Solid State Drives vs Traditional Hard Drives. Which is right for you?

  Gone are the days of simply choosing the drive that had the largest capacity that your budget could afford. Solid-state drives have made huge advances in recent years and have started to become affordable for the average consumer. So which should you choose?


hard_drive_western_digital_sataHard-Disk Drives

These are the traditional type of computer storage and have been around for decades with minor changes under the hood. Due to there age, they’re a mature technology and considered by many as the default storage medium. Basically they are rotating magnetic platters and with read/write heads that move across the surface to access the data. These drives are called “mechanical” because of the moving parts, and are susceptible to failure from time to time… usually at the least convenient time.

They are available in several speeds that are measured by how fast the platters spin.  Most drives in desktop PC’s are 7,200 RPM, but in laptops you may find 5,400 RPM.  Occasionally in servers or higher end storage you will find 10,000 RPM.  The faster they are, the more expensive they are.  You can increase performance and speed by using other technology such as RAID, but that’s another article.

Modern drives are readily available in up to 8TB these days, with 2 or 3TB being considered pretty standard.

In summary. HDDs are best used when you need to store a lot of data, and high performance is not essential. As a result, HDDs are the norm for a desktop computer, and every day home consumer.

ssdSolid-State Drives

Solid-state drives essentially perform the same role as a HDD. But rather than using mechanical moving parts, they use NAND flash memory. This means they are far more robust than traditional hard drives, and offer significantly greater performance.

Solid state drives normally connect using the same SATA interface as a HDD, but a few can use PCI for very high performance applications. Data access is typically a fraction of a millisecond and data transfer can be in excess of 500MB per second.

With those fast data access speeds, your operating system usually boots within a few seconds.

So far this all sounds pretty good!  So where’s the catch?  As always, it comes down to money.  This performance, when compared to HDDs, does not come cheap. If you want to spend the same money as you would on a HDD, but you want the performance of SSD, expect to be dealing with a much smaller capacity. The capacity of SSDs range from about 60GB to 2TB with the larger cost around $1300. In most cases, this is above the budget of the average consumer. It is however becoming popular to buy a smaller SSD for installing applications and your operating system, and then a larger traditional HDD for storing your data such as photos, music and movies.  Be warned though, HDDs would often give warning signs of imminent failure… SSDs will tend to simply go from working perfectly, to being completely dead in the blink of an eye.  BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!




A hybrid hard drive is a mixture of a traditional HDD drive and a small solid-state/flash drive in a single package. The drive monitors the usage of data being read and keeps a copy of the most frequently accessed data on the flash memory as a cache. This results in SSD like performance at a fraction of the cost. They cost slightly more than traditional hard drives but nowhere near as much as solid state drives. They can often make an ideal cost effective solution.


All in all, I’m a fan of SSD.  And for me, if it’s in the budget, I will always get, and always recommend SSD.

Cloud Accounting with Xero – Is it right for you?


‘Working in the Cloud’, ‘Cloud Computing’, ‘Cloud Accounting’… All terms we are hearing more and more. Momentum is growing for all businesses from SMB to Major Enterprise as people gain a better understanding of the true benefits of Cloud.

Not sure what ‘The Cloud’ is?

Put simply, cloud computing refers to applications and services being made available over the internet. Essentially this means they are available on demand where ever you are, without you having to install applications and servers.

Could ‘Live Accounting’ benefit you and your business? Here are some advantages to consider.

  • Available 24/7 from anywhere in the world provided you have an internet connection.
  • You get a ‘Real-time’ view of your cashflow and bank balances.
  • Automated Bank Feeds can minimise manual and cumbersome data entry.
  • Collaborate with your accountant in ‘Real-time’… no more sending data files back and forth.
  • No hardware or server installations, no manual back-ups, maintenance or support costs.
  • System upgrades occur while you’re offline, minimising your downtime.
  • No longer do you need to send your MYOB or QuickBooks files to your accountant leaving you unable to edit your own file while they work.
  • Fixed monthly costs that are cashflow friendly.

Do you want to know more about Xero?

Click here for your free trial!


Industry Standards: How does your IT provider compare?

If you’re a non-techie who has been left to look after the IT department of your workplace, you may be wondering exactly how your IT provider stacks up in comparison to the industry standards of others in the country.

The following review will give you a break down of the industry standards across four categories: client satisfaction, service deliverability, IT spend and managed services cost.

1. Client Satisfaction

In August 2015, Client Heartbeat surveyed the clients of Australian IT providers to determine how happy they were with their IT provider. The survey asked clients to rate their IT provider on a scale of 1 to 10 across 5 areas: promptness, accuracy, partnership, advice and overall performance.

Here are their findings:

Promptness: 8.3/10

Accuracy: 8.3/10

Partnership: 8.4/10

Advice: 8.6/10

Overall: 8.4/10

2. Service Deliverability

Pink Elephant (the company who initiated this survey) collects, analyses and presents IT management metrics benchmarks. Between 2010 and 2012 a survey was taken by IT managers across the globe to measure the standards for incident, problem and change-management metrics.

Here are some of the standout findings:

Incident management

The report found that the number of incidents an organisation experiences is influenced by the organisation’s size, number of users and the number of years that the company has had an incident management practice in place. The numbers below represent an average of the total incidents per month during the survey period unless otherwise indicated.

First contact resolution: 74%

Incident maximum priority: 6%

Incident resolution within expected interval: 82%

Problem management

Problems with known errors: 48.8%

Problems Assigned Highest Priority: 8%

Problem / known error age at closure: 4.4 months (average of entire survey period)

Problems without known errors: 42%

Change management

Requests for change with no issues: 87%

Requests for change / right the first time: 90%

Among the several interesting metrics is an average 90% Change Executed Right First Time (no rollback or cancelation, and as scheduled). This appears to indicate that 10% of all Changes fail in at least 1 of the 3 ways, which is quite a disappointing benchmark.

3. IT Spend

According to research compiled by software security company Trend Micro, Australian small businesses spend an average of $52,100 per year on IT related expenses.

In the last year, small businesses with between five and 25 employees spent an average of $25,200 per year, while businesses with between 26 and 50 staff spent $20,600 and businesses with 51 to 100 employees spent, on average, $77,300 on IT.

The survey of 300 businesses found the way in which IT was managed across a business depended heavily on the size of the business, with smaller businesses more likely to manage IT simply on an ad hoc basis, and those with more employees more likely to have dedicated IT support.

Nearly one quarter of businesses surveyed said they had external technology consultants and channel partners provide their IT support, a figure much larger than other countries around the world.

Mark Sinclair, head of small and medium business at Trend Micro, said if small business owners have to manage IT themselves it can lead to inefficiencies and increased security incidents.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re spending less than 5% on IT, you should consider how important it is to your organisation’s success and how you can increase spending to at least 5% to take advantage of tools and services that will help you operate more efficiently.

4. Managed Services Cost

Kaseya surveyed 700 managed IT service providers to determine a few industry standards for pricing. Here’s what they found (in AUD):

Average hourly rate: $92 (level 1), $120 (level 2), $171 (level 3)

Average desktop support and maintenance charge: $51-65

Average server support and maintenance charge: $160-195

Average billing fee per user: 39% charge, between $65-130 per user

Average size of managed service contract: between $1300-6500


These industry standards should be referred when reviewing your current IT provider. Consider, are they meeting your business needs at a reasonable cost?

If you would like to speak with us about how we can effectively and efficiently manage your businesses IT, contact the eStorm office today.