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Case Study 2: Solid State Drives
New technology leads to new advancements in the workplace, and solid-state drives (SSD) are the next big thing. Before we get into SSD, need to understand what they are and what they are replacing. An SSD is hard drive without moving parts like a regular hard disk drive (HDD); where an HDD would have a spinning platter that would use magnetism to store data on it. HDD has been around since 1956 and have come a long way since then and are still effective today (Baxter, 2011). The SSD uses flash memory and with this flash memory, a memory chip usually called NAND will use semiconductors to flip arrays into different states of electric charge to store code (Lacoma, 2018). There are major advantages a company can benefit from when switching over from an HDD to an SSD. Firstly, the lifespan of an SSD far exceeds a traditional HDD. Since the SSD has no moving parts, there is no wear and tear on the drive so you don’t have to worry about something failing like a regular HDD might do someday. Because there are no moving parts, they also produce less heat and require less power draw. They are completely silent and have no vibrations unlike an HDD, which would make audible noises such as clicks or spinning sound, which in turn can cause mild vibrations. Durability is greater due to no moving parts, which help protect the drive from a fall such as dropping your laptop bag or your system being shaken while it’s being ran. With an HDD any motion to the drive or being dropped while be run could cause the disk to malfunction and destroy the drive. The cost is continuing to decline for SSD as they become the new norm and replace HDD. Because of the high price tag, most organizations avoided an SSD due to the cost of upgrading the same size drive while HDD was $0.03 per gigabyte and an SSD was around $0.20 it can be an expensive upgrade. The biggest benefit that an organization can get from an SSD is speed. Since the data is written randomly across the cells or memory, it increases the reading speed of the drive. For an organization that requires manipulating a lot of data, an SSD will increase productivity. Faster boot times, use of large databases, rendering, and processing videos, or complex customer management services will benefit from the use of an SSD (TechWerxe, 2017).
There are some disadvantages of an SSD, and an organization takes on that risk when looking at upgrading to SSD. The price is the major problem for most organizations that want to upgrade their HDD to SSD. SSD are not that large yet and the ones that are very expensive a 15.36TB SSD enterprise would cost $6,406 while a 14TB HDD enterprise would go for $609 (Newegg, 2019). Multiple smaller size SSD would be better to use to save money but still would be more expensive than an HDD. The lifespan of SSD can be shorter than an HDD depending on how it is used; an SSD has a limited write cycle that can write to the flash memory. The SSD writes a single bit of data into the memory, and every time this is accomplished, that cell starts to wear or decay. The number of cycles is in the thousands, which do not sound like a lot, but with new and more modern SSD, they still will last many years unless you are writing tens of gigabytes of data every day for several years then your lifespan will be shorter. If your write cycles are all used up the data would still be accessible as read-only (Betts, 2015). The flash memory should last years and would have a higher chance that the controller hardware or software will fail.
SSD is no longer for consumers in mind, and most organization would think twice about upgrading from HDD to SSD due to the cost but since prices have been coming down and the advantages of the SSD may outweigh the cost. Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) should make the transition from HDD to SSD on their systems to help increase their speed and performance with their SQL databases. A technologist for DHSS said that they currently on their “Tier 1 database they use 15,000 rpm HDD” and with their database a switch over to SSD will help their performance with the new application and lower the query time which in the medical field needs to be fast, can handle heavy workloads, and offer reliable storage (Sliwa, 2012). It would be in their best interest to consider upgrading their infrastructure to SSD to help improve their performance and reliability. Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is also considering making the switch over to SSD to help improve their reliability and performance. Giving their volume and the type of data they use a storage area network (SAN) based SSD was being looked at as their next move when they look at upgrading. This is good for performance; SAN’s are designed for speed and storage that allow increased flexibility and scalability. They also offer rapid backups, and since it’s basically its own network, it won’t cause bottlenecks. This helps with replicating data from your primary location to an offsite fast and easy which minimizes any downtime (Rouse, 2018). A SAN is more complex and would require more training and administration hands on to help run and maintain but in the long run would be better than their current operation.
SSD is more difficult for forensics personnel to examine then regular HDD. Michael Yu, a detective in the electronic crimes unit in Montgomery County Police Department points, says in two parts what has been a problem so far. “First, is when examining the SSD he may get different hash value each time imaging an SSD. The hash value is a mathematical algorithm represented by a string of numbers and letters that is unique to a set of data”. This allows the examiner to use hash values to verify the data they extracted from the drive before analysis.
The second problem is they are finding it harder to recover data deleted files. Since on an SSD the data is placed randomly on the NAND because of the decay of the chip due to the write limit (Yu, 2015). Because of this difficulty for even forensic personnel to recover data from an SSD the DHSS and DAV should take in consideration, what that means for them if there is a failure on a drive or if something is deleted by accident. Most cases the data will be lost forever unless which any good organization would do is perform backs up of their data on a daily basis to help prevent something like this from happening.
- Baxter, A. (2011, December 02). SSD vs HDD. Retrieved February 7, 2019, from https://www.storagereview.com/ssd_vs_hdd
- Betts, A. (2015, March 11). Hard Drives, SSDs, Flash Drives: How Long Will Your Storage Media Last? Retrieved February 7, 2019, from https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/hard-drives-ssds-flash-drives-how-long-will-your-storage-media-last/
- Lacoma, T. (2018, October 29). What Is an SSD? | The Ultimate Explanation of the Solid-State Drive. Retrieved February 7, 2019, from https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-an-ssd/
- Newegg. (n.d.). Newegg. Retrieved February 7, 2019, from https://newegg.com/
- Rouse, M. (2018, February). What is storage area network (SAN)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. Retrieved February 7, 2019, from https://searchstorage.techtarget.com/definition/storage-area-network-SAN
- Sliwa, C. (2012, September). Enterprise IT shops now choose SSD storage. Retrieved February 7, 2019, from https://searchstorage.techtarget.com/feature/Enterprise-IT-shops-now-choose-SSD-storage
- TechWerxe. (2017, October 12). How Upgrading to SSD Drives Can Improve Your Business’ Productivity. Retrieved February 7, 2019, from https://techwerxe.com/upgrading-ssd-drives-can-improve-business-productivity/
- Yu, M. (2015, April 9). Retrieved February 7, 2019, from http://www.iacpcybercenter.org/solid-state-drives-ssd-issues-and-challenges/
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