I did this test several years ago to show (a) how ridiculously expensive full-blown SSD servers were and (b) how much little more you actually paid for maxCache. So I thought I’d have a go at it again based on current prices from the web (these are all dodgy $AUD based on websites from shopbot.com.au).
I picked as an example a database server. I have an 8-bay and 16-bay server, and have done some very rough maths based on capacities of drives. Note that the capacities of the drives will definitely be wrong as you don’t get what you pay for, but I don’t know exactly what the real capacities are for these drives so didn’t worry about that part of the calculation.
Note: I believe (if it works the same for you as it does for me) that you can click on the images and see the picture in larger format).
The 8-bay server
The big non-surprise here is that maxCache is the most expensive. There are a few reasons for that, but mostly the fact that you need a more expensive controller and SSDs compared to the full spinning media server where you can get away with a much slower RAID card.
The real surprise is the cost of the SSD server. I’ve used the 71605E (yes I’m banging on about that card again) because it will “just” cope with 8 x SSD and we don’t need a flash module in pure SSD arrays … plus the fact it’s inexpensive.
The 16-bay server
In the 16-bay server things balance out a bit more. The maxCache server is cheaper to purchase than even the spinning media server, but then you don’t get as much capacity. Because you are amortising the cost of the maxCache software (card) over a larger capacity, it has far less impact on the overall cost of the server.
Of course the SSD server goes way up in price, but in fact it’s $ per Gb doesn’t really change from the 8 bay server to the 16 bay server (very little anyway).
So why am I putting this out there? I just think it’s interesting to look at the overall cost of things in reality compared to people’s perceptions. For example someone might say “… maxCache/pure SSD are way too expensive … my customer won’t cop the cost of SSDs”. Really? When explained in this manner I think a lot of customers will think differently.
Of course the key is performance. Almost anyone will believe that servers with SSDs will be “way” faster than servers with spinning drives alone – that’s not that hard a sell. So if, in the case of the 8-bay server, you said to your customer … the server will be $1149 more expensive to go full SSD – then yes, he might balk at it.
However, if you say … “for an extra 22cents/GB you can get a full-SSD server which will run like the blazes” it doesn’t sound expensive at all.
Lesson: it all depends on how you present things, but it’s worth investigating the full costs of the differences between a spinning, caching and pure ssd server before just “assuming’ that things are too expensive.