by Jacqueline Emigh
Do solid state drive (SSDs) work as a way of hanging on to old PCs? That’s what Kingston Technology is proposing, now that the company is expanding beyond memory upgrades into SSDs.
Upgrading an old PC ith an internal SSD can cost hundreds of dollars less than buying a new PC, according to Darwin Chen, Kingston’s VP for SSD and flash, who has been promoting the idea widely through interviews published in major enterprise-oriented publications.
Kingston, of course, has great reason to suggest that even older desktop users upgrade to an SSD – sales of the high-speed storage solutions have been an ever-increasing source of profit for companies traditionally relegated to the memory realm.
An SSD can make the system boot up and shut down more quickly, says Chen, who claims that Kingston is now sampling SSDs with large numbers of big organizations.
Flash-based SSDs are also very fast and they’re low on latency. They’re hardier than HDDs, because they have no moving parts, and they run cooler and more quietly, according to the VP. On its Web site, Kingston suggests using an SSD in combination with a traditional hard drive in a desktop PC, or to replace a hard drive in a notebook PC.
Despite the advantages of SSDs, though, experts see other benefits for HDDs. The cost per gigabyte on storage is about 20 times lower for HDDs, and that relationship will remain the same for the next 20 years, said Jim Handy, an analyst at Objective Analysis, speaking at the recent Storage Visions 2010 conference.
Some vendors are now selling hybrid drives designed to combine the best elements of HDDs and SSDs. Seagate’s Momentus XT, for example, is a hybrid drive for PCs which stores some of the user’s data in solid state flash storage and the rest on a 7200 RPM hard drive, using a feature called Adaptive Memory to facilitate between the two different types of storage.
“Solid state is really good at storing small amounts of data that needs to be accessed quickly. Hard drives are much better at storing lots of information at lower cost,” maintained Teresa Worth, Seagate’s senior manager of Enterprise SSD, in a recent interview.
Regardless of how and why SSDs and solid state storage might be used, companies are clearly intrigued. A recent survey by SearchStorage.com showed that 7% of the 360 data storage managers interviewed already have the technology in place, another 14% plan to implement it this year, and almost 40% will evaluate it in 2010.