SSD on DELL Rack Server

  I am trying to build a new VMWare server with about 96 Gig of RAM & 2 to 4 TB of HD in RAID 10. The question is a choice of HD type.
  In the past, I have been buying 600GB 15K SAS which has been very reliable with little failure, basically plug in and forget about it.
  In recent years, I noticed that  SSD HDs have been coming down in price. So I like to consider them this time.
  When I looked at R520 server on DELL website, I see a 800GB Solid State Drive SATA 3Gbps 2.5in Hot-plug,3.5in HYB CARR-Limited Warranty for $1,482.73 and I like to hear from the experts WHO INSTALLED SSD on FILE SERVERS.

  (1) Are SSDs as reliable as SAS in terms of errors and longevity ? I know it outperforms SAS in terms of speed.
  (2) Do I have to use DELL brand SSD ($1,482.73 for 800GB)? or Are there better SSDs that I should consider in terms of price and quality? $1,482.73 for 800GB seem very high. I like to buy SSDs on my own just like I add after-market RAMs (Kingston RAMs) after I buy DELL server with minimum RAM.
  (3) Are SSDs worth the investment as they are still pricy based on your experience?

Thank you.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. Yes, but we do not use them in host file servers, we use them for read and write caching in SANs, or we use them for Caching in host servers, e.g. we do not create datastores on them!

2. If you are purchasing Dell servers, I would always use Dell on Dell for compatibility and firmware.

3. If you have issues with performance, and need an increase in IOPS for SQL servers, Oracle Servers, of heavy loads, e.g. VDI, but use them for read and writing caching functions, to perform faster access to SATA disks.

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Rule #1  - 100% of HDDs & SSDs fail.  100% of them will lose blocks of data.    As such, unless you have budget for TWO devices.  Save your money.  Buy more mechanical drives and build several RAID1 LUNs.  More heads = greater IOPs and read throughput assuming you have a decent controller.

Also SSDs do not perform well behind most RAID controllers anyway.
ste5anSenior DeveloperCommented:
I only use them in client workstations and as tempdb storage or SQL Server.

A decent RAID with SAS 15k is imho fast enough. Indeed you can built a monster RAID with SSD's but is it worth: SSD Awesomeness .

And dlethe is right: You need the same number of disks for an SSD RAID. The only alternative would a Fusion IO or Intel 720 PCIe, but they are even more expensive.
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
I have not used SANs and don't understand what you meant by read and write caching .. etc.
However I understand when you said " we do not create datastores on them!".
I also agree on " use Dell on Dell". I forgot about the fact that their hardware has dell firmware built-in.
I don't have a performance issue on servers with SAS HDs. I just wanted to try SSD because everyone who used it said "amazing" in terms of speed. So I wanted to try a "sportscar" so to speak.
I don't have SQL server. Instead, there are MS ACCESS databases and they are accessed by several users at  the same time.

You are also against SSDs too if I read you correctly?
What is LUNs?
I am not against SSDs.  Traditionally save them for index and scratch table space. You want them for primary storage.   Wrong decision.  You also need to buy two in order to protect against data corruption.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
There are at least 20 different vendors now which offer the ability to use SSDs for Read and Write caching or VMFS traditional datastores on SAN or Locally.

Also vSAN now uses SSDs, to improve datastore performance, using standard disks, and vSAN can now use all SSDs.

ESXi can use Flash Cache and Swap to Cache features of SSD.
sgleeAuthor Commented:
So from both of you, I sense that using SSDs as primary storage to set up VMs is doable, but no recommended? If that is the case, is that because of high $$ or something else (like shorter life expectancy)?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We only use Flash Cache, e.g. SanDisk Fusion-IO for VDI, because of the high IOPS required for desktops. e.g. VMFS datastores on SSD (cache cards).

other SSDs are used for caching for slower access SANs and HDDs.
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