By: Jennifer Schuler
Whether you are looking for storage for personal pictures and home movies, or need capacity to store large amounts of images for your business, there are many options available. There is no shortage of online storage places!
One factor that may affect the storage options you can choose from is your computer model and what it can handle. The more space you need, the more gigabytes for your hard drive you will need. Additionally, the storage option you choose will not necessarily offer a large volume of storage space and functionality. Google Drive (GOOG, Fortune 500), Drop Box, Apple iCloud (AAPL, Fortune 500), Microsoft Sky Drive (MSFT, Fortune 500), Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500), and other cloud storage services have various limits on the total storage capacity they allow as well as the maximum size for any uploaded file. The more storage capacity you need, the bigger the expense.
One helpful resource when you are doing comparison shopping is the CloudPro website (http://www.cloudpro.co.uk/). By entering the name of the storage device you want to research into the Search box, you will be provided with an article which basically does the comparison shopping for you! A particularly helpful article from the site is, “Best cloud storage 2013: which one is the best?” by Stuart Andrews, June 25, 2013 (http://www.cloudpro.co.uk/iaas/cloud-storage/4723/best-cloud-storage-2013-which-one-best). It provides a wealth of information which can be easily sifted through and understood to find which storage option best suits your small business needs.
In this three-part series, we will look at several key features, as well as advantages and drawbacks, of some of the most popular storage options – in a nutshell! At the end of this point-by-point analysis, a “verdict” will be given as to how a particular storage option may or may not benefit you and your business.
In Part I of this series, we take a close look at three of those options, beginning with the basic hard drive.
1) Storage Hardware (a.k.a. “Hard Drive”)
- The hard drive has been the default storage component in desktop and laptop PCs for decades.
- They are generally reliable and relatively inexpensive comparatively.
- The fastest hard drives can read and write data at about 200MB per second and access data in a few milliseconds.
- Hard drives don’t perform nearly as well as solid-state drives, or even as hybrid products will do in most situations.
- Hard drives are not as durable as a solid-state drive. If you drop a system or laptop containing a traditional hard-disk drive, you have a very real chance of corrupting your data.
Verdict: Hard drives are best suited to users who need vast amounts of storage and aren’t as concerned about achieving peak system performance. If you're an everyday PC user who sticks mostly to email, Web browsing, and basic document editing, a standard hard drive should suit you fine.
2) Solid-State Drives
- Solid-state drives are similar to hard drives in how they connect to a system and store files.
- Since they use NAND flash memory, no mechanical parts or magnetic bits are involved.
- They deliver much better performance, and they are the fastest storage option available.
- SSDs can also access data much more quickly – the fastest achieving 550-MBps (or higher) transfers that essentially saturate the SATA interface; and their typical access times are a fraction of a single millisecond.
- They are a durable storage system.
- Because they have no moving parts, solid-state drives aren’t susceptible to damage or degraded performance from vibrations or movement. Their durability tops the traditional hard-disk.
- Solid-state drives are much more expensive than hard drives in terms of cost per gigabyte.
- Storage capacity is relatively small compared to that of hard drives.
- The performance of an SSD is affected by how full the drive may be.
Verdict: If you do not typically store high amounts of data and are looking more for speed, performance and durability, this is likely your best storage option.
3) Hybrid Hard Drives
- Hybrid hard drive capacity can be blended with solid-state drive speeds by placing traditional rotating platters and a small amount of high-speed flash memory on a single drive.
- Hybrid storage products have cost, capacity, and manageability as their top advantages.
- HHDs tend to cost slightly more than traditional hard drives, however they are far less expensive than SSDs.
- When writing new data or accessing infrequently used bits, hybrid products perform just like a standard hard drive. On the down side, new hybrid drives have a "break-in period" while the software learns which data to cache – therefore, they are somewhat more difficult to configure.
Verdict: If you don’t want the responsibility of managing multiple volumes, or you don’t constantly work with new data, a hybrid drive can be a great option to improve system performance. You will not have to give up any storage capacity to gain system performance, nor will you have to deal with using separate solid-state and hard-disk drives to achieve it.
To conclude Part I of this article series, all hard drives will fail eventually – the number of hours of “life” a drive has will be listed on the drive itself, or appear in the literature materials or manufacturer website.
The best storage protection you can get to ensure that your valuable business files and information are sufficiently and consistently backed up is to use the Cloud – no matter what technology you have in place.
In Part Two of this three-part series, we will examine four other storage options and provide you with additional information to help you make the best choice for your business’ storage needs. Be sure to contact us at Provident Technology with any questions!