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HPC Cluster Blog - SSD vs HDD
Monday, 31 March 2014 08:22

SSD vs. HDD - or when to choose ove over the other

At Advanced Clustering, we hear a lot of opinions for the use of both solid state drives (SSDs) and standard hard disk drives (HDDs), and each has its own pros and cons depending on what their use will be. While there are advantages and disadvantages to each one, the top considerations when deciding between the two are capacity, cost, reliability, and speed.

Spinning disks are currently available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB sizes on the SATA side, with , while SSDs much less storage space, starting at 60GB and going up to 512GB.  For purposes of this discussion, we're sticking with SATA SSDs, as opposed to PCIe-based SSDs.  Now, there are larger SATA SSDs, but they are considerably more expensive and in shorther supply due to lower demand, thus we did not include them either in our testing.

Another consideration in drive choice is reliability. Advanced Clustering offers SSDs with a five-year warranty. One question customers often ask is, “if the drive reaches its read/write limit within that five-year period, is it still covered under the warranty?” The answer is yes, it is. SSDs have no moving parts to wear out since they use integrated circuits similar to memory chips, so if an SSD fails, data can still be retrieved and copied to the new drive. On an HDD, however, once the drive fails, data is lost; this is why we usually recommend a RAID configuration for HDDs that hold important data. Today storage is relatively inexpensive. On an HDD drive for example it could cost $0.10 to $0.15 cents per GB depending on the size of the drive and that is one solid advantage to using the HDD. By comparison the SSD has cost ranging from $0.80 to $1.50 per GB.  Simply examining cost per gigabyte is a nice metric, but it is often important to measure cost per MB/s.  This discussion centers around high performance computing, so while cost is important, performance tends to rule the day. See the chart below to see this the various types of drives we tested and the breakdown of results.

Drive

Read (MB/s)

Write (MB/s)

Size (GB)

Cost per drive

Cost per GB

Cost per MB/s

512GB SSD

584

551

512

$469

$0.92

$0.41

256GB SSD

650

551

256

$230

$0.90

$0.19

128GB SSD

646

362

128

$130

$1.02

$0.13

240GB SSD

533

549

240

$240

$1.00

$0.22

120GB SSD

531

538

120

$129

$1.08

$0.12

60GB SSD

519

523

60

$84.50

$1.41

$0.08

1TB SATA

158

137

1000

$86

$0.09

$0.29

Our engineers ran the Bonnie++ benchmark to see how SSDs compare with 7200RPM SATA drives and 15K SAS Drives. As you can see in the graph below, the results show some pretty compelling data that suggests SSDs may be the best option if speed is a requirement.

Consult with your Advanced Clustering Technologies sales rep at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or technician to find out which drive is best for you.

 
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