All Flash Data Centres?

Will we ever see data centres where spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) have been replaced by flash hard drives (SSDs) ?

Flash memory (SSD)The answer is probably, but according to this news article it won’t be for time yet. The problem is multi faceted, but much of the big issue revolves around the cost of producing SSD flash media when compared against the same process for HDD manufacture. Hard drives of the HDD variety have been around a long time and they are mechanical devices that rotate – this means that to rotate them they have to have a constant power supply which keeps them spinning at exactly the correct speed. For data centres that have many thousands of hard disks this is a big deal as the costs of keeping the HDDs spinning is considerable. Then there is the heat issue too – thousands of rotating HDDs produce a lot of heat that has to dissipated – usually an elaborate air conditioning system is used to effectively transport the generated heat away from the the hard drives. This means more money is spent.

Helium hard drives have been developed that produced less heat and are able to store more and these are getting into data centres but their cost is higher than standard HDDs. SSDs are also made from rare earth materials so there is a finite supply which keeps the price high.

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