The standard hard drive has been the data storage workhorse of business computing for years. Virtually every computer and server in your company will have a hard drive inside it, which is used to store your files on a small magnetic disk.
Hard drives are cheap, reliable and reasonably fast. But could the emergence of solid state drives (SSDs) spell the end for the hard drive?
What is a solid state drive?
Like hard drives, SSDs are a way to store data on your computer. They look very similar to hard drives, and in fact it usually only takes a few minutes swap a computer’s hard drive for an SSD.
SSDs use microchips to store data. The technology is that same as that used in digital camera memory cards and USB memory sticks. Unlike hard drives, SSDs have no spinning or moving parts, giving them a number of advantages:
- SSDs are much faster. Hard drives have to ‘spin up’ before they can read or write your data, and they have to locate that data on the magnetic disk. With no moving parts, SSDs can find and transfer the data much more quickly.
- Solid state drives are more robust. When dropped or subjected to a sudden shock, they are less likely than hard drives to drop in performance or fail altogether.
- SSDs use less power. Solid state drives contain no power-hungry motors – meaning that when used in laptops, they can make a noticeable difference to overall battery life.