View Full Version : solid state drives


04-02-2010, 05:52 PM
has anyone installed Alpha on one - any pros/cons - the speed looks tempting!

04-02-2010, 06:27 PM
I suggest you do some independent research on solid state drives. There is a limit on the number of writes the drive is able to perform. This is my biggest concern and I am planning on waiting a couple of years to see if it is a true issue or a mute point.

Besides the speed aspect the other pros are the durability, weigh less and consume less electricity than normal mechanical drives making them ideal for a laptop.

The cons are the limit of writes and price.

04-03-2010, 02:21 AM

There is a limit on the number of writes the drive is able to perform. This is my biggest concern

I'd be more worried about your disc drives wearing out before using up the read/write cycles currently that exist even on the worst SSD....and will generally get better and not worse. I think most people are using the relatively short cycle life of a USB flash drive in determining what the life of a typical SSD is....same technology basically, but much different in the actual result. I'm sure a check on Google will alleviate your concerns a bit. :)

Of course if this is to be used say for your OS page file then maybe your concerns are a bit more justified!!

04-03-2010, 11:56 AM
I am tempted! :) In fact, in the not too distant future I am gonna put together a test machine with one of the more "enterprise class" SSD drives. My preliminary research shows that all SSD's are not created equal. They vary GREATLY in read and write performance.

It seems Intel and OCZ seem to be the highest performers in a general sense. Of particular interest to me is one of the OCZ drives that has the SSD attached right to a PCIe card. The performance numbers are insane. Even if the drives could only achieve 50% of their rating, they would insure that the bottle neck would be the the LAN and how fast the workstation could receive the data (in a non TS world). Given the fact that most gigabit networks cannot even approach their rated speed and the fact that DISK I/O seems to be the bottleneck (according to Tom's Hardware)....these things do look enticing.

I'll report back with some benchmarking once I get things sorted.



04-05-2010, 12:27 PM
I messed around with the fastest SSD OCZ had out about a year ago.

I ran Alpha V9 RT and didn't notice anything special. A WD Velociraptor had the same performance qualities in this respect. For the money, I wouldn't buy one for speed, but for the removal of a mechanical part. All-in-all, your limited by the speed of the controller such as SATA. If you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA , there is a chart at the bottom of the page that will give speeds of different interfaces. Whats interesting is that USB 3.0 is faster than SATA II.

Something to keep in mind, a Velociraptor doing a sequential read will blow any present day SSD out of the water.

I've been waiting for a PCIe I-RAM to come out...but it doesn't look that that's ever going to happen. Good idea though.

06-01-2012, 10:31 AM
It has been a couple of years and there have been a number of advances in technology since the last post in this thread.

Might anybody want to comment about the efficacy of running the Alpha App and/or Alpha Databases on a Solid State Drive?

06-01-2012, 10:51 AM
I have a hybrid system running which has a 50gb SSD running as a Solid State Cache. Only works on windows 7 but basically it caches active data leaving less active or inactive data on the hard drive. When installed you cannot see the drive as the dataplex software manages it.

So with my whole system running on it I can definitely say I have noticed a signficant difference. Away from Alpha, the PC boots much much faster, MS Outlook opens in under 2 seconds (compared to about 17-18 seconds before). In Alpha the noticeable differences can be seen in the speed of backups/restores, the processing of complex queries and scripts and just generally moving around the product esp in the web control panel.

And the real major feature... only cost about £70 (about $100). Found it at Crucial.com called Crucial Adrenaline.

06-01-2012, 11:28 AM
I recently bought a new system - where I moved from XP-32 to W7-Pro-64. I had been avoiding leaving XP as long as possible. And since I only replace my main development machine maybe every 5 years, it was a major decision for me and I put in a lot of time researching, etc.

I was going to get 2 256GIG SSD's, but when reading about them I came accross a few alarming articles. They said that the fastest SSD's were storing 1 unit of data per cell (kinda like RAM, I guess) but that manufacturers were starting to stuff 2 or more units of data per cell, to increase their capacity. And that in doing so they were slowing them down to an HD speed, and errors were increased tremendously and life expectantcy was significantly reduced.

So when I explored ordering a system I asked if engineering could guarantee that we would get one with "one unit per cell" and they said they could not. So I opted for 2 300 GIG 15,000 RPM SCSSI's. I've had the best experience with SCSSI's over the years. They are fast and extremely reliable. I suspect that SSD's or equivalent will eventually be the norm, and HD's will become like floppys.

Ted Giles
06-01-2012, 11:53 AM
Martin, I upgraded my dev PC about 9 months ago.
Win 7 boots from the SSD - 15 seconds - and nearly all my professional applications run from the SSD, (Visual Paradigm, Toad, MS Project, Word etc), but I've placed Alpha stuff outside the SSD because of the problems with reads and writes.
My processor is an I5 processor with 8 gig ram.
The only issue I have is that the Data drive is "D" and the boot drive is "C" but that's easy to get used to.

My latest laptop has an I3 processor with 4gig and conventional disks. The starup time is really, really, noticably slower.

06-01-2012, 12:07 PM
SCSSI's don't boot fast, but they run fast (I/O)
I leave my main system on 24/7 - and reboot when it feels necessary.
Believe it or not, I had 1 computer where the SCSSI drives lasted a bit over 10 years.

08-15-2012, 06:58 AM
I upgraded from wd caviar green 1tb to an adata 256 gb ssd asynvhronous drive and boy! A 10 minute recalculating process is cut short to 1 minute i can only swear by it.

Lou Braun
08-24-2012, 08:59 PM
I have been running Alpha on an SSD drive for about 6 months. Absolutely no problems to date. The SSD drives do everything faster, boot, run, calculate. They even let you make mistakes quickly.

Lou Braun

08-26-2012, 04:36 PM
I have a client system running on a Mac mini with SSD for about 2 years with no problems. Win XP runs under VMWare Fusion.


09-01-2012, 01:37 AM
Alpha has limited software support, these systems are always relatively small, because they are dependent on custom- programmed software.

09-01-2012, 09:34 PM
Alpha has limited software support, these systems are always relatively small, because they are dependent on custom- programmed software.

Could you please elaborate - not sure I understand the linkage between "limited software support", "relatively small", and "dependent on custom-programmed software".


Steve Workings
02-08-2013, 04:22 PM
Resurrecting and tagging on to an existing thread here:

I'm considering moving a web app from a server with a standard hard drive, to another server with a solid state RAID. Anyone have experience doing this, or have thoughts? My #1 question is whether you saw an increased responsiveness of the web site, and now noticeable or measurable it was. This is all about the end-user experience.

02-09-2013, 09:39 AM
For what it is worth I have an in-house vmware system -not with raid- but I did the exercise comparing performance between SSD & WD Raptor disk & I found NO difference at all. I doubt if SSD will increase A5 peformance. Memory & CPU speed for the WAS seem to be more important (watch the CPU spike with every component being rendered for example). I'd be curious to learn from your experiment!

02-09-2013, 10:44 AM
So far that has been my experience too, which is surprising to me, given how much faster the disc access speeds are on SSD.

02-09-2013, 11:06 AM
Indeed, on my development machine however SSD is fantastic but there I have many I/O requests whereas the server needs CPU & RAM

02-09-2013, 12:40 PM

SSD's will not improve effective speed because the WAS is internet bound speeds. This does depend a bit or a lot on how you are hitting the tables though. If you are limited number of active users, or are accessing only small sections of the tables, the amount of I/O to the disk is small, and hence the use for an SSD speed is limited. However if your SQL queries are accessing a lot of records of a lot of tables, you will find the speed of the SSD will be helpful. Most of Alpha's code is probably in memory, so the only major disk accessing for programs will probably be Windows API's accessed by Alpha. If you have a good amount of memory on your server (8gb or more), I believe you will see very little disk I/O for the Windows API as well. Of course this is all based upon only Alpha being run along with support utilities (like watchdog timers, etc), and not running other major programs.

If you really want to have the fastest speeds for disks, I would normally separate the data drive from the Windows/Alpha EXE drive, but if using a SSD, this is not the case, and can be 1 drive without much speed loss.

Also, see my Alpha Five Hardware Suggestions (http://www.csda1.com/csda_codeutility/CSDA_CodeUtility_Tips.html#hardware) tips

02-10-2013, 12:24 AM

One other thing that comes to mind is that you can outsource the handling of images, static PDF's etc to another server; that gives you 2 benefits:
Your server only handles the pure A5 stuff not images, static PDF's etc
If someone decides to use your images by hot linking to them your server is not at risk for being charged by someone else
You could use a cheap shared web server for that maybe even the free webspace you get from your provider.
All bits help...

03-21-2013, 08:20 PM
Here is a thought.. there is a web site
that has been researching SSD storage now for many many years.
You can get many of your questions answered and ssd myths busted here.
After reading much of the research they have done there it seems to me that SSD drives and their write issues are a thing of the past.
Also SSD drives for the enterprise are a big thing now and the performance just blows just about everything else away.
Also you folks can speak to Clive at Zebra host.
He has lots of experience hosting Alpha sites on raid 10 SSD drives.
There are a few other threads hear on the Alpha forum that also talks about other developers hosting on Zebra host using their SSD drives and the actual increase in performance that has occurred.
Hope this helps.

03-22-2013, 06:01 AM
Some of us like to use cloud platform servers rather than traditonal VPS or dedicated servers. The major difference between these is that in cloud virtual servers will restart on a different node in the event of failure on a hardware node, minimizing downtime. Also in the cloud user has ful conrol over running servers from one control panel.

Anyway if you want take advantage of the similar speed than ssd disks offers and you want to use real cloud servers leaseweb.com has premium cloud servers. They use extremly fast fibre channel, raid 6 disks. Unfortunately these super fast servers are at the moment just for european users.

03-23-2013, 12:29 AM
I can tell without a doubt that SSD servers are extremely fast to the point that comments from users say that my site is like working in a desktop environment.
I recently changed over from what I thought was a good dedicated server.
My site is responding on average 4-10 times faster on all aspects of the app.
To be honest I don't even need the report server.

Not a chance I would ever use anything else now.

03-23-2013, 07:58 AM
That is impressive but of course I don't know how your site performed previously. Is this with Zebrahost ?

03-23-2013, 11:38 AM
Both machines are with Zebrahost. The original was an 8 core 6gb ram with raid 10 drives. It worked well and most people never compained, but once you have used the new one you would never want to go back.