Are the Solid-State Drive Supported on Linux?

by on December 17, 2008 · 9 comments· LAST UPDATED December 17, 2008

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A solid-state drive (SSD) is a data storage device that uses solid-state memory to store persistent data. A SSD emulates a hard disk drive interface, thus easily replacing it in most applications. An SSD using SRAM or DRAM (instead of flash memory) is often called a RAM-drive.

I've done a little research on SSD and it is available on various sizes such as 32G, 64G or upto 2TB. I'm looking to get SATA SSD in our data center. It does clearly offer a few advantages:

  • No Spin Up - Faster statup and operation.
  • Fast Disk I/O - Faster Data Access - fast random access for reading, as there is no read/write head to move. Extremely fast write I/O.
  • Low Latency - Extremely low read latency times.
  • No Noise - a lack of moving parts makes SSDs completely silent.
  • High Reliability - High mechanical reliability, as the lack of moving parts almost eliminates the risk of mechanical failure. Also, ability to endure extreme shock, high altitude, vibration and extremes of temperature: once again because there are no moving parts.

Personally, I think SSD drivers are still not there for server usage. Price is still a big factor too. Sure disk I/O is great on SSD, but price per GB is not. BTW, Linux dose support SSD.

Have you tried out SSD in a production environment? I'd love to hear your thoughts on SSD before I place an order for our data center for testing purpose. Any opinions on the matter?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 blink4blog December 17, 2008 at 2:54 pm

i wonder if Linux recognize it. should be treated as sata right?

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2 nixCraft December 17, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Yes it should recognize as SATA / SCSI device.

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3 Jeff Schroeder December 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm

We use them in non-critical write intensive database servers (believe it or not). Our database application is write heavy and very light on reads. We had to use MyISAM because it does inserts faster than INNODB.

MyISAM doesn’t let you tune the memory usage of mysql very much and we were seeing mysql swapdeath a server with 64G of ram. Switching the disks to solid state from fibrechannel allowed us to switch the tables over to INNODB and still have good enough write throughput. Now we can tune the innodb memory usage and keep the server from crashing all day.

The intel SSDs from lsilogic are really good.

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4 nixCraft December 17, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Jeff,

Excellent, I was looking for this kind of information only. Appreciate your post!

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5 Luqman December 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Sounds interesting, I’ve read in the news early this year, that EMC is considering shipping SAN/NAS arrays with SSDs and that each disk won’t exceed 80 Gigs due to the price factor, I’ll be granted if you keep us posted .

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6 Harshad December 18, 2008 at 8:10 am

SSD is soon to replace the drives even in EMC Arrays, initially the cost which i came to know is 1500 USD per drive but it will come down with time.

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7 nixCraft December 18, 2008 at 9:30 am

@Luqman

Will do.

@ Harshad,
Let us hope so it will come down.

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8 Brad Crooks December 18, 2008 at 11:28 am

It depends what you want to do with the SSD. If you are looking at using as Cache then DRAM is the way to go.

With flash, the 800 pound gorilla that no one except us seems to talk about is garbage collection.

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9 A. van der Velde December 18, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Hi,

SSD’s do a great job, but still are relativly expensive.
Use them for intensive work, like database servers, stats, audio editing, or video editing. For instance in a RAID 10 setup.
You will be amazed! Even with just one SSD.

Another advantage is the low power consumption.

We have several machines with Mtron SSD’s in a production environment.
Even some of our laptops and desktops use them. Just for fun.
Operations that took several hours, like stats, are done in a fraction of the time. The load of database servers dropped from near max to allmost zero.

FYI: We were allready using SSD’s (and enthousiast about them) before becoming a Mtron SSD dealer.

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