The Data Center SSD: SSDs Specialized to Handle High-Value Data

By Floyd GoodrichDecember 21, 2016

Today's data-sensitive environments no longer solely reside at the storage layer. Instead, high-value transactional data flows across the enterprise, which is often migrating, thus requiring not only fast, but also secure access. This is perhaps the key factor encouraging future data centers to adopt storage solutions that are designed for speed, reliability, endurance, consistency, and manageability in high-value data scenarios.

Primarily as a replacement for conventional HDDs, the industry launched SSDs (Solid State Drives), for both the consumer and enterprise levels. While client SSDs are largely for personal computers, enterprise SSDs embody 24X7 responsiveness with optimized speed and higher data securing efficiency for critical data center workloads.

How to Analyze the Right SSD Solution for Data Centers?

Known for its sustained reliability, durability, and blazing transactional performance, SSDs are frequently being integrated into enterprise data management strategies.

However, not all SSDs are the same. Determining the right SSD for mission-critical data center applications requires a range of crucial insights. And, a good place to start is by understanding that client SSDs and data center SSDs are two completely different beings. Next, it’s important to understand how the real-world use cases shape up as opposed to synthetic benchmarks. And finally, identifying the characteristics of flash memory and other technologies inside the SSD that reveal the attributes required to manage high-value data efficiently.

Be Careful, Just Any SSD Won’t Do the Trick

The state-of-art data centers, in order to protect sensitive data, implement diverse strategies. They usually rely on SSDs created for sustained performance, lower latency, and mixed workload I/O. The SSD's superior firmware applies 'low-density parity check' (LDPC) error correction with an incredibly efficient algorithm, leading to lower space engagement and faster writes.

Sustaining system power protection (PFP), and maintaining the power long enough to finish pending write operations are also crucial factors that cutting-edge data centers consider while deciding SSDs for big data workloads. In case a situation demands encryption, self-encrypting drives internally implement algorithms within the hardware.

Determining the Endurance and Lifespan of an SSD With Smart Attributes

The architecture of NAND flash memory, essentially a semiconductor operating through the movement of electrons, fixes a limit to the SDDs write endurance.

Basically, the endurance of an SSD is dependent on two distinct metrics: Total Bytes Written (TBW), and Drive Writes per Day (DWPD). TBW suggests the maximum amount of host writes a drive is guaranteed to endure, whereas Drive Writes per Day (DWPD) is a derivative of TBW, deciphering the host writes into writes per day over a given warranty limit.

Furthermore, the lifespan of an SSD and its write endurance can be precisely evaluated using the SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) properties, which exhibits an array of indicators related to the SSD's overall health.

Finally, benchmarking under mixed loading presents a clear perception about specific enterprise SSDs that deliver outstanding Quality of Service (QoS), protection, efficiency, and reliability in managing high-value data center applications demanding extremely optimized performance levels.

As data centers continue to evolve with the proliferation of high-value data, the ability to identify and differentiate SSDs designed for the data center from the rest is likely to become a key ingredient for success.

To know more about SSDs and datacenter solutions, please contact the WPGA team.