Feeds

Will hybrid SSD/HDD products succeed?

Solid products or flash in the pan?

The essential guide to IT transformation

Comment Toshiba is mulling over a combined flash drive and spinning disk product. Will such a hybrid SSHD succeed or is it doomed to fail?

Zsolt Kerekes of StorageSearch, who follows the SSD market closely, thinks it would fail if brought to market. He said: "I've always thought that 2.5-inch hybrids (SSD + HDD) were a waste of space - ever since the idea surfaced. It doesn't matter who makes them."

His reasoning is that "the volume market for these would be in enterprise arrays - but you get much better results by mixing and matching genuine SSDs and genuine HDDs with an ASAP SSD type of controller (or human tuning) and at much lower cost".

An ASAP controller is, literally, an As-Soon-As-Possible controller, a term used by Kerekes to signify a controller "which enables users to get usable speedups from (separate) SSD caches running in tandem with HDD arrays in minutes or hours without human hot spot tuning". The problem area is identifying data hot spots quickly enough and moving them from the HHD component to the SSD component of the drive. ASAP controllers do this automatically.

An example of such a controller is Dataram's XcelaSAN.

Kerekes says that: "The mythical consumer market for earlier hybrids was killed by Vista. Nowadays notebook buyers can afford to buy 100 per cent SSDs - and if 3-bit MLC (multi-level cell) SSDs work the price/capacity slope will tip more in SSD's favor."

Currently 3-bit MLC has slower access speed and a shorter working life than 2-bit MLC which is, in turn, exceeded in speed and working life by single-level cell (SLC) flash. If suppliers can solve the 3-bit MLC issues this means that enterprise SSD buyers could and would, in his view, buy 3-bit MLC SSDs separately from hard disk drives. They would simply replace spinning drives with solid state drives for storing fast-access data.

Kerekes thinks one kind of hybrid drive will be popular: "On the other hand, what I call fat flash SSDs; flash with a massive RAM cache, are popular hybrids and do meet real needs for apps speed-ups." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.