Three advantages of solid state storage in hyper-converged infrastructure

While hyper-converged systems have moved significantly into the data center, in recent years, experts says a hyper-converged platform is only as good as the underlying hardware, including the storage.

Jeff Rowe | Apr 17, 2018 12:00 am

In recent years, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) systems have gained considerable traction as an option for data centers, but while solid-state drives have been an option in hyper-converged platforms, some organizations are reluctant to use them because of concerns about cost or hardware longevity. 

Given that SSD costs have decreased, however, tech writer Brien Posey says IT managers might want to give HCI another look.  In his view, there are three advantages that SSDs bring to the table.

First and foremost, he says, “one of the greatest solid-state storage advantages in hyper-converged systems is the potential to improve virtual machine density -- the number of VMs that can run on a host cluster. Because the server runs multiple virtual machines simultaneously, the hardware costs can be divided among the VMs to establish a virtual machine cost. As the number of virtual machines on a hardware platform increases, the cost per virtual machine decreases, because each VM uses a smaller percentage of the hardware resources.”

Next up is the fact that SSD systems offer more than speed, particularly in the form of lower power and cooling costs.

“Traditional hard disk drives have moving parts and require a considerable amount of power to spin the drive's motors,” he explains. “This rotational motion also results in friction, which generates heat. In contrast, one of the many solid-state storage advantages is SSDs do not have any moving parts. They consume a small fraction of the power that HDDs do, and SSDs do not usually produce a significant amount of heat.”

Finally, there’s the better overall performance that come with SSDs.  “Although there are some enterprise-class HDDs that can deliver near-SSD performance for linear operations,” Posey argues,”SSDs far outperform HDDs when it comes to random I/O performance.

While there are tradeoffs in cost and capacity, in Posey’s view “the many solid-state storage advantages make it clear that SSDs can be the key to getting the maximum benefit from a hyper-converged platform.”

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