How Should a Business Store Data?

In today’s information-heavy age, businesses are having to store an unprecedented amount of data, meaning the correct storage solution is more important than ever. When it comes to physical drives, there are three main solutions we’re going to discuss here; hard disk drives (HDDs), solid state drives (SSDs) and solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs). All three of these storage solutions offer advantages as well as drawbacks, in terms of easy of use, speed and how easy it is to undertake data recovery. 

Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)

The established solution, tried and tested, the traditional magnetic hard disk drive has been around for decades and remains perhaps the go-to choice for storing data for businesses and home users alike. Data is stored magnetically on a disk, which is spun at speed. HDDs are affordable, and offer a cost-effective price-per-gigabyte. HDD storage costs a fraction of SSD and SSHD storage, and are available up to a whopping 10 terabytes. However, the HDD consumes more power than its flash cousin, and creates more noise. Plus, because they have moving parts, they can be damaged easily in the event of a fall, or even in some cases, a slight knock. Furthermore, compared to the newer technology found in SSDs and SSHDs, they lack speed. The upside is, though, that data recovery is very advanced in hard drives. Hard disk drives can also be combined to form RAID systems, creeating a more powerful, speedy or secure solution, depending on the RAID configuration you choose.

Solid State Drives (SSDs)

Solid state drives, which we've discussed previously,  are increasingly being used in place of hard disk drives due to the numerous benefits they boast over their magnetic counterparts. SSDs use flash memory chips to store data, quite like USB memory sticks. They allow rapid access of data at a tiny fraction of the size, allowing manufacturers to produce increasingly thin laptops and tiny desktops. SSDs allow for pretty much instantaneous access to your data, and the lack of moving parts means that they can access data without using much power, or creating noise. SSDs can also absorb impacts without causing data loss, unlike HDDs. However, SSDs are more than five times more expensive per gigabyte of data than HDDs, and to date, have nowhere near the maximum capacity. Data recovery from SSDs requires precision, as the NAND chips need to be interrogated directly. 

Solid State Hybrid Drives (SSHDs)

A relatively new phenomenon that we’ve written about before, SSHDs are a dual-format solution that combine HDD and SSD storage into one drive. Essentially, the files that need to be accessed quickly are stored in the SSD part, and data that doesn’t is stored on magnetic platters. This offers the speed of SSDs at a fraction of the cost, and with a much higher capacity due to incorporating an HDD component. But because of this, they don’t offer the same protection against physical shock as SSDs do. It has been said that SSHDs offer the 'worst of both worlds' when it comes to data recovery, as they can suffer head crashes. 

What’s the Best Solution?

If you’re a small business, willing to trade off performance for a lower cost, then an HDD is best for you. This might also be the best option if your business needs to store large quantities of data, and don't have a budget to deal with potentially costly data recovery. If you’re a high-end business where instantaneous access to your data is crucial, then an SSD may be your best bet. SSDs are also effective for moving data, if that’s what your business requires. They are, however, still prone to damage and data recovery from SSDs is still in development. Essentially, SSHDs offer the best, and the worst, of both worlds. 


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