Solid State Drives…. Explained

solid-state-drivesUntil recently most PCs and laptops were equipped with Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) to store your computer files. Think of a HDD as similar to DVD – it works by reading/writing data onto a spinning disc that holds your data. Like a DVD, HDDs are “non-volatile” which means the data doesn’t disappear when power is turned off.

Introducing Solid State Drives (SSDs) – a relatively new technology that also stores your computer files, but in a different way to the traditional HDD. A SSD is not a spinning disc. Similar to your USB drive SSDs are a series of interconnected flash memory chips. What differentiates SSDs from your USB drive is the type and speed of the memory – SSDs are much faster and far more expensive.

The proliferation of Netbooks, Ultrabooks and Ultraportables has helped sales volumes of Solid State Drives (SSD) and if you are shopping around for a new PC or laptop you will probably have the choice of HDD or SSD. So which drive is right for you?

The benefits of SSD over HDD

Improved Speed. The big benefit of SSD over HDD is performance. A SSD-equipped PC will boot in seconds, certainly under a minute. A hard drive requires time to speed up to operating specs, and will continue to be slower than an SSD during normal operation. Performance varies depending on model and environment but a 2x speed improvement is typical.

Durability. SSDs have no moving parts so risk of failure is much lower. Heat build-up is minimised and flash-based drives are inherently more resistant to vibration and shock. SSDs are more likely to survive if you drop your laptop bag or your system is shaken about while it’s operating. If you’re rough on your equipment, a SSD is recommended.

Power draw. SSDs are typically more power efficient leading to improvements in battery life when compared to HDDs. They are also smaller than HDDs which is why they are better suited to thinner and lighter Ultrabooks.

Less noise. Even the quietest HDD will emit some noise when in use from the drive spinning or the read arm moving back and forth. Faster hard drives will make more noise than slower ones. SSDs make virtually no noise at all because they are non-mechanical.

The limitations of SSD versus HDD

Cost. Although prices are dropping, SSDs are still far more expensive than HDDs. For a basic 1TB internal 2.5-inch drive you’ll pay about $85 for an HDD but an SSD is a whopping $600 (as of July 2014).

Capacity. SSDs drive space is restricted compared to HDDs. SSDs currently top out at 1TB of drive space but you rarely find Solid State Drives with more than 256GB of storage. Most HDDs are 500GB+ and it’s not uncommon to see systems with 1TB or 2TB HDD storage.

Longevity. SSDs wear out over time because each cell in a flash memory bank has a limited number of times it can be written and erased. However unless you are a video editor you are more likely to discard the system for obsolescence before you start running into drive errors.

Which is right for you?

In summary the traditional Hard Disk Drive is still the way to go if you are limited on budget, you need lots of disk space for your downloads or if you are a video editor.

Solid State Drives are great if you are always on the road or if you demand the best performance out of your system. You’ll pay more but many think the extra expense is worth it.

Hybrid Cloud: a solution for your IT?

cloudThe technology landscape is changing and we are being told the Cloud is going to dominate the future of IT. There are compelling reasons to move to Cloud products that offer us cost savings and the ability to scale.

What is Hybrid?

Not everything can or should go to the Cloud just yet which is why you might have heard of the term: “Hybrid”. This means that you still have a server in your business to do some of the heavy lifting but you also have some of your solutions in the Cloud. A good example of this is running your ERP or Finance systems in-house with your email and intranet in the Cloud.

What goes to the Cloud, and what stays?

To help you decide which parts to keep in-house and which parts to migrate to the Cloud, consider the following:

Capability of the technology – If the Cloud technology now offers all of the features you require for a particular application then Cloud is a real consideration. There are many technologies that are not yet ready for Cloud.

Perception of security – Does the Cloud provider meet your requirements for security, privacy and data sovereignty? Only put data into the Cloud if you are confident that it is protected.

Cost of implementation – Will adopting the Cloud solution have an impact on the implementation cost or could it reduce the need for investment in internal infrastructure?

Cost of management – To really assess the value of a Cloud solution it is best to consider its costs over a 4-year period and compare that with the cost of an in-house, server-based alternative. Although many Cloud solutions keep getting cheaper as more people use them, this will not always be the case. Use today’s price as a baseline for comparing the costs.

HP August Deals

Trade up to HP ProLiant Servers, it will be the smartest move you’ll ever make!

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Click for more information on HP ProLiant Servers

 

 
From now, until  August 31, 2014, HP is giving you additional ways to  stretch your IT budget and achieve more with less. Take advantage of these offers  and save*.

HP ProLiant Tower Server Memory Bonus Offer

Offer 1
Tower Solution  

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HP ProLiant ML350p Gen8 Tower Server powered by Intel® Xeon® processors
1x Intel® Xeon® E5-2620v2
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HP ProLiant Rack Server Double Memory Bonus Offer

Offer 2
Rack Solution  

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HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 Rack Server powered by Intel® Xeon® processors
1x Intel® Xeon® E5-2609v2 1P
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HP ProLiant Windows 2012 r2 Pre-installed Bundles
Bringing together the world’s leading server hardware and software

With Windows Server 2012 R2, you can optimize the performance of your most important workloads, as well as protect against service outages by using robust recovery options. To reduce complexity and cost, you can take advantage of comprehensive automation capabilities, as well as the storage and networking virtualisation technologies built into Windows Server 2012 R2.

To learn more click here.

HP MicroServer Gen8
HP MicroServer Gen8 with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Pre-Installed
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HP ProLiant ML310e
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  • HP 8GB (2x4GB) Memory
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  • Windows 2012 R2 Standard Preinstalled
HP ML350e
HP ML350e v2 Gen8 E5-2407v2 with Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Pre-Installed
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HP ML350p
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Best-in-class performance with maximum expandability
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  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Preinstalled
 


SmartMemory, exclusive to HP

HP SmartMemory is for HP ProLiant Gen8 servers powered by Intel® Xeon® processors.

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HP Technology Services - Hardware is only half the story
 

Virtualisation: explained

DCWhat is virtualisation?

Virtualisation is the technology that has been quietly driving the cloud computing revolution and is now gaining recognition in its own right as a way to improve business productivity and efficiency.

“Virtualising” allows servers, networks and applications to run independent of their underlying hardware systems. This technology is now seen as a way for businesses to create a more secure IT environment while offering flexibility to workers at the same time.

You can virtualise your servers, storage devices, network devices and desktops. What all of these technologies have in common is the ability to run systems independent of their physical hardware layers. For example, with desktop virtualisation, a user’s computer or handheld device would not run its own copies of applications, but rather a virtual instance of those applications running on a VM. To the user, it appears as if everything is running locally – there is no difference.

The virtualisation model is especially attractive to IT managers in BYOD environments. Employees could easily access instances of applications and data on a variety of devices without needing to store anything locally, making access secure and compliant with business policies.

The benefits of virtualisation

The argument in favour of virtualisation can be convincing. Instead of having to maintain, update and troubleshoot separate applications across numerous machines, a virtualised environment would allow an organisation to install and manage all data, applications and updates from one central location.

As a case in point, consider what happens when an employee loses or accidentally damages their laptop or device. Your IT team must then work to restore all the data and applications that once resided on the device – a process that could take hours, even under the best circumstances.

If the employee had been running a virtualised desktop on their device instead, then a spilled coffee does not equate to instant disaster. Instead, your IT team would simply issue a new laptop to the employee, who would then connect to the VM where everything is already running and ready to go. Your employee could be back to work in minutes, rather than hours.

Most organisations have yet to embrace virtualisation

According to a 2013 study, 40 per cent of office workers stated they had never heard of desktop virtualisation, and 80 per cent of decision makers said they didn’t know whether or not they would benefit from the use of virtualisation. Conversely, 73 per cent of workers said the ability to access work files remotely would be important to their jobs.

What these findings reveal is that there is still a big knowledge gap in many organisations regarding virtualisation even though it could benefit many employees by allowing them to work and securely access files from anywhere.

Making virtualisation efficient for your business

Some experts point out that between the costs of having to maintain powerful servers and multiple desktop licences virtualisation can remain out of reach for some organisations. To address the perception of virtualisation being an expensive, niche technology, some providers are working to create low-cost enterprise solutions which can deliver Windows applications as secure mobile services.

To determine whether or not virtualisation is right for your business, you need to look at how much control you want over your environment, your business’s security requirements and your budget. But as more people learn about the ability of virtualisation to provide a secure yet flexible IT environment, this technology is sure to make more of an appearance in the workplace in the years ahead.