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Storage Networks and Solid State Drives: the Right Choice?

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Choosing the right solid state drive (SSD) for your enterprise storage networkingenvironment is a critical decision — and equally critical is making sure you have the right controller to get the most out of the pricey drives.

The first two parts of this series covered solid state drive application and software issues and reliability and performance concerns.

In this final part, we'll cover the internal design of SSDs and the use of SAS and RAIDcontrollers — important choices for making the most of your solid state drives. If your application requires SSD-like performance, you need to make sure you're doing everything right to maximize your investment.

Your decisions in each of these areas will determine if SSDs are an unqualified success in your data storage environment or of they are just a costly addition with marginal performance improvement. Given the cost of these drives, the last thing you want is a marginal performance improvement.

Internal SSD Design

Without question, this is the most important decision that you will make: You need to look for a solid state drive that will match the performance you can deliver and the reliability you need.

The first and most important part of the decision process is understanding how much data you write and if the writes are in bursts or at a sustained rate. This is important because for a number of SSDs, bursty writes hurt performance because of wear levelingoptimization, and the internal bandwidth within the SSD may not be great enough to handle the incoming writes from the channel and meet the wear leveling requirements of the firmware.

Wear Leveling: The SSD vendor's wear leveling firmware design is critical to write performance. It is important to determine if the algorithm is designed to the pre-wear level so that you have extra blocks that you can write to in advance of your writes, or considering the internal bandwidth, that wear leveling and writes will not impact the SSD.

Read the rest at Enterprise Storage Forum.

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