Falling SSD Prices Make the Server More Practical

by | April 25, 2017

Keeping website and application load times to a minimum is essential in providing a positive customer experience. When the market creates an opportunity to replace the slowest part of the system with a faster solution, it’s worth taking notice. According to PC World, the technology market research experts at Gartner expect prices for Solid State Drives to crash in 2019. Plummeting SSD prices could push more hosting platforms to go all-out on SSD technology.

Cost of SSD Servers

As of March 2017, a same-capacity SSD costs between four and five times as much as its HDD counterpart. What that translates to in real-world use depends on the website or application. Platforms that use very little in the way of hosted data can easily justify the expense, while businesses that need sky-high capacity for databases and media storage will experience higher costs. If your company is paying for external hosting, SSD-based servers don’t cost much more than HDD-based ones.

However, if SSD prices drop like Gartner predicts, that gap could narrow to the point where the performance boost is worth a modest price increase. SSDs also recoup some of their higher entry price in energy efficiency. On the other hand, SSDs in high-frequency writing use cases may need to be replaced more frequently than HDDs.

Performance of SSD Server

The main allure of flash-based SSD over hard disk drive storage is that SSD wins, hands down, in the performance race. In the web hosting world, businesses will see dramatic speed boosts in database, email, and Content Management Systems when switching to SSD-based storage. For example, SSDs can handle upwards of 80,000 Input-Output-Per-Second commands, compared to just 300 for HDDs. It’s important to note that load testing and monitoring are still important when working with SSD server storage because other parts of the infrastructure can bottleneck.

Replacing HDD storage with SSD storage should be viewed as a performance boost, not a performance fix. The impact can be quite substantial when you’re looking at conversion rates: Amazon found that a 100ms page load delay equates to a 1 percent drop in sales. While a 200ms load time reduction may not be noticeable to an individual user, it could make a difference of two percent in overall sales.

Lifespan of SSD Server

Depending on the use case, server hosting facilities will want to keep replacement SSDs on hand. The main technical drawback to using SSD storage in servers is that they can’t erase and re-write data as many times to the same storage space before wearing out compared with HDD technology. SSD lifespans are measured in Terabytes Written, or TBW, which gauge program/erase cycles (or how many times a given data cell can be written before it wears down). SSD memory cells last between 1500 and 10,000 P/E cycles before failing.

On the positive side, there’s very little else in an SSD that could break to shorten its lifespan. SSDs do not produce as much heat, run at lower power, and feature no moving parts. Traditional HDDs tend to wear down from general use. To work around write limitations, servers can be structured to use SSD storage for “read-only” and “write-rarely” implementations.

Switching website and application hosting infrastructure from HDD to SSD storage is just one of many ways to improve performance. Services like load testing and website monitoring will help your business get the most out of its online infrastructure regardless of the storage medium. Contact us today to learn more on how Apica can improve your audience’s online experience.

Apica Product Team