What is Solid-State Storage? | Tintri

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What is Solid-State Storage?

Solid-state storage (SSS) are flash memory storage devices architected to house data without reading or writing on rotating disks like hard disk drives (HDD) do. SSS is non-volatile and accesses data faster than traditional rotating platter storage. Storing data electronically rather than magnetically, SSS flash media contains no moving parts for faster data transfer and swift input/output (I/O). SSS offers better data integrity, consumes far less energy, and is more resilient than HDD.

Different types of solid-state storage flash media

Solid-state storage (SSS) devices have been evolving since the late 1980s. Today there are several types of SSS media from drives small enough to fit in the palm of your hand to all-flash arrays within data centers that run entire global enterprises.

SSS USB flash drive: Used to move data, files, and applications from one personal computer to another, solid state USB flash drives transfer information almost instantly. Connecting to computers by way of USB ports, flash drives are plug and play devices, so there’s no need to download any software or drivers before using them. Also known as a thumb drive, pen drive, memory stick or jump drive, these incredibly portable storage devices have made readable/writeable CDs, DVDs and other archaic storage formats completely obsolete. SSS flash drives can be purchased just about anywhere in storage sizes from 4 gigabytes (GB) to 1 terabyte (TB), and range in price from about $5–$950.

Flash memory and micro flash memory cards: Numerous devices, including smartphones, Apple laptops and desktops, all brands of personal computers (PCs), digital cameras, MP3 players, printers, tablets, servers and all-flash drives have ports for flash memory cards. Often referred to as secure digital cards (SD cards), these solid state devices have no moving parts. And, like USB flash drives, they transfer information from machine to machine. As non-volatile, electronically erasable programmable read only memory (EEPROM) components, flash memory cards and micro cards can be repeatedly erased, reprogrammed, and rewritten to without being removed.

Solid state drive (SSD): As with other flash devices discussed above, SSDs do not have any moving parts. They are extremely robust, tolerating extreme temperatures, shock and vibration from natural disasters, and even being dropped. SSDs are flash-based and offer tremendous longevity. A quality manufactured, high-performance SSD will use less than one-half or even one-third of the energy required to run a hard disk drive (HDD). Initially, SSDs were used to replace HDDs in desktop and laptop computers to speed up processing. Thanks to dropping price points, high endurance, superior performance, enhanced reliability and improved lifespans, SSDs are now being utilized in data centers and for cloud storage. Today, single level cell (SLC) SSDs offer multiple solutions for enterprise use. Offering lightning-fast write speeds, higher program and erase cycles and much lower energy consumption, SLC SSDs are today's best-in-class option for enterprise.

Solid state arrays

A true solid state array (SSA) is a dedicated all-flash storage array that has never been configured with any HDDs. In addition, an authentic SSA will have its own operating system (OS) as well as its own proprietary data management application(s) which have been provisioned specifically for SSS technology only. 

The IT and DevOps companies that have made the best SSAs in the world have been ranked as Gartner Magic Quadrant Visionaries—and the Tintri VMstore T5000 series was among the top-named SSAs by Gartner. But let’s take a closer look at what makes a truly exceptional, diverse and agile SSA:

  • The ability to provide a simple user interface (UI) so that all data center employees can easily interface with your SSA without an IT degree or any long-term background or education  
  • The availability of a dedicated platform for administrators to use with ease whether the venture they work for is small, medium, large or global in scale  
  • A way to guarantee the performance of applications and verify data about them on one screen and with ease  
  • Virtual machine (VM) level management so IT staff and developers can easily execute operations such as replication, cloning and snapshots  
  • The ability to interface with a universal management platform that controls all other aspects of the enterprise cloud, other storage types and other data centers  The capability to handle virtual server infrastructure (VSI), virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and private cloud deployments

How SSS is taking over enterprise storage

So much has evolved since the deployment of SSS within the enterprise storage arena. Because there are no moving parts to break, skip, overheat, cause latency or otherwise fail within the data center, solid state options have revolutionized both physical and virtual storage. SSDs mean the end of pricey, behemoth cache memory. 

Say goodbye to backup power supplies needed in the event of memory loss caused by random access memory (RAM) outages. Instead of constantly worrying about HDD storage and cache losses, you can enjoy reliable memory and storage with SSDs—even when the power goes out for hours or longer. In addition, SSDs in your data center will mean far fewer latency events. And, when you use the Tintri Global Center, you'll be able to find the root of that latency within nanoseconds. SSS disks simply don't fail anywhere near as often, making them the clear choice when you're looking for long term reliability.

Hybrid enterprise storage: don’t kill your HDDs yet

When you employ the use of SSS as part of your data center, you don't have to scrap your traditional storage. Tintri makes it possible for you to pull together both forms of storage in a hybrid configuration that can all be managed from one easy-to-use OS and UI. 

Within enterprise storage, SSS options may cost more than what you're ready to spend. But, when you use SSDs within a larger hybrid storage array and couple this with intelligent software that can send more active files to your SSD and less active files to your HDD, you've created an ideal combination of storage to support your growing venture.