5 songs for SSDs

29 November 2018 by Mikey Anderson

Padlock SSD

Welcome back to another round of the data storage jukebox extravaganza. If you’re unfamiliar with the format of these posts, why not check out the past couple on managing tapes or virtualised systems before proceeding.

In this post, we’re going to investigate the wonderful world of flash data storage, specifically Solid State Drives (SSD). If you don’t know your NAND from your NVMe, don’t worry! We’ll chip away at this topic one song at a time. First-time reader? Here are some simple instructions for reading:

  • A refreshing beverage. Anything will do, but maybe something warm is best for this time of year.
  • Grab a snack. Always best to avoid getting snacky.
  • Put your feet up somewhere. Your desk will do, but building a footstool from a large pile of hard drives is a well-known way to make you look cool in front of your peers.*
  • Turn up your speakers or headphones really loud for maximum audible effect.

*We cannot be held liable if this is found to be incorrect.

Good to go? Let’s get cracking!

1.    Flash – Queen


“Flash – ah-ahh! Saviour of the Universe!”

First on the list (obviously) is this 1980 classic by Queen. About 11 years after this song was released, the first flash-based SSD hit the market in 1991. For $1,000 you could get a total data capacity of 20Mb – not exactly value for money by today’s standards!

SSDs have many benefits over their traditional hard disk drive (HDD) counterparts, but they’re mainly known for being much quicker in terms of data transfer speeds, making them useful in a number of different scenarios, from gaming to data centres.

Not all SSDs are the same, though. So you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got the right type of device for the application. For example, enterprise-level SSDs require a different standard of performance than what is required for consumer and client devices like tablets and laptops.

2.   Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen


“Travelling at the speed of light…”

Anything can happen when we’re handling the data storage jukebox, even cueing up the second helping of Queen! Okay, so your SSD isn’t going to read or write data at the speed of light, however, they do operate way faster than traditional hard drives, with some of the fastest SSDs in 2018 clocking in at around 2,700 Mb/s – that’s quick!

This level of data transfer speeds is essential for high-performance applications that require data to be read and written as quickly as possible. For example, in data centres that require rapid read/write access to data.

You just can’t get those kind of speeds with traditional spinning HDDs. Speaking of HDDs…

3.   Pressure – Muse


“I'm trapped and my back's up against the wall…”

It could have been very easy for us to go for a Queen/Bowie number here, making it three Queen songs in one post. However, we’re not that crazy, and this one by Muse does the job just fine!

SSDs have been giving HDDs a really hard time over the past few years. Not only have speeds been increasing over time, but data storage capacities are increasing too, which was traditionally one of the roadblocks to SSD adoption for use as mass storage devices.

The pressure is well and truly on for traditional spinning hard drives, especially as the costs have been tumbling over time. This is partly due to the oversupply of components, which is a trend that is set to continue throughout 2019. HDDs still seem to have their place in the market as longer-term mass data storage devices, however, SSD technology is piling on the pressure each year.

4.   Travelling without moving – Jamiroquai


“All I know is that we’re travelling without moving”.

Let’s hop over to 1996 now. Fun fact; in this same year, ATTO Technology came out with the SiliconDisk II, which was a 5.25" SCSI-3 interface RAM SSD with a 64MB-1.6GB capacity.

One of the benefits of solid state drives is that they do not contain any moving parts. This is helpful in many everyday applications and for times when physical durability important, like in laptops and mobile devices.

However, SSDs aren’t invincible and contrary to popular belief, still fail just as much as HDDs do. Without any moving parts, SSDs are more prone to electronic failure. What’s more, they also suffer from an inherent problem with the NAND memory itself – you can only write to the SSD a limited amount of times. Modern processes such as wear-leveling help to combat this challenge, though.

If all that sounds a bit weird and too technical, just pop on this funky number from Jamiroquai and get dancing!

5.   Never Forget – Take That


“Never forget where you’ve come here from.”

It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come in terms of technology. It wasn’t so long ago where SSDs were limited just to the enterprise market due to their high costs over HDDs. However, this gap has now closed significantly, making it possible for all of us to enjoy the benefits of SSD technology. It’s much more common to see SSDs in laptops and portable devices nowadays due to their speed, reduced size and power consumption, amongst many other benefits.

You might think that it’s been a long time since the days before commercially-available SSD technology, but that was really only about 15-20 years ago. The more we look at the past, the more we remember just how far we’ve actually come in terms of technology in such a short time. Who knows where we might be in the next 15 years, and even though Moore’s Law seems to be becoming obsolete these days, our bet is that data storage technology in 15 years might look like how floppy disks look to us now!

That finishes off our list of 5 songs for SSDs. Have you got any more that you’d add? Let us know by tweeting@OntrackUKIE