SSDs to Come of Age in 2012

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Five SSD Predictions for 2012

The real impact of solid-state drives will be felt the second half of this year.

There's no doubt that in 2011 solid-state drives (SSDs) garnered a lot of attention as the definitive answer to almost all storage performance issues. But it's more likely that 2012 will be the year where that storage aspiration turns into a reality.

The fact is that most SSDs in use today are based on consumer-grade Multi-Level Cell (MLC) technology that typically fail after a year or so, frequently taking all the data stored on them with them. The coming year, however, will see the emergence of both more affordable enterprise-class MLC technologies and newer Single-Level Cell (SLC) technologies in next-generation SSD drives.

According to Nexsan CTO Gary Watson, it is these classes of SSDs that will drive mainstream adoption of SSD technology mainly in the second half of the year. At the same time, Watson notes that most controllers and file systems have not been optimized yet for SSDs, which is something IT organizations should expect to see in the second half of the year as well.

Watson adds that SSDs will probably also increase interest in higher-end Fibre channel-based storage systems if for no other reason than the IOPs they can generate.

Ultimately, the addition of SSDs to the mainstream storage lineup means that IT organizations are going to have to give a lot more thought to how they tier data. In addition to the SSD, there is also a lot more cache memory being invoked both on the server and the storage system itself. The question that IT organizations are going to have to resolve is: What data is valuable enough to require priority access to cache memory and SSDs? This versus data that can just be stored on a secondary or even tertiary storage device.

The good news is that storage performance issues should be a lot less of a concern at the end of 2012 than they are at the start, which is a really good thing when you stop to consider the massive amounts of data that now routinely fly around the enterprise.

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