Figure 3: Relative Drive Costs with Data Reduction
Leading vendors recognize the need to offer the densest storage arrays possible and have aggressively designed products that incorporate the latest, high capacity SSDs. At a system level, the benefits of dense SSDs are amplified. For example, the largest HDD available is 10TB in a 3.5” form factor. A maximum of 12 of these drives could be installed in a standard 2U server, providing 120TB capacity. Alternatively, the same server could be equipped with 24 2.5” 16TB SSDs, providing 384TB capacity – or 3x the density. System equipment cost aside, the resources needed to build and operate a data center are considerable. To get a good sense of their significance, consider total cost of ownership (TCO) calculators that estimate the capital and operational expenditures for a given data center. As an example, a modest, tier 3 data center (which supports 99.982% availability) with 10 cabinets of system equipment using SSDs would cost approximately $887,000 of construction and operational costs over three years. The same amount of HDD storage would require a 30-cabinet system (SSDs having 3x the density), resulting in estimated construction and operational costs of $1,423,000. The density benefit alone results in over half a million dollars in savings over 3 years.
Figure 4: Data Center Build-Out is Expensive
It is clear that storage requirements are growing exponentially, driven by inexhaustible content generators that include human and non-human sources. Great value is being derived from this information stream through data analytics, which requires much of the information to be stored on a faster medium than archival tape. This faster medium is transitioning from HDDs to SSDs. Not only are SSDs higher performing and more reliable, they are now also higher capacity and lower cost than performance HDDs. The density advantage translates to even lower costs when building out and operating data centers that host the storage. Businesses looking for a distinct competitive advantage should waste no time in taking note of this trend.
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