Q

What should I consider when using SSD cloud?

Using solid-state in the cloud can boost performance, but first be sure you look past cost per gigabyte and are aware of any constraints from providers.

As with any storage, but in particular with solid-state drives, first and foremost, look beyond the cost per gigabyte. So, in other words, you can find cloud storage at a penny per gigabyte or less, per month, and you might find solid-state storage at 70 cents per gigabyte per month.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that with solid-state drives (SSDs), you might get storage at a really good price per gigabyte, but how many IOPS are you going to be allowed to use per month -- how many individual input/output operations, and of what size? Some SSD cloud providers will give you a good price on solid-state capacity, but they may have limits on how many IOPS or how much performance you can actually get out of that device in a given month.

Having said that, you should look beyond the impression that because the drives are solid-state, the storage is going to be super-fast for clouds. Will it, in fact, help your applications? If your applications are sitting on-premises but you're talking to SSD cloud storage somewhere else, you have data moving over the network.

So, you have to think in terms of localities. Maybe you need that SSD on-site for your applications that are going to be sitting in the cloud and are actually going to be running on a cloud compute instance. That's where having an SSD cloud starts to come into play.

The big thing with solid state is that if you're going to get the performance you want, your applications need to be close to where the SSD is. You need to be concerned with location, but you also need to understand what the limits and constraints are and how much performance you can get for solid-state in the cloud.

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This was first published in August 2014

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