The Benefit of Hybrid Drives

Between Worlds


Hybrid hard drives are slightly more expensive than normal disks, but they can be much faster under certain circumstances. These circumstances are important, however. Repeated read operations, such as booting, are perfect. In other situations, the benefits are not as great, because the hybrid drive simply has less leverage: Other components of the I/O stack offer the same benefits, but sooner.

Whatever fails to make its way into the cache or is ousted again from the relatively small NAND memory will obviously not translate to speed benefits. However, I/O requests that are passed through to the hybrid drive and then make their way into the flash cache can be served much faster than by a purely mechanical drive.

Hybrid drives can also possibly score points where a persistent cache is beneficial, where the filesystem is bypassed, or where you can gather prioritized data on a drive. Hard disks with an SSD module will always lose out to thoroughbred SSDs in terms of performance, but they are also much cheaper.


  1. Bootchart:

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