Hybrid drives are a fad: Bring on the SSDs!

Choosing hard drives for both servers and workstations is a constant challenge. IT pro Rick Vanover reveals his opinion on SSDs and Hybrid drive technology.

In an earlier post this year, I posed the question, wondering if hybrid disk drives are a fad or simply a good way to tier workloads on a workstation. I’ve given some thought to the matter, weighed in comments from readers, used both technologies myself and have come to a conclusion: Go with the SSD.

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are quick, really quick. What’s better is that they aren’t necessarily a break-the-bank decision. Sure, there are some larger disks that will open some eyes on new system provisioning (especially for notebooks and desktops), but some low-end products can be purchased now at less than USD $100! That’s incredible! Sure, they are not the largest capacity solid state devices; but they will tremendously increase the experience of the client with a subtle difference in cost from normal rotational technologies.

If I am making a recommendation to shop by price, which in some cases is the right thing to do, then reliability of these bottom-end parts come in to play. That is where the cloud comes in. Whether it is private cloud (a.k.a. the internal IT datacenter) or public cloud solutions, we can manage client data to mitigate risk of device failure. Surely, we’re already doing something to that effect for client protection, aren’t we?

The other side of making a blanket, widespread decision to adopt a technology like SSD for client computing is this is another example where the empowered IT user has more capability than the IT offering. This argument is most frequently used with “I have more storage at home” or “I have more Internet bandwidth at home.” By giving users super-fast SSD storage, we may enable the argument, “My laptop is faster than those expensive servers.” Unless we are equipping modern SAN infrastructure with flash or solid state storage technology, we may be heading for an insatiable user base.

Getting our heads around the underlying technologies is difficult; I had the opportunity to cohost a podcast discussing this and flash technologies. I recommend you check out the InfoSmack Deep Dive: Is flash just a flash in the pan?

Storage decisions will always be at the center of our IT prowess, and SSDs versus hybrid disk drives are just another example at this point in time. What do you think about SSDs and hybrid drives? Share your comments below.