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Server HDD vs SSD: Which One Is Better?

Updated on Jun 14, 2022
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FS Rack Servers

Generally speaking, there are two main storage devices for hosting companies to store data: hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). In recent years, there has also been a transition from HDDs to SSDs. And servers are no exception. Typically, the performance of servers depends heavily on the hard drive. So, what are server HDDs and SSDs? Do server SSDs really perform better than server HDDs? This article will show the difference between server HDDs and server SSDs in detail.

 

What Is Server HDD?

Server HDD refers to the hard disks used on the server, including all data and applications. As a non-volatile data storage device, server HDD is not susceptible to device shutdowns and can still store data when turned off.

Besides, server HDD is also a mechanical hard disk, which consists of the spindle, disk platter, actuator, actuator arm and read/write head. Normally, server HDDs achieve data transmission through spinning disks, where the head can read and write data and send it to the server.

However, one thing that requires more attention with server HDDs is that they are very complex and prone to damage. If HDD is bumped or dropped, the arm won't work effectively.

server HDD

 

What Is Server SSD?

Unlike server HDD, server SSD stores data in flash memory rather than a magnetic-based system. It is mainly composed of multiple flash memory particles and main control chips. Therefore, there are no mechanical parts inside the server SSD, which makes it less susceptible to high-speed movement and can also minimize data loss in the event of shock, vibration or drops.

In addition, server SSDs don't use moving parts or spinning disks to transfer data, but rely on integrated circuits (ICs). That enables server SSDs to deliver higher read and write performance.

Generally, the main server SSD interfaces include Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA), Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe). You can read the article Different Types of Server SSD Interface for more information on server SSD interface.

server SSD

 

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

From the above introduction, it's not difficult to find the differences between these two storage devices. For example, a server SSD can deliver faster read and write speed than server HDD, etc. Other differences will be explained in detail below.

  Server HDD Server SSD
Performance Better Worse
Storage capacity Larger Smaller
Power consumption Less More
Durability Longer Shorter
Price Higher Lower
  • Performance: One of the most distinctive differences between server HDD and SSD is that server SSD has a faster read/write speed and lower latency. Since server HDD is composed of mechanical parts and the data is fragmented in it, server HDD will have a slower boost time compared to server SSD.

  • Storage capacity: For hosting companies, especially growing companies, capacity is an important factor to consider. In addition to better performance, server SSD also features a larger storage capacity. Typically, the server HDDs on the market have an average capacity of 1-8TB, with a maximum of 20TB or more. By contrast, server SSD can reach the capacity of 50-100TB.

  • Power consumption: Compared to server HDD, server SSD needs less power because they don't need to depend on moving parts. Generally, a server HDD uses up to 10W of power, while a server SSD will only use about 5W. Being less power consumption, server SSD also reduces its requirement for cooling system, making it more energy-efficient.

  • Durability: Server SSD usually has a longer lifespan than server HDD. Generally, the former has a lifespan of about 10 years, while the latter has a lifespan of about 3 to 5 years. For one thing, without moving parts in SSD, it is less susceptible to external damage like shock and falls. For another, relying on integrated circuits, server SSD can enhance data integrity.

  • Price: The main shortcoming of server SSD is its higher price than server HDD. As a new storage technology, server SDD is more expensive on the market. Typically, SSD costs about $0.07 per GB, while HDDs cost about 0.03/GB. Although the price gap between server SSD and server HDD is closing now. But server SSD is still less cost-saving than server HDD.

 

Conclusion

To sum up, in terms of price, server SSD is not as cost-effective as server HDD. However, it outperforms server HDD in several respects, including better performance, larger storage capacity, less power consumption, and longer lifespan. Hosting companies can make a suitable choice based on their unique requirements. But in the long run, SSDs can bring greater economic benefits.

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