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What are SSD’s and Why do I want them on my website?

SSD, or Solid State Drives aren’t new technology but they are becoming more common place in the market, and it’s not surprising why. First of all, let me tell you what all the guff is and it might help you understand why they are so important!

SSD is a fully static device, there’s not a single moving part within the drive. Think of them as bigger versions of SD Cards, they are also known by the name flash, it’s a type of memory that allows you to read and write many times. This technology has been around since the 80’s but it’s never been very good at frequent read and writes, so often its system items such as the BIOS on your PC, however as the years have passed we’ve moved this technology from KB’s in storage to TB’s… (btw 1073741824kb is equal to a TB, or 1000MB so that’s a massive improvement).

So why aren’t we all using SSD?

SSD’s are great but they are expensive and hence a lot of companies choose to use traditional SATA drives with spinning disks, these works similar to record players! (Yes, record players as in the big spinning disk and a head) In fact that technology hasn’t fundamentally changed in decades.

The record player read groves on the black disc, indents and flat (on and off, or 1 and 0 in computer teams), these combined to create music. CD’s do the same thing, but the head is a laser meaning the grooves are even smaller, SATA drives or SAS drives are no different… information is written as on or off across the grooves. When a computer needs to find a file, the drives spin up and the head moves the part of the spindles where the information is, and reads it from the drive.

You’re limited by the speed the drive spins, do if you see SATA 5400 1TB drives, that means you have 1TB of storage space and the drive spins at 5400 revolutions a second (think of your RPM on a car, its no different), so if you have SATA 7200 1TB drives, you have the same space but you’ll be able to read and write it faster.

With SAS drives you can buy Hard Drives that can spin up to 15000 rpm, which is impressive but still can’t match SSD drives, everything is measured by Read/Write times, so as I write this on my trusty laptop I can tell you that the read/write I’m getting from my 1TB 5400 SATA drive is 106MB/s (Megabytes per second), while the SSD I have in my other machine is getting 446MB/s

These are only home drives, imagine what server drives can do and how that affects the loading time of your website… at maximum potential you can have your website loading 4 times faster!

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