Performance, reliability and efficiency, the three advantages of SSD storage

Storage in solid state drives or SSD (for the acronym in English of Solid-State Drive) replaces the mechanisms of traditional hard drives by chips that work with electrical impulses.

What advantages does SSD storage offer when we use it in hosting?   Better performance, more reliability and lower energy consumption, three characteristics more than valued in the development of any technological project. Especially when we talk about high concurrences and we have databases in between.

From the popular USB memories or MP3 players, storage based on SSD technology is making the leap progressively to other technological devices  (laptops, desktop computers, external hard drives, etc.), and begins to be implemented in the hosting solutions of advanced range, taking over progressively from traditional hard drives or HDD, by the acronym of Hard Disk Drive.

The HDD storage is based on mechanical heads that record data magnetically on a disk; something that, simplifying, we could compare with the traditional turntables, with heads that move on the layers of the disk to access or modify the information. However, SSD technology replaces magnetic recording with chips that record and access the data by electrical impulses, without mechanisms.

By dispensing with these moving parts, SSD storage offers greater speed of writing and reading, which translates into better performance by reducing access times to information; that is, the time it takes to locate the information before it can be read or written. In general, a solid state disk is up to ten times faster then a platter hard disk or you can have to hire hard drive service.

However, we also have to be aware that we are talking about access times measured in milliseconds. This difference may be slightly noticeable for home users, but when talking about a dynamic web project with databases or pages with a high number of concurrent visits, things change. We must multiply every millisecond difference for as many processes and queries as the system requires and, therefore, these milliseconds can significantly affect performance and make a difference. In fact, using SSD can be one of the best options to improve the performance of many IT projects.

After all, and to give an example: how many times have we not completed an online purchase because the process took too long? According to some studies, buyers are willing to wait a maximum of two seconds to load a page and 40% of users leave the page if it is not displayed within three seconds. So a second of difference is not, far from it, something banal when talking about access to a web page.

Performance improvement is not the only advantage of SSD storage. This technology also provides greater reliability in reading and recording data. Since they do not have physical mechanisms, they do not generate heat or noise, so they do not need a fan, one of the many hardware elements that can fail in the HDD; nor do vibrations that deteriorate the reading and writing processes and can generate corrupt data or the inability to access information.

And, again, that absence of mechanisms also brings another important advantage. By not having to turn and move elements, such as a head or fan, the power consumption of the SSD is much lower:  between two and three times less, depending on the process, although some studies claim that the percentage can reach 80%.

How to reduce the risk of data loss in summer

As every summer, Ondata's data recovery laboratory sees an increase in the number of breakdowns due to high temperatures and voltage peaks.
Today we tell you in a basic way how hard drives affect these two factors - heat and overvoltage -, hoping to avoid some summer disgust of loss of data by means of a simple prevention measures, such as not leaving the computer in a car in full sun, or disconnecting the plugs in case of a storm.

Your hard drive and the heat

The hard disk is affected by heat in two ways: by overheating and by possible sudden changes in temperature. The breakdowns will originate from the expansion of the mechanical parts when overheating, by its subsequent contraction when passing from heat to cold (or the opposite process when going from cold to heat), as well as by the possible condensation caused inside the disc when varying quickly its temperature.
But ... how much is "too hot" for a hard drive? At what temperature is it set when it is in operation? Do you know what the recommended temperature range for your disk is? If you are curious to know the specific data of your device, you will find it in the manufacturer's specifications, although we already anticipate that in general, the maximum acceptable temperature for a disc that is working is 55 ° C, and in some models up to 60 ° C.
Regarding the temperature being turned off (non-operating temperature), the maximum acceptable the limit goes up to 70 ° C.
Although they may appear to be very high limits, these temperatures are much lower than those that other computer components can support, such as video cards or processors.
What then is the ideal operating temperature for hard drives? It is a controversial subject, although various reports and forums place the ideal range between 25 and 40 ° C.
At what temperature is your disk while reading this blog? If you want, you can find out with the Ondata Disk Control application, which reads the disk's temperature sensors and informs you of its evolution, so you can take action if necessary. You can download the demo version of Ondata Disk Control from here.

Effects of heat and sudden changes in temperature

A very high temperature can cause the ventilation system not to cool sufficiently and the discs overheat. In modern computers, this drawback is usually minimized by a good design of the ventilation system; the biggest problems can arise if the computer is subjected to sudden changes in temperature.
For example, when we have a portable device that moves frequently between the home, the car and the office, the temperature changes are continuous. If we leave the car in the sun, an outside temperature of 35 degrees Celsius can cause more than 60 inside the vehicle. To make matters worse, in addition to the high temperature there is an added aggravating factor: how quickly it gets hot. Anyone knows that the car becomes an "oven" after being parked in the sun for hours; what is not so obvious, as some studies point out, is that the interior of a car in full sun can rise by an average of 20 degrees Celsius, in just one hour.
If from a car in the sun we take the laptop to the office or to the air-conditioned cafeteria, there will be 20, 21 or 22 degrees. This temperature would be acceptable in normal circumstances, but in our example, we would be subjecting the disk to an almost instantaneous decrease from 60 degrees of the car to 20 air conditioning, significantly increasing the possibility of a breakdown.
The hard disk has electromechanical components that are highly accurate and have to be perfectly synchronized with each other. They are prepared to operate over a wide range of temperatures, but very abrupt changes can cause some of the parts to malfunction. There may be several failures due to the mechanical problem of an expansion or reduction in physical size due to heat or cold, for example, a possible "misalignment" of the heads in the parking area, which causes damage when the disk is started.

Overvoltage: watch out for storms

Data losses due to storms are very typical of summer, although they are naturally possible throughout the year. Overvoltages caused by lightning can damage the circuits of hard drives and sometimes destroy data.
Currently, homes and offices are prepared for surges. All electrical companies have installed protection systems so that there is no breakdown and there is no danger to people. But in the event of a storm, there is a possibility that the electrical energy of a lightning strike will fall on electrical lines that are partially affected. Nothing usually happens; the protections of the lines usually absorb this electrical impact, but there may be a small overvoltage that will be transferred and will reach the homes and offices.
As is known, the computer operates at 220 volts. However, inside, most electronic components operate at very low voltage, by means of an internal power system. There are components that work at 12 volts, at 5 or less. When there is an overvoltage that manages to pass all the filters, the small internal circuits of the computer reach a much higher voltage than they are prepared to withstand. In this case, faults can occur even when the computer is switched off.

That is why the recommendation will be, especially in summer that if we are going to be absent, we should not leave the computer connected to the electrical network, but physically disconnect the cables from the plugs. Turning off the computer and disconnecting it from the socket is the best protection during a thunderstorm.

If in spite of the precautions you cannot access the data or raid data recovery service, the most prudent thing is to turn off the equipment and not try home remedies; manipulation by unskilled hands could cause fatal damage. Only a company specialized in recovering data from hard drives has qualified personnel and the necessary materials to provide a solution with guarantees. The data recovery laboratory of Ondata International makes the diagnosis of this type of fault free of charge and without obligation. 

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