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SSD vs HDD: Price Comparison

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Clearly, the debate between SDD vs HDD has been ongoing. The pricing comparison between the SSD and HDD plays a key role in enterprise storage. The venerable hard disk drive (HDD), a staple of modern enterprise storage environments and a fixture in most PCs, is being challenged by a faster yet costlier alternative, the solid-state drive (SSD).

Which is right for your data storage requirements? Keep reading to find out.

To get an in-depth analysis of a pricing comparison, see SSD vs. HDD: Seven Myths That Need Correcting.

SSD vs HDD Price and performance considerations

When it comes to price comparisons, should you choose HDD or SDD? As with many things in life, choosing one over another comes with trade-offs.

Take cars, for example. A performance car costs more than an economical daily driver. The same applies to SSDs and HDDs. Sure, both types of drives will store data, just like both types of cars will get you from point A to point B.

But one can get you there much, much faster.

A few years back, Dell examined the differences between enterprise performance SAS SSDs, enterprise value SATA SSDs and a 10K HDD. Of course, much has changed in the intervening years, but Dell's findings remain relevant in today's market.

On a per GB basis, the enterprise performance SSD cost over $30 at the time, compared to just under $20 for the enterprise value SSD and well under $5 for the 10K SAS HDD. In sequential workloads, like a media streaming server, for example, the higher the load helped reduce the cost of the enterprise performance SSD.

With a queue depth of one, the enterprise performance SSD cost $40 per megabyte per second (MB/s), a price that dropped to just over $10 per MB/s with a queue depth of 64, while delivering speeds of over 250 MB/s. The enterprise value SSD eventually settled under $10 per MB/s with speeds of over 22 MB/s while the 10K SAS HDD per MB/s can be measured in cents with speeds of over 100 MB/s.

However, the SSD-HDD value proposition was flipped when considering random access workloads, like running an exchange email server.

With a queue depth of 64 the enterprise performance SSD bests them all, with a price per IOPS (input/output operations per second) of around 10 cents while delivering over 30,000 IOPs, compared to 20 cents and 10,000 IOPS for the enterprise value SSD and 40 cents and well under 1,000 IOPS for the 10K SAS HDD.

Also see: SSD vs. HDD Performance and Reliability

SSD vs HDD: Price per GB

Now, here's a look at some SSDs and HDDs to see how they stack up in terms of price. Remember, retail prices often dip lower than the list prices set by manufacturers.

aws vs azure vs google, cloud pricing

SSD vs. HDD: TCO comparison

Of course, there's more to the cost of an SSD or HDD. Buyers must also consider the ongoing costs of operating both.

According to a 2017 whitepaper from Samsung, total cost of ownership (TCO) calculations often tip into SSD's favor when factoring in many capital and operating expenditures (capex and opex). For example, Samsung found that an SSD can consumer 62 percent less electricity than an enterprise HDD. In terms of read IOPS per watt, an SDD has up to an astonishing 179,500 percent advantage over an HDD.

This storage TCO calculator from Samsung offers IT buyers a glimpse into how the TCO of SSDs compares to HDDs in a variety of scenarios.

How to get the most bang for your (HDD and SSD storage) buck

Want to make the most out of your HDD and SSD investments? Invest your IT dollars wisely.

As noted earlier, HDDs deliver good performance at a great price in sequential workloads like media streaming. SSDs, meanwhile, make quick work out of workloads with random read and operations.

In short, buy the best drive for the job.

Want to squeeze more value out of both HDDs and SSDs, remember data compression and deduplication. They particularly help take the sting out of paying top dollar for today's high-performance flash storage systems.

Finally, look beyond the initial price tag. With careful planning and deft IT management, data center operators can save big on power and cooling costs by deploying flash-based storage systems and adding SSDs to their servers.

And remember, SSD price trends keep inching toward parity with HDD prices, but it may take years before that happens. For now, the best advice is to use HDDs and SSDs where they make the best sense for your organization's performance objectives and IT budgets.

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