Why you should go for new Standard SSD (Preview) disks instead of Standard HDD

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Azure Platform guys are again in dilemma with the new release of the Standard SSD Disks. This new disk offering combines the elements of Premium SSD Disks and Standard HDD Disks to form a cost-effective solution. They need to change their storage plans again in the regions where it will be currently supported or soon to be supported to optimize the cost as it is going to impact significantly in long-term cost savings and annual azure budget.

The standard SSD hard disk comes with a very attractive pricing as you can see below.

Fig: Pricing of the Standard SSD Disks.

Low Latency is the Key.

Yes, that’s correct, the low latency is the key for the standard SSD, Standard SSD disks are designed to provide single-digit millisecond latencies for most IO operations.
Now, why is the dilemma?
The price of standard SSD is less than Standard HDD, What? Yes, you heard right.

Fig: Cost Comparison table of Disks.

* AFS stands for Azure File Share.

You can clearly see that the per-GB cost of Standard SSD is LOWER than that of Standard HDD. Now how it can be possible, the driving force is the electricity cost. Electricity is a huge cost in data centers. And standard HDD eats up lots of electricity. The cost of SSD is much cheaper and efficient in this matter.

There is no Azure Portal support today. If you want to deploy Standard SSD disks, you must do it using ARM templates. So next time if your requirement is 2000 IOPS and you are planning to use four standard disks of 500 GB to achieve that IO, it’s a good idea to go ahead with four E20 disks instead of four S30 to create a striped volume.
Now let’s consider a use case.

Customer needs 2 TB disk space with 2000 IOPS, to achieve this we will consider 4 standard SSD disks to create the striped volume.

Here is the calculation

FOR a striped volume where you need 2 TB space and minimum 2000 IOPS, you can use four standard SSD disks.

So the cost for adding four 512 GB standard disks is $66.56 vs. $232.52 for premium disks vs. $87.04 for Standard HDD. If you wanted to know more about disk IOPS sizing, you can read my old post here.
Availability

Standard SSD Disks Preview is currently available in the following region:

  • North Europe

Following additional regions will support Standard SSD Disks by mid-June 2018:

  • France Central
  • East US 2
  • Central US
  • Canada Central
  • East Asia
  • Korea South
  • Australia East

As of today, it’s not supported yet in the above regions however I am expecting a release by this weekend or later. I’ll look forward to doing some testing with few medium IO VM’s to compare the performance, let’s wait till it available in GA (Probably sometime in August) to get the full value.

Please note that now you can calculate the pricing in the Azure pricing calculator but will still not get it in the drop-down list in portal GUI so please use the VM configuration JSON file to use it or a Powershell script will do.

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