compared to server HDDs. As a relatively new storage technology, server SSDs are comparatively expensive, while the HDD machine price is relatively economical. Typically, SSDs cost around $0.07 per GB, while HDDs are priced at approximately $0.03 per GB. Although the price gap is narrowing, server SSDs remain less cost-effective than server HDDs.

Through the above comparison, you now know the differences between SSD and HDD, and you can choose according to your usage scenario. At the same time, FS servers can customize a variety of SSDs or HDDs for you, for details, please check ——RS3110


In summary, while server SSDs may not be as cost-effective as server HDDs, they outshine HDDs in various aspects, offering superior performance, larger storage capacity, reduced power consumption, and an extended lifespan. Hosting companies can make informed choices based on their specific requirements. However, considering the long-term economic benefits, SSDs are likely to provide greater value.

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