Would you cut your grass with clippers?

I’ll venture the answer to that is a resounding “No!”  There’s something to the motto “Use the right tool for the job.” So while clippers can certainly cut the grass, it is hardly the most suitable tool for the job. And so it goes with technology, especially in business-critical areas like enterprise data centers.

By now you’ve heard, and most likely, experienced the benefits of Solid State Drives. But not all SSDs are created equal and not all Intel SSDs are built for the same job. Client SSDs like the Intel® 530 work just great in consumer desktops or laptops but in the enterprise data center, they don’t quite cut it.

Why Data Center SSDs?

Think of it this way: A client SSD is like a push mower; perfectly suitable for a small front yard. You can make it around in a few laps without having to shut down, gas up and restart. Ta da! A beautifully, even cut lawn that will be the envy of your neighbors.

Now try using that same push mower on a ball field. You’ll have to start and stop a half dozen times, you’ll probably forget where you left off and miss a patch, and you will certainly start moving slower after a while.

Data Center class SSDs are like commercial riding mowers that can easily tackle a ball field with the same level of quality throughout the job and without peaks and valleys from starts and stops. And do it consistently, day after day.

Let’s consider the facts.

Endurance: Data center workloads are different from client workloads, so the enterprise data center SSD most endure much more strenuous IO demands on the drive.

GB-Day-Writes

Data Integrity: In a RAID environment, the drive has to be validated for OEM support and warranty. End-to-End (E2E) data checking and correction is one such qualification that unlike client SSDs, data center SSDs possess. In Intel SSD DC 3500 Series and Intel® SSD DC 3700 Series for example, the data is checked, validated and corrected if needed. E2E starts from the moment data enters the drive for a write until it exits for a read.

Consistency: A question that’s critical to performance in RAID sets and planning in your data center is, “How consistent is the performance of your SSD?” Intel Data Center SSDs maintain high rates of IOPs performance over long periods of time without peaks and drops.

ConsitencyCombined7030SM600

Left (in blue) is an Intel SSD DC3500 Series drive compared to a really good drive of the same capacity from a top manufacturer on the right (in red).

Cost: When weighing the cost of SSDs, remember to consider indirect expenses. The savings you’ll realize from SSDs in terms of greater IOPS capacity, lower power consumption, and higher productivity from low latency make SSDs very cost-effective.

Real World – Improving Email Application Server Performance

Intel wanted to improve email application server performance and lower costs. By replacing HDDs with SSDs email submission times were reduced by 84 percent; 60 percent less data center space was required; and power and cooling requirements were lower by 79 percent! System management was simplified and the annual per-user infrastructure costs were reduced.

So there you have it. Use the right tool for the job. Even if it costs a little more at the outset, you’ll save a lot more in the long run.

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