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Choosing the best storage for your server. Is NVMe worth it?

It might surprise you how efficient storage can elevate your server's functioning
July 4, 2024

Coupling your device with a powerful storage option will help boost its performance and cost efficiency and also improve the health of your physical machine. The choice of storage could start with the type of server, predictions for future traffic, the overall estimate of the amount of data you need storing or processing, the physical location and configuration of your server, etc. This way the best storage for VPS server hosting in Europe will differ from the best storage for dedicated server hosting in the US.

But without further ado, let’s look at the storage options out there, and explore the value of NVMe storage.

Types of storage

There are three major types of storage included in servers such as NVMe SSDs, SATA SSDs, and SATA HDDs.

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) is a protocol for storage architecture which determines the specifics of data processing and transfers. SATA protocol and SAS were the industry standard before the introduction of NVMe, and the first flash-based SSDs used SATA or SAS interfaces to smooth the transition for hard drive (HDD) systems. Even though SATA SSDs performed better than HDDs, they still couldn’t actualize their full potential until the NVMe appeared.

SATA HDD

HDDs or Hard Disk Drives represent a storage space with physically moving pieces. Whenever data is requested, the small disk inside starts to spin, and that’s how the request is processed. SATA hard drives were first introduced in 2000. And though it had certain advantages such as having a compatible configuration, and affordability, the storage industry started moving away from HDDs to SSDs. The reasons for this are many:

  • HDD will inevitably fail as the hardware wears off, therefore they are less durable
  • Hard disk drives consume more power
  • They have a bigger form factor
  • External HDDs can be easily stolen

SATA SSD

SATA-based SSDs have quickly become a better alternative to hard disk drives. SSDs use NAND memory, which doesn’t have any moving parts. Because this structure is immobile, it spends less time processing requests, and because of that, has much better performance.

SSDs are affordable but can be more expensive than HDDs for the same storage size. At the same time, the form factor for the same storage size is much smaller in SSDs than in HDDs. Plus, SSDs are considered more reliable than HDDs: they are associated with fewer instances of failure.

SATA SSDs are chosen for their:

  • High speed and performance (SSDs can read up to 600 MB per second);
  • Durability, due to no moving mechanical parts;
  • Energy efficiency;
  • Compact size;
  • Lower latency;
  • Faster file access;

NVMe SSD

NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is another protocol designed for solid-state drives. It utilizes certain features of the PCle interface to power devices with maximal performance and high efficiency. NVMe can create a better functional correlation, a point-to-point connection between the storage interface itself, and the processor of the system’s host. It does this through PCle sockets, which allow for overcoming size limitations and achieving the transfer of 25 times more data. Overall, as a protocol for SSD, it can reveal the potential of solid-state drives more than SATA.

Is NVMe worth it?

It depends on what you are looking for. If you’re looking for a lightweight and energy-efficient storage solution, yes. The same applies if you’re looking for a device to get the most power out of your computer. When choosing between NVMe and regular SSDs, the budget is the biggest concern. NVMe SSDs are usually more expensive than SATA SSDs for the same amount of storage.

And if you’re questioning whether NVMe drives are worth the money, here’s what you get when you purchase one or a configuration with one:

  • Unmatched speed. NVMe SSDs show the best speed metrics out of all storage options. This high speed benefits your PC and makes your devices more energy efficient, reducing electrical bills.
  • Advanced performance. NVMe protocol ensures better performance of solid-state drives thanks to the direct communication between a device and a drive. All of it results in NVMe SSDs being able to process up to 25 times more data than regular SSDs.
  • Extensive compatibility. You don’t have to spend your time figuring out whether a specific type of storage will work with your device: NVMe SSDs are able to work with any device or operating system. They are also highly compatible with laptops due to their compact form factor.

If you consider NVMe SSDs for your gaming PC or gaming server, you’re on the right track. NVMe SSDs will reduce the time of installation and game boosting. They can also handle the increased frame rates associated with high-quality games.

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