Hard disk drive (HDD or simply hard drive) is a very old digital data storage technology still chiefly used in different kinds of computers especially servers. Primitive hard drive technology is now slowly getting replaced by much faster rotating disc-less flash based technology. Today, faster servers including hosting servers utilize solid state drives (SSD) to boost the performance of websites and offer higher bandwidth and I/O. But still they widely use hard drives for non-frequently accessed data like backups and large downloadable files which are not involved in website loading process. Today, web hosting, file sharing and online backup service providers and data centers design their servers to use both SSD and HDD storage technologies.
Now, at some point, one might argue why I am referring towards the advantages of hard drives when majority of people are shifting to SSDs? The argument is valid. But the problem here is SSD lacks one major feature which is the extreme requirement of today. That feature is storage capacity. Currently, solid state drives do not offer that much storage space that a single hard drive can in affordable price. So, even an SSD enthusiast has to choose a hard drive at some point to cope with ever increasing data storage requirements. That’s the reason, here in this post, I will mention some unbiased benefits and advantages of hard disk drives over solid state drives which one can obtain from such an old technology. There are disadvantages associated too with this storage technology. But I will focus on pros here.
1- Price factor
This is the major factor that makes hard drives advantageous despite of their slow speed. Hard drives are still a lot cheaper than solid state drives. Despite the fact that solid state drives prices have came down a lot. Still these are a lot more expensive than their counterparts. A single hard drive can give you several terabytes of space in much lesser price. If you want to to build a server for personal use or own a business where you need a lot of data storage space, you can use hard drives as a cheaper storage solution.
2- Storage capacity
For some users, storage capacity matters more than the performance. Although flash technology is growing at rapid pace and much spacious SSDs are now available for consumers. But a single hard drive can still give you several terabytes of storage space which is not economical with solid state drives. Solid state drives still have a long journey ahead of them to reach the point where these will be cheaper with a lot of data storage space one can imagine. Also most external drives (portable storage drives powered by USB) use hard drives instead of solid state drives. You may make your own external storage drive with an SSD and HDD/SSD enclosure. But for companies it is more profitable to use hard drives in portable storage solutions.
3- Use in notebooks
Laptops have a little room to install a storage device. You can either go for solid state drive or hard disk drive depending upon your requirements. If you want a bigger affordable space to store all your data, you can choose hard disk drive. If you want better performance, you can choose an SSD. There is another solution for the trouble and that is to use hybrid drive which contains solid state drive plus hard drive technology inside a single enclosure. Usually laptop manufacturers assemble laptops with hard drives instead of solid state drives to keep the prices low. After purchase you may install an SSD to increase the performance of your notebook computer.
4- Fulfills the ever growing storage requirements
If you are in a business where you always require more and more digital storage space, solid state drives might not be a recommended choice for you. In business it is necessary to find ways to keep your expenses low and increase your profit. So you will have to go with hard drives to overcome the ever increasing data storage needs and also keep your expenses in control. Hosting business can not survive without utilizing hard drives. Same is true in case of managing data centers. Hard drives are still economical to go with.
5- Easy portability
Despite the fact that solid state drives can be turned into portable drives, portable hard drives are readily available in markets from reliable brands and in much affordable prices. Portable hard drives will offer you more storage space than your internal solid state drives. So, you can store all your extra files in external drive and carry it with you whenever you need it. Also performance is not a requirement when a drive is used for backup only.
Hard drives can take stress without getting worn out faster. Solid state drives have limited number of read and write cycles after which data reliability is not guaranteed. Hard drives can be run 24×7 without much worrying about increasing wear level. So, these are recommended choice for building a reliable server and also for personal computers where the use of system is extensive for example heavy gaming or system where you need to keep deleting old files and add new on regular interval. You may need to take some precautions while using SSD like disabling defragmentation and limit background processes to extend its life span (defragmentation is disable by default on new operating systems when you use SSD. You may need to disable it on old operating systems).
7- Usable alongside solid state drives
If you own a desktop PC, you can use both SSD and HDD at the same time. You can use solid state drive as your main drive to install operating system and other programs. While, you can use hard drive to keep backups and store all the data which is not readily used or not directly involved in running any system, application or game.