Traditional hard disk drive (HDD) storage exists on magnetic platters, where mechanical devices physically seek out the requested data. This mechanical blundering is the weakest link in the input/output (I/O) chain. In contrast, typical latency (the time between data requested and data received) for solid state drives (SSDs) can be as low as 250 µs (microseconds).
IOPS, or Input/Output transactions (I/Os) per second in combination with low latency is perhaps the most accurate measurement of overall performance. A storage device can only handle so many IOPS, regardless of how small or large the I/O is.
Conventional HDDs are capable of about 300 IOPS at best, whereas modern SSDs can reach well over a million random IOPS. Since there are no moving parts, data performance is high regardless of whether the data is accessed sequentially or randomly. This is important since real-world use is typically more random than sequential. Database applications benefit a great deal from high random IOPS.
The super-fast performance of SSDs enables them to saturate today’s high-bandwidth interfaces almost completely. For PCI-Express 4.0, this means 16 GT/s, or around 2 GB/s (gigabytes per second), per lane. High bandwidth is essential for many applications, such as video editing.
Lower I/O Wait Time
I/O wait time is experienced when processors are literally waiting on storage to process their I/O request. To some degree, I/O wait time occurs in all systems. Typical applications, however, do not thrash hard drives enough for users to notice.
A demanding enterprise application, e.g. OLTP and data warehousing, can easily become busy enough that servers are constantly waiting on storage. When servers wait on storage for data, users wait on servers.
Improved Server Efficiency
When slow, conventional storage holds back the potential of processors and servers, efficiency is reduced and money is wasted. Conversely, introducing blazing-fast solid state drives fully utilizes those servers, resulting in maximized ROI. If your data only travels as fast as the slowest point in the network, then removing that bottleneck results in efficiency gains throughout the system.
Lower Power Consumption
SSDs consume far less power in general, and exponentially so when normalized for transfer rates.
More Concurrent Users
In enterprise environments, resources are freed up for other applications and tasks when utilizing more efficient storage. In the case of query-based applications, this can translate into more concurrent users receiving their data at higher speeds.
Faster Response Times
Without mechanical storage devices to slow down performance, users and applications get data at the speeds they demand. At the core of any enterprise is a critical database. Whether it is queried by users or other servers, anyone can benefit from faster response times.
In many environments, particularly OLTP, increased customer satisfaction is the first priority. Eliminating I/O bottlenecks with SSDs can improve the performance of all hardware depending on that data. Whether the application is e-commerce, OLTP, hot files storage, or any other use, higher performance, faster response, and greater transactions mean increased satisfaction by users.
Financial, telecom, and e-commerce industries know the value of increased transactions per second. To those industries, every additional transaction that their hardware can carry out directly affects the bottom line. In such a situation, it is easy to see how SSDs quickly pay for themselves compared to conventional storage.