Tech Brief About SSD
From the early implementation of SSDs in the 1970 in IBM supercomputers, Amdahl and Cray, to the
creation of the world’s largest capacity (15.36TB) enterprise storage system by Samsung, solid state
drives are slowly engulfing the storage market. SSDs have always been around us, but due to the high
cost of the technology very few consumers dared to adopt the technology early on. However with new
flash technology in SSD like SAS SSD and NVME more companies began taking a part in the SSD gold
mine. What once cost $1,000 for a 20MB of SSD,m now costs the same for a 1.92TB enterprise grade SSD.
Due to the extraordinary price drop many consumers and business are soon making regular hard drives
obsolete in their lives and replacing them with the newest SSDs out in the market.
History of Solid State Drives
In the days of the vacuum-tube computers, SSDs shared technologies such as the charged capacitor
read-only (CCROS) and magnetic core memory. Later on, they were used in IBM supercomputers until
General Instruments developed their electrically alterable ROM, which set a small blueprint for the now
NAND flash memory. However, due to the slow growth many companies stopped pursuing the
technology and began the hunt for a more reliable and cost effective technology. In an effort to have an
edge on the SSD market, Dataram introduced a product called Bulk Core. Bulk Core composed of a 2MB
SSD that was compatible with Digital Equipment Corporation and Data General. Although they were
slowly growing to fame, SSDs didn’t become fully noticeable until the 2000’s. In 2000, a company
named BiTMICRO released the world’s first hot-swappable SCSI SSD and following that Adtron became
the first company to ship the world’s largest capacity SSD (14GB) at a jaw dropping price of $42,000.
Following Samsung’s announcement of entering the SSD market in May of 2005, they released a
Windows XP notebook with SSD in the following year. The year 2007 was a turning point for the SSD as
many more companies began developing 1.8″ and 2.5″ drives while SandDisk being one of the most
noteworthy company to join with their 2.5″ SATA SSDs.
Price comparison per GB
Sixteen years ago it was almost comical for an average consumer to have a solid state drive for everyday
usage due to the astonishing price. Fast-forwarding to 2016, we now see that the SSD market is slowly
replacing regular hard drives. SSDs have now reached a price where an average user can get a high end
SSD for less than sixty cents per GB. With such low prices not only are computer manufactures shipping
PCs with SSDs already installed in them, but they are also allowing users to install their own SSDs for
added storage. As many more companies began joining the SSD market and creating new SSDs, the
prices of SSDs are slowly hitting an exponential decline.
SSD vs HDD
What makes SSDs so appealing to an average users and corporate world are the added benefits a SSD
provides over a HDD while being manufactured by a credible and trusted company. For an average user
SSDs provide extremely faster booting times compared to a regular HDD. Along with the booting times,
it also allowed them to have a larger battery life on portable devices as SSDs tend to consume less
SSD In the Business World
Not so long ago almost every single server farms preferred hard drives as their primary source of
storage. Solid state drives weren’t cost effect, and notable manufactures didn’t start producing
enterprise grade SSDs until recently. Aside from being cost effective SSDs are smaller, provide faster
read and write speeds and having no moving parts makes them essential for business on the go. Also
having such a low power consumption makes it ideal for large server farms SSDs tend to generate less
heat and save millions in the long run due to power consumption.
When it comes to enterprise level drives, there are many things that goes into consideration. One of the
most important being reliability and endurance. Top tier manufacturers like Samsung, SanDisk, and
Kingston have recently began developing enterprise grade drives that can handle well over 18,000 IOPS
with sequential read/write speeds over 460MB/s. For higher end servers that demand a lot more
power, corporations can opt for NVMe SSDs from HGST that can provide up to 310,000 mixed random
IOPS while providing read/write speeds over 1600MB/s. With speed provided by companies like HGST
many are companies are beginning to develop and manufacture new technology that will be suitable for
the business world in the near future. However, based on the Total SSD Supplier Market Share form Q3
of 2015, it’s evident that Samsung clearly has the upper hand in manufacturing and perfecting consumer
grade and enterprise level solid state drives. They are one of the pioneers in NVMe technology and
have a dedicated business website for various types of enterprise grade SSDs while they continue to
produce newer SSDs.
SSDs have evolved in many different ways, most notable being the introduction of NVMe (Non-Volatile
Memory Express) and SAS SSD (Serial-Attached SCSI solid-state drive). Regular SATA SSDs use AHCI
(Advance Host Controller Interface) which allows for hot swappable drives. However, it also puts a limit
on the amount of comments a drive can handle. For example: a regular AHCI drive can only handle one
queue at a time with thirty two pending commands where a NVMe drive can handle up to sixty five
thousand queues while handling sixty five thousand commands for each queue. NVMe drives were
designed with two things in mind speed and durability. Unlike SATA 3, that provides speed up to
600MB/s and use AHCI interface, NVMe uses PCIe 3.0 X4 and connects directly to the central processing
unit to reduce latency. Having the usage of the PCIe NVMe drives can reach speeds up to 4GB/s.
Aside from NVMe drives, SAS SSDs have also been floating around the market. Serial-Attached SCSI
drives were created with four things in mind making them the ideal drives for large server farm:
reliability, scalability, performance, and endurance. Being backwards compatible, it allows for a regular
SATA drive to work a SAS controller. It also works faster than a regular SATA III as SAS 3 can support
speeds up to 12GB/s with speeds of 24GB/s expected to reach in 2017. With speeds like that it is almost
two to three times faster than a regular hard drive! While a traditional hard drive can only handle data
in one direction at full speed, SAS drives are capable of full duplexing and can send and receive data at
the same time without sacrificing speed. Having such speed and reliability, SAS drives are targeted for
server grade usage as they provide extremely reliable data support with constant usage, and heavy
Having such a strong grip on the solid state market, Samsung has clearly made their presence known as
they just recently announced their new 15.36TB enterprise grade SSD that can perform random IOPS
reads 1,000 more than a SAS hard drive. As companies continues to grow, the SSD market steadily
becomes stronger allowing many average consumers and business to make a switch to solid state drives
a thing of the norm. Within twenty to thirty years it won’t be shocking if regular hard drives become
obsolete as mankind strives for perfection in technology while seeking reliability, scalability,
performance and endurance.
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