Microsoft mandates SSD drives for its computers

The consumer solid state drive market is still developing, as the average user continues to weigh the performance benefits of the technology against its increased cost over traditional data storage solutions. However, businesses of all sizes have increased their adoption of SSD drives to reduce bottlenecks and provide a solid foundation to launch their mission-critical applications and software. A report conducted by IHS iSuppli earlier this year predicted that SSD shipments would grow to account for 40 percent of the hard disk drive market by 2016, ZDNet reported. 

As businesses continue to value operational performance and speed, IT decision makers will increasingly turn to SSD drives to at least provide one component of their data storage solution. In fact, one major corporation has already fully committed to SSD technology. As reported by Lifehacker Australia, Microsoft officials have decided to mandate the use of SSD drives in most computers operated by its employees. The company reportedly made the switch because traditional hard drive solutions presented longer launch times for critical applications, which caused a great deal of frustration among staff members and contributed to a reduction of their productivity. 

Microsoft Premier Field Engineer Matthew Reynolds discussed the disparate performance witnessed in various data storage devices at the recent TechEd North America 2013 convention. Reynolds and his team found that SSD drives outperformed hard disk drives regardless of their disc spin speed. In contrast, 7200 rpm and 5400 rpm hard drives were more likely to experience boot time delays when attempting to launch a program. 

"As a result, you generally can't get a machine at Microsoft without an SSD, because we believe it affects productivity," Reynolds said.

Balancing performance with cost
A recent report from market analyst firm Gartner agreed that SSD devices provide superior performance compared with other available options, particularly when deployed in service of mission-critical applications.

"The benefits of SSDs are immediately visible to users as a means to improve application performance by reducing electromechanical HDD latencies," the report stated. "In addition, the ROI of SSD performance benefits is immediately apparent and measurable, especially when the applications using the SSDs are high-profile, revenue-generating services. Installing faster components, such as SSDs, into storage systems and servers helps IT departments avoid outlays for time-consuming projects that require specialist application software and infrastructure performance-tuning skills."

However, the report concluded that the high cost of SSD technology would likely prohibit many organizations from relying solely on these devices for their data storage needs. The firm's researchers suggested that businesses pair SSD drives with traditional storage solutions, with prioritized processes and applications being given preference for SSD use. This way, companies can ensure that their critical tasks benefit from SSD performance boosts while minimizing data storage costs.

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