Can hybrid drives bring added value to the data center?

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A couple weeks ago, I posed the question: “Is there a market for a faster enterprise hard drive?” and offered up the argument that in the world of hard disk drives (HDDs) versus solid state drives (SSDs), we are faced with a good, better, best scenario without “the better.”

Then, I see this post by  on TechRepublic: “The brewing battle between hybrid and all-flash storage” and find that maybe I am not alone in thinking we need the “better.” Of course, Scott is talking at the system level, but what if you applied the same principles of hybrid systems  versus all flash systems to the storage device itself? Would the argument hold water?

Consider the simple yet effective chart in Scott’s post:

HDD only

Hybrid (HDD + SSD)

SSD only

Cost per gigabyte ($)

Very low


Very high

Cost per IOPS ($)

Very high


Very low

*IOPS = Input/Output Operations per second

Scott goes on to say, “In my opinion, the answer is to combine the best of what both the SSD and HDD worlds have to offer and create an array that leverages the benefits of solid state storage for performance while continuing to be able to rely on the massive capacity benefits inherent in HDD-based solutions.”

I agree, but I’ll go one step deeper.  What if hybrid systems were not made up of SSDs and HDDs running as separate components, but instead using simply a single component in the form of enterprise Solid State Hybrid Drives (SSHDs)?  Is it more cost effective to deploy 8 to 12 SSHDs in a hybrid system than a mix of 2 to 4 SSDs and 6 to 8 HDDs? How does the performance compare?  How does the software stack take advantage of SSHD technology? Is integration seamless?

The answers to all of these questions are to be determined, but I have to think that if SSHD in the enterprise space is anything like SSHD for laptops, there may well be a cost/performance case to be made for them.

If enterprise hybrid systems can bring added value to the data center, then the timing may be perfect for enterprise hybrid devices (SSHDs).

Related Posts:

Is there a market for a faster enterprise hard drive?

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