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How Bad is - Choosing the Wrong SSD Supplier?

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How Bad is Choosing the Wrong SSD Supplier? - by Zsolt Kerekes - March 24, 2009
How significant is it - if you choose the wrong partner / supplier for your SSD strategy?

It's a momentous decision. Don't kid yourself that high-end SSDs are clones / generic products. Like thoroughbred horses they have personalities. It takes time to get to know them and get the best out of them. Rushing in to make a quick convenient choice - could backfire.

Here are some examples of significant decision points that I've seen people make in my career.

Is it as bad as bad as - choosing the wrong microprocessor back in the mid 1970s?

Most companies hadn't invested in too much software, by the end of the 1970s, when vendors started touting their 16 bit micros. (Some real, some imaginary and some which would be very late to get working.) Intel's marketers even had a conversion program - in which they said - you could feed Motorola 6800 assembler in one end and see Intel 8086 assembler coming out the other end - which actually ran faster than on the Mot hardware. I don't know if anyone actually did that. Most engineers at that time were quite happy to rip and replace their 1st or 2nd generation micro designs and switch to something new. Apple was the big exception. Apple had created the consumer desktop PC market and was locked into a huge investment of 8 bit assembler for - what turned out to be a dead-end processor - the 6502. Despite heroic efforts - that mistake lost them the ownership of the desktop PC market - to Intel and Microsoft.

Is choosing the wrong SSD supplier as significant as - choosing the wrong CPU/OS platform for your mid range server in the early 1990s?

If you chose DEC's VAX (which looked like a safe choice for many companies who already had such servers) - that led to a merry dance which involved ditching VAX for Alpha and ditching VMS for variously named flavors of Unix, and then finally ditching the whole lot. Wintel didn't have fast enough processors or scalability in those days - and was barely good enough as a single user PC platform. SPARC was the market's favorite vote - and peaked at over $20 billion annual revenue in 2000 before it failed for a bunch of technical, competitive and market reasons.

In my view choosing the right SSD supplier for strategic projects is nearly as important as any of the choices above were in their own time. A successful implementation will enable your organization to do things better, faster and at lower cost than your competitors. And in some projects the SSD will enable applications which would not have been possible at all.

Although you can switch SSD suppliers - by the time you realize that your initial choice was a mistake - you could have lost valuable months of having a head start with the new opportunities enabled by SSD technology. And - if things got really bad - you could lose your reputation, your job and maybe your business too.

I'm often asked - what is the best choice of SSD? - My answer is - that it depends what you're trying to do, what your current state of technical competence is relative to SSDs and the apps you're trying to improve. Also - how much effort and resources you're willing to invest to make it work for you. That formula gives a different answer for everyone. So it's not surprising that in my article predicting the SSD market confusion in 2009 I said that customers are going to solve apparently identical problems in completely different ways.

There are already hundreds of articles about the SSD market on - and there are a lot more articles and directories in the pipeline. But it can never be enough. That's one of the reasons I started the recent SSD Bookmarks Series - to give leading people in the industry a way to share the views from different vantage points in the multi-dimensional SSD landscape. They will send you to many interesting places. But I hope you'll still find the mouse site a helpful starting point for your future SSD searches.

See also:- the survivors guide to enterprise SSDs
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