6. Power Loss Protection
Enterprise-class SSDs rely on power failure circuitry to monitor voltage changes. If the voltage drops below the threshold, a secondary voltage hold-up circuit ensures that the drive has sufficient power to save any pending writes to disk. A supercapacitor, a discrete bank of capacitors or a battery acts as this secondary voltage hold-up circuit.
7. Power Consumption
SSDs may be expensive, but they’re well worth the price when you consider their advantages.
SSDs draw very little power. Even at a full sprint, SSDs consume approximately three Watts or less compared to six or more Watts by standard disks. However, most impressive is the power consumption of quiescent drives. SSDs sip from 0.05 Watts to 1.3 Watts, while their gluttonous counterparts gobble at a rate of 4 Watts or more. You will pay more for an SSD, but the long-term cost reduction might offset the initial sticker shock.
8. Heat Dissipation
Everyone knows heat kills electronic performance. That’s why data centers have to stay at those chilly temperatures. SSDs reduce heat dissipation significantly compared to their spinning cousins. Less heat loss means lower cooling requirements, which in turn means reduced costs. Less heat to move away from sensitive electronics also means that system fan sizes can shrink along with your power consumption. Mechanical drives are responsible for more than 70 percent of the heat generated from a system. Without them, you could realize sizable savings and longer lasting hardware.
9. Hot Plug/Unplug Ability
It might not surprise you to know that SSDs have hot plug and unplug capability. However, it might surprise you to know that since SSDs don’t have to “spin up,” their capacity is available immediately upon plug-in. Although it might take several seconds for your operating system to recognize the drive, you will not have to wait through a lengthy discovery process or an even lengthier reboot.
If you’ve ever stood in a data center, you probably noticed the very high noise level. Imagine a data center filled with SSDs instead of standard drives. Other than the sound of system fans, cabinet fans and the central air conditioning system, the data center becomes significantly quieter. As noted in the Heat Dissipation entry, fans would likely experience a ‘downsizing’ as well and further reduce the ambient noise level.
* Some independent tests conclude that SSDs write two to three times faster than standard hard disks. However, there are studies that suggest the differences are not so marked.
Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases, and virtualization. He is also the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, which was published in October 2009. You may reach him through his web site at http://www.kenhess.com.