What do solid-state devices (SSD) and real estate have in common? Turns out that prices for both are a function of supply and demand, and location matters.
A little bit of SSD in the right location can bring good value or benefits going a long way, as we discussed in an earlier blog SSD Is in Your Future: Where, When & With What Are the Questions. Likewise, a lot of SSDs can be good, but at a high cost. Or, like real estate, it could be low-cost property. Comparing real estate based on square footage is like looking at SSD on a cost per GB basis in that it reflects neither the value nor potential benefit. Similar to real estate, all things are not equal in the datacenter and with SSD.
Just as with real estate, there are many types of SSDs in various packaging options that can be deployed in different locations for various usages. Some are optimized for larger capacity with fewer writes or updates at a lower cost such as multi-level cell (MLC) or enterprise MLC (eMLC) or triple-level cell (TLC) that stacks multiple bits on top of each other like a high-rise property to cut costs. There are also longer endurance single-level cell (SLC) based Nand flash SSD that cost more, but they do not stack as many bits, thus less wear and tear, kind of like a single occupancy property.
As with deciding what real estate property is best for you, knowing your requirements, usage or activity patterns, and other requirements is key for effective SSD deployments. For example, looking beyond the cost per square foot, or cost per GB in the case of SSD, comparing functionality, traffic, access, and other factors is important. I want more space capacity with the SSD that I have in my laptop, but I have to ask whether I need it and how it will enable me to be more productive. On the other hand, I can save some money by going with a smaller SSD that will cause me to be less productive by spending more time moving things around. As with real estate, finding the right balance, location, and type of resource to support what you are doing is important versus simply having more capacity.
How much SSD do you want versus need is like asking how much real estate you would you like versus require. The amount of SSD to have is tied to what you are trying to address or solve, as well as where it will be deployed. There are many different options for stretching your budget while becoming more effective. In the right place, you may not need as much prime real estate to be effective, yet you may need another place for back office, warehousing, assembly, or other functions at a lower cost, yet higher capacity.
The same holds true with SSD in that using some SSD as a cache in server or in storage systems can boost for performance for cache-friendly workloads or application activity. Likewise, if all of your IO activity fits into a small amount of space, then a small target SSD located close to where it is being used can be a benefit. Thus, like real estate, there is no right or wrong location, per say; it's a case of determining what fits or meets your objectives. Same holds true in that SSD is in your future: the questions are where, with what, how much, and when.