This is the era of the solid state drive (SSD) in data storage: SSDs run many data center storage arrays, and further improvements to them promise greater speed and storage capacity.
Although bandwidth, workload balancing, and cooling limit the efficiency of SSDs, companies in the SSD market are working to decrease those roadblocks.
See below to learn all about the storage technology and companies that make up the growing SDD market:
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Solid-State Drive Market
The solid state drive market provides enterprise solutions, such as power for data storage systems and high-performance computing.
The SSD market’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected to be 14.94% between 2020 and 2025, according to the market research firm Shibuya Data Count.
Axel Hernborg, CEO of Tripplo, expects the Asia-Pacific region to be a major driver of growth in the SSD market over the next three to five years. He also believes competition between major providers will continue to fuel the development of faster drives.
“Asia Pacific is expected to lead the SSD market in terms of revenue, volume, and growth rate throughout the projected period,” Hernborg said. “One of the most noticeable market developments is the consolidation of the storage business. Similarly, solid-state drive companies collaborate with rivals to produce technologically superior goods and gain a competitive edge. The market’s primary trend is the development of higher-capacity SSDs.”
Flash solid-state drives in particular are heavily popular for high-performance storage: companies like Pure Storage and NetApp offer all-flash arrays for hot data.
SSD Form Factors
2.5″ Form Factor (U.2)
The 2.5″ form factor, also known as the U.2, is the oldest SSD in use. Enterprise 2.5″ drives are either 7, 9, or 15 millimeters in height; deeper drives often have more space for cooling.
M.2 Form Factor
M.2s are a popular SSD choice: Major SSD players like Samsung and Western Digital sell some of the top Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) SSD drives in M.2 form factors. They snap into a computer motherboard, making them useful for small-scale computing. M.2 is the most popular form factor for NVMe SSDs; 22 mm wide x 80 mm long (2280) is the most common size.
Due to high thermal demands, M.2 form factors aren’t the best choice for large-scale enterprise data center computing. However, M.2 drives hold many of the top spots in the SSD market. Samsung in particular produces a range of high-speed NVMe M.2 SSD drives.
Enterprise and Data Center Standard Form Factor (EDSFF)is a newer SSD form than U.2 and M.2. It’s specifically designed for data center-level computing. The EDSFF, which has three different designs, has greater capacity and density than other form factors, improving thermal handling and airflow capabilities for better cooling.
Benefits of SSDs
- Durability: Because solid-state drives are not spinning-disk nor mechanical technologies, they are not prone to mechanical failure or breakage. Although they can fail, there are drive repair technologies for SSDs too.
- Increased speed: SSDs transmit data much more quickly than hard disk drives (HDDs). Speed differences fluctuate greatly, but a solid-state drive can transmit data anywhere from five to 20 times faster than an HDD.
- Space optimization: All-flash arrays, or solid-state arrays, are more portable, because SSDs are smaller than HDDs. Their comparative size also means they optimize data center space better.
- Reduced energy consumption: SSDs consume less energy than their disk counterparts.
SSD Use Cases
Solid state drives combine the best of both worlds—storage and high-performance computing. They aren’t an archive storage solution, because they cost too much for little-used data, but they provide secondary storage for data that enterprises need to access quickly.
Many SSD arrays in data centers are highly scalable. “Scaling the FlashArray//X to meet our storage needs as we grow couldn’t be simpler,” said one engineer in the government industry in a Gartner Peer Insights review of Pure Storage. “Not having to worry about replacing our storage and migrating data every 5 years or so is such a great relief and allows us to focus on other areas.”
Using flash storage allows enterprises to decrease their environmental footprint, since all-flash arrays provide more storage in a smaller space. A network engineer using NetApp’s All-Flash FAS (AFF) platform found that it significantly helped storage performance: “We gained an additional 20-30k max IOPS load,” they wrote in a Gartner Peer Insights review. “The controllers allowed more throughput than before and we shrank the array size from 10U to 2U all while increasing the capacity of the entire array.”
These are some of the top vendors in the solid-state drive market:
- Western Digital