There’s plenty of information floating around that will tell you how much faster an SSD is compared to your regular platter based hard drive. I personally use an SSD as the main OS drive in my Windows 7 desktop PC and just love how quickly the machine boots up and is ready for me to log in, applications open up in a flash and the whole PC just seems to race along in general.
But what about reliability?
If you asked for my, not very technical, opinion I’d say that there’s no moving parts so it must be more reliable than a normal hard disk surely! Well Tom’s Hardware has a great article on this very topic and is quite a good read where they analyse data and opinions from a wide range of people. One interesting quote from the article offers good advice for balancing performance with economy, as well as supporting the “backups are better than duplication” premise that Microsoft have chosen to advocate with Windows Home Server 2011:
…it’s really up to you to be smart about the way you deploy storage in order to get the most value from solid-state and hard drives. Of course you can’t entirely replace mechanical disks with SSDs; they’re too expensive. So rather than trying to protect data from some of the issues currently affecting SSDs by creating redundant (expensive) arrays, just make sure the information exists in multiple places. As Robin Harris at StorageMojo writes, “Forget RAID, just replicate the data three times.”
I’ve not yet had a drive failure in my Windows Home Server in over 2 years but have had a few drives fail on me over the years. And then there’s the fact that I’ve only ever had one SSD drive and it’s still working fine so can’t really comment from experience.
I’d assume that a number of our regular readers already make use of SSDs in some form or another. Some may have even gone so far as to have one or more in their WHS server. Large capacity (and cheap) SSDs would be perfect, in my opinion, for use in home servers. Just think what it would do for heat and power consumption! And there’s also the chance that they’d be more reliable. Let us know in the comments what your experience has been with SSD reliability versus mechanical drives.