When optimizing database queries, database administrators will toil away designing better software solutions in an effort to reduce bottlenecks at the database layer. Many organizations that host their own database platform have the data stored in RAID arrays that aid in parallelism, capacity, and redundancy. Hard drives are really inexpensive these days, and adding them into a RAID array becomes a cost-effective storage solution. High-performance read and write operations tend to diminish with RAID setups when the database is hit with a massive load. Some database administrators have opted for putting some, if not all, of the database in RAM, for extremely fast reads and writes. Driven by the gadget and netbook market, the dropping price andincreased performance of solid state drives continues on its trend, and is becoming more of a viable hard drive disk replacement for database server usage.
Solid state drives offer many advantages for database administrators. The seek time alone could potentially shave seconds off of queries. For a major query that took many seconds to run, now takes a tenth of a second to run, because of the difference in seek times from a solid-state based drive to a platter-based drive.
Historically, database administrators have shied away from solid-state drives because of rumblings of drive death. Depending on your use case, having many writes tends to degrade solid state drives over time. However, newer drives use improved algorithms that diminish the drive failures. Also, another great thing about solid state drives is that if they do fail, it will be a failure to write. Reads will still work, so drive failure in the case of solid state drives means that all data will not be lost.
Cheaper drives will have more capacity because they use“multi-level cell” (MLC) technology that allows more data to be stored in an area because of the physics involved in solid-state memory. Enterprise-level disks tend to employ“single level cell” (SLC), which means less capacity per cell, but it is more reliable in that it does not excessively “exercise” the drive.
Upgrading your existing infrastructure storage hardware to include a front-facing, data-serving, speed-optimized database can dramatically improve performance. So long as you purchase enterprise-ready solid state drives, the gains will be immediate and apparent.