What are the Differences Between Hard Drives and Solid State Drives?

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Answered by: Girija, An Expert in the Hard Drives Category
Solid State Drive

Solid State Drive (SSD) is a Storage device that "stores data" making use of "Solid State Memory". In a solid state, the components or devices are completely made from solid materials having the charge carriers. So solid state is purely an electrical term and is built with electronic circuits made of semiconductors. Solid state drive employs a special type of memory chip which has the features like erase, re-writable and can hold the data even when powered off. The Hard Disk Drive is replaced by Solid State Drive and this is the future of storage. You will get a clear idea once you go through the topic Hard Drives Vs Solid State Drives

Hard Drives Vs Solid State Drives

Hard Disk Drives use a rotating magnetic media. The magnetic media is on a disk which is called a Platter. The data is written on the surface of the Platter, top or bottom.

Solid State Drives contain no moving or spinning part and uses microchip. Solid State Drive use the same interface as Hard Disk Drives and this helps in replacing Hard Disk Drive in many applications. The Hard Disk Drive Array the concentric circles represents the Logical block addressing or LBA and in Solid State Drives the Logical block addressing is inside of the flash media. This Logical block addressing represents individual addresses.

Overview of Solid State Drive Architecture

Solid State Drive architecture is very simple to understand. The main components are

1) The Controller (The Brain)

2) Memory / NAND flash Memory (Media) - Reliability Store Bits.

The key factor in Solid State Drive is NAND Flash Memory components. Solid State Drive contains number of NAND Flash components. The NAND flash components are connected to the Controller. The controller does the job of managing the NAND Flash components. The NAND Flash components are much like the platter in the Hard Disk Drive. The controllers take the raw data storage and it makes it look like a Hard Disk Drive to the outside world.

NAND Flash Media: The NAND Flash media contains NAND cells arranged in multiple planes. The NAND planes are in parallel. This helps to move to plane 2 while we are doing some action to plane 1. The data moves in and out through a Cache thus improving the performance of NAND flash memory. When the data is read, the data is initially transferred from a plane to the cache and while writing, from interface to the cache. And finally the Interface that helps the NAND Flash to communicate with the controller.

Advantages of SSD

1) Little to no mechanical failures - Parts are not broken as there is no moving and spinning part associated.

2) Faster access to data - The data can be accessed with high speed compared to Hard Disk Drives.

3) Less power consumption than Hard Disk Drive - Cuts down the power consumption compared to conventional Hard Disk Drive and can help adding average of thirty minutes to battery life.

4) Multitasking

5) Durable - Can withstand shock, temperature extremes, vibration.

6) When considering the total cost of the system, DRAM based Solid State Drive is cost effective

7) Reduced down time - Reduces downtime by half in case of virus scan thus helping the workflow. So a routine maintenance will not pose a problem.

8) Speed Boot up time - You can resume working in less than 30 seconds which is a highly appreciable factor.

9) No noise factor - There are no moving parts in Solid State Drive and there is no problem of sound. There is an exception in cases of higher end models where there is a fan for cooling.

Solid State Drive - The future of Storage?

With all the advantages in hand, there is no doubt why SSD captured the media headlines recently. Solid State Drive is in a great shape and they will be around for a long time as there is no performance limitation in the future of Solid State Drive. Solid State Drive will definitely contribute in a big way with the advancement in the technology of virtualization. DRAM based Solid State Drives and Flash based Solid State Drives are gaining more attention in the market now. Researchers and experts feel that Solid State Drive will offer more Scalability and it can be a fabricated technology for the future of Enterprise Storage.

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