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What are the benefits of paying for SSD storage when it comes to webhosting? I know that SSDs have better read speeds is that necessarily better or is it negligible?

I have sites that use databases with php so will it really benefit me to pay extra for SSD storage? I read somewhere that SSDs increase fetching times from the db but also read stuff that are contrary to it and the fact that I can cache mysql results using apc or memcached so kind of confused, can someone shed some light please?

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It has been a while since I looked into solid state, but I will give you my experience based upon the device drivers I wrote years ago.

Generally, it depends upon the hardware, the I/O channels, and the software driver. Just as there are slower hard drives there are slower solid state drives.

Back in my device driver days, back when Digital was king, the solid state drives did not suffer from the standard latencies that standard hard drives would have to contend with. This would include the spin rate of the platter, the speed of the arm, the sensitivity of the read/write head, the size of the cache, the internal driver, and so on. For a solid state drive, most all of these considerations disappear. The memory used in solid state drives, at the time anyway, were not always the fastest available. While some were extremely fast, these cost quite a bit more. There was a heavy dependency upon the engineering of the on-board bus system and the supporting components that dictated speed. However with solid state, the I/O rate stayed consistent and did not need optimization to recover seek and read times. Finally, solid state did not generally crash.

Today, if I were buying a server, I would be looking at solid state. But I caution you to buy the best you can. They can be much faster and much more reliable.

To answer your question, I would be asking what drives the ISP uses so that you can look at seek and read times (research online) as well as ask what I/O channels they are such as SCSI, Fiber, SATA, and so on. Back when I was buying servers for my webhost business, I preferred SCSI 3 which is a very fast and reliable standard. It may be that your ISP is using SAN which mitigates most of your concerns due to striping, fibre, and fail-over. If they are using SAN, it really does not matter if the HD is solid state or not. Not to you anyway.

  • Thanks for the very elaborate answer, just wondering also if the database was on a ssd drive will that benefit at all say with even the lowest I/O speeds. – Abu Nooh Apr 15 '14 at 10:54
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    I would think so. I am very sure that solid state drives are all fast enough today and with database I/O requests often being rather small in nature as compared to other forms, it should all work out okay. I would pay attention to read and write times of the device if you can. As well, there is the I/O throughput of the device which somewhat depends upon the computer. I would not worry too much. Today's hardware is more than fast enough. Any site should perform extremely well with quality equipment which, by the way, does not have to have a brand name. – closetnoc Apr 15 '14 at 15:13
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Yes, it's a good marketing technique that has advantages for you if you actually need it. If you are doing a lot of disk access, then SSD's provide a real advantage, especially if you have a lot of traffic that generates those disk accesses. But most servers run on hardware that can handle regular HTML traffic with ease in which case spending extra for SSD drives may not be worth it.

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For a lot of small file transfers SDD would be a massively faster. SSD's are still less reliable than regular drives in terms of life span

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    I think the reliability factor depends upon the drive itself. I know of SSDs that are 30 years old and still going strong. But I have also known the bargain ones to fail after a few years just like a standard HD. Then again, I have HDs that have been running for 15-20 years without error too. So I think it all depends upon the hardware manufacturer and the quality level of the device. – closetnoc Apr 15 '14 at 15:18
  • No, they're not. SSD's generally (!) have a longer lifespan than traditional HDD's. Then again, it depends on the SSD. – William Edwards May 6 '16 at 9:55

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