The Future of Storage: SSD and HDD

For many years the press has been predicting that hard disk drives are about to be superseded by solid state drives, but these appear to have been premature predictions, despite the slowly down in drive capacity increases. Although solid state drives provide a significant boost in data transfer speeds, there still exists a large price differential, which is about a factor of ten. It is also interesting to note that the first type of solid state device pre-dates the first spinning drum hard disk technology, which was introduced in 1956.

Although hard disk drives recording techniques are undergoing constant development, the technology is well known in terms of data recovery. In contrast solid state drive development is changing significantly, meaning that new data recovery techniques and proprietary hardware may need to be developed each time a different iteration of the technology is seen.

Important Data Storage

Humans tend to be inherently lazy, so that even when we store new that is extremely important, we often don’t think about whether it will be backed up. If your storage device fails before it is backed up, the storage technology will determine how difficult and costly it will be to recover the files.

Professional data recovery companies, such as DiskEng have a wealth of experience in recovering data from a multitude of hard disks drive, having seen thousands of cases. It is only in the worst cases of damage that data recovery will either take a long time or be a failure. For a solid state drive the success rate is slightly lower and the situation may call for new hardware and techniques to be developed, which can be expensive.

Use of Traditional Hard Drives

While solid state drives are perfect for the operating system, within the data recovery industry the consensus of opinion is that all important data is stored on a hard disk drive, as the method of data recovery is a well-known quantity. It is only in data centres will multiple redundancy built into the storage systems, where it makes sense to use large quantities of solid state drives, in order to provide high speed storage space.

These arrays of solid state drives tend to be much more expensive and not necessarily more energy efficient, than the traditional hard drive. However, in a system which may be prone to vibrations, is likely to be the more sensible choice. Whichever technology is used, a backup strategy should be in place, rather than trusting to luck.

The Future of Storage

While Samsung have released the largest ever drive in the form of a 16TB SSD, the device is very expensive and aimed at the enterprise market. Such a device is intended for data centres requiring high capacity storage combined with the fastest possible data transfer speeds. Traditional enterprise level hard disk drives are however competing more directly with arrays comprising smaller SSD drives, where the difference in power consumption and space required for the larger number of solid state drives, mean there is little difference apart from data transfer speeds.

With Western Digital acquiring SanDisk along with Fujitsu and Samsung also owning a large proportion of the solid state drive manufacturing equipment, the price differential is likely to remain in place. It will be difficult for an independent solid state drive manufacturer to muscle in and change the current status quo. While this may sound counter-productive for the consumer, in the long run with future hard disk drive technology promising faster and larger drives than SSD’s are capable of, it ensures a controlled development cycle, while minimising the risks of data loss.

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