As most of you in the computing industry know, the client grade SSD market has grown exponentially over the last few years. More and more personal and corporate laptops, 2 in one's, convertibles, Ultrabooks™* , and tablets are driving the consumption of client SSDs. With a high-volume, low-cost consumption model driving the client SSD market, it was only a matter of time that other industry applications would pick up on this low cost, small form-factor, highly reliable storage alternative.
In comparison to SSDs slotted for enterprise use, client SSDs are known for their lower performance, lower drive write endurance, less NAND over-provisioning and overall decreased lifetime. Even with these diminished capabilities, client SSDs are gaining favor in price-sensitive applications where this performance may just be 'good enough.' That performance, along with the PC SSD form-factors like mSATA and M.2, lend themselves to placement in a variety of products supporting all kinds of applications. Think about it, how many various industrial and computing appliances exist today that are based on PC architectures?
Thinking of appliances based on PC architectures, several examples quickly come to mind:
- Connectivity - network routers, directors and switches
- Network - security, firewall and monitoring appliances
- Point of Sale - terminals, printers, ticketing and display kiosks
- Video - In-flight entertainment and interactive digital signage
Typical of all these types of applications, they require instant-on performance and fast (fast enough, anyways) application response time making client grade SSDs often a suitable storage solution. Throw in some wireless connectivity and you have portable computing solutions ready to handle applications silently, remotely and reliably. Unbeknownst to all of us, SSDs are in many of these products today even though you may not read anything about it in their promotional materials.
All of these examples require small, cost-effective, reliable, durable storage whose content may change over time, but may also have subtle differences in underlying prerequisites. In some situations, overall data retention is a concern, since the data may live for quite some time. However, when operating only on an 8AM-5PM basis, the environment can tolerate lower data retention storage like client SSDs. Additionally, data may change regularly (think of the movies on your last plane flight), but the airlines only update content every few weeks. Thus drive writes are measured in weeks or months, not per day. So a client SSD with lower DWPD capability is well aligned for such regular -update applications.
So where are client grade SSDs today? They are everywhere! With low cost, high reliability, and a variety of small form factors, they are quietly storing and providing important data to all kinds of computing devices around you today. And with continuing innovation in the space, client SSDs will find their way into more and more computing product in offices, factories and homes for years to come.
* Ultrabook is a trademark of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc.