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What is SSD server? What is Cloud Server? What are their advantages in terms of web hosting?

In 1956, IBM introduced the first magnetic hard disk drive (HDD) to the market. Since then, the HDD has changed little and the basic principle has remained the same. Only the hardware components have evolved, which today allows storage of several terabytes, instead of the original 5 megabytes. While the performance of most computer components has greatly improved in recent years (e.g. processors and system bus speeds), the same cannot be said for magnetic memory disks.

The accelerated processing of ever-increasing amounts of data is a real technological challenge. Experts assume that hard disks will soon be replaced by alternative storage systems. One of the modern successors to traditional hard disks is the Solid State Drive (SSD) with flash memory. These electronic storage media are becoming more and more affordable and their lifespan has also increased in recent years.

How does an SSD server work?

The acronym SSD stands for Solid State Drive because the hardware is composed of solid state drive memory (unlike ordinary hard drives where data is stored on a rapidly rotating magnetic medium). Unlike SSDs, HDDs have a multitude of detachable rotating elements. SSDs have electronic components, which pass a current between two electrodes. The flash memory stores data in the same way as a USB stick, laptop or MP3 player, and devices that work with an SSD do not need to be continuously supplied with power to support their backup functions.

The same is not true for the RAM of a PC. The information stored in the RAM (Random Access Memory) is lost as soon as the computer is no longer supplied with power. SSD prices used to be astronomical, but have become more affordable within a decade and some people are already seeing the end of the HDD. More and more web hosts are also offering hosting with SSDs.

What are the advantages of SSD server compared to HDD?

To put it simply, you could describe the Solid State Drive as an oversized USB stick. The storage process is entirely electronic. The advantage of the SSD over the traditional hard disk is the higher throughput and the shorter access time. SSDs are therefore more responsive, but they are more fragile and have a shorter lifespan. Below are the five main advantages of SSDs:

  1. Shock Resistant: Hard drives with mechanical part can be severely damaged in the event of impact and cause entire data loss. The same is not true of SSDs, thanks to the use of flash memory chips that operate by electronic pulses. This technique is characterized by great mechanical robustness and high resistance to shocks, vibrations and magnetic fields. This is why the SSD is often preferred for mobile devices, especially for laptops.
  2. Quiet: SSDs are quiet because, as explained earlier, they are not made up of moving parts. The SDD therefore mainly allows good operating silence compared to the HDD. It should be noted, however, that the HDD is getting quieter and quieter.
  3. Lighter: SSDs are smaller and lighter than HDDs. More compact, it is an ideal solution for mobile devices. SSDs are not only twice as light as their mechanical counterparts, but also have the same storage capacity.
    Energy efficient: Solid state drives also score points for being less power hungry. Since they are not made of moving moving parts but based on flash memory chips, SSDs heat up less. For a given task, SSD hard drives will therefore tend to consume less on a fixed volume of data, such as a file.
  4. Speed: The main advantage of solid state drives is their speed. As with other hard drives with flash memory chips, it is possible to access your data much faster.

SSD and servers

Previously, SSD was mostly reserved for mobile devices and computers, but now it is widespread among server components. If SDD has gained so much popularity over HDD, it is as much a concern of energy saving as it is for technical reasons. The performance differences between SSD and HDD are first and foremost when it comes to hosting. Vendors to use SSD hard drives are increasing, and the less used data is stored on traditional hard drives. The most current data which requires an elaborate storage structure is recorded on SSD by the server. The use of an SSD hard drive is primarily recommended to speed up the use of applications such as SSD databases or CRM systems.

Faster databases

By opting for a server with an SSD hard disk, database loads and accesses are much faster, especially when managing a large data flow at the same time. SSDs are generally used for databases such as MySQL or MariaDB. Fast access to databases is especially important for websites that are managed by complex CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, as their contents, such as themes and plugins, are stored in databases. Conventional backup methods are increasingly saturated in this type of operation, while SSD hard disks stand out for their speed and are therefore preferred.

This is not only an advantage for the visitors of a website, but also for the administrators, as their website is better referenced by search engines such as Google. Administrators of webshops can therefore optimise their site and obtain better traffic (a higher number of visitors) and a better conversion rate (number of visitors who carry out an action on the site, such as a registration or a purchase).

Microsoft Exchange Server is a good example to illustrate the benefits of SSD in the server environment, as this collaborative software is often used to share contacts or appointments in various work groups. In this case, the information is also stored on one or more databases. The more complex the communication structure, the more important it is to ensure that data is transmitted reliably and that data synchronisation works smoothly across all clients.

SSD servers and the cloud

More and more users do not want to give up SSDs, even in the cloud. New web hosting concepts make it possible to share SSD between physical and virtual servers. This is also known as a Storage Area Network (SAN). Virtual servers hosted in this way have a very high level of hardware redundancy. The data is not stored on a single physical hardware component, but on several hard disks. This ensures data security and availability in the event of a hardware failure.