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Home » Artificial Intelligence » Edge AI advantages: how SSDs drive efficiency and reliability

Rita Wouhaybi

AI fellow, Solidigm

While SSDs are revolutionising data centres, it’s not their only use case. They’re also incredibly effective for edge AI applications.

By storing data close to the source of generation, SSDs contribute to the effectiveness of edge AI by enabling real-time processing and reducing dependency on distant data centres minimising reliance on cloud infrastructure.

Edge AI benefits from SSDs

SSDs for edge AI are particularly useful for critical organisations like hospitals and factories, which need minimum latency. It’s also effective for data security and protection, particularly with the increasing number of data protection regulations governing where personal information can be transferred or to protect intellectual property.

“In many instances, by sending that data to the cloud and then back to the edge, the latency in that transfer of data is going to break whatever you’re trying to do. Imagine you’ve got a robot hanging in space waiting for its command, or a robotic arm in an operating room waiting for the next steps. That’s a big problem,” says Rita Wouhaybi, AI fellow at Solidigm.

SSDs come in various form factors, allowing for flexible integration.

SSDs are faster and more durable

SSDs’ use of flash memory to read and write as opposed to spinning discs makes it significantly faster to access and retrieve information, ensuring AI algorithms can perform to their full potential.

This is particularly useful for new growing domains like autonomous vehicles, industrial automation and smart cities, where delays in data processing can lead to critical failures. “You can’t grab a whole rack of servers and HDDs (hard disk drives) and put it in the trunk of a driverless car — although in the early stages of development, that’s exactly what [tech companies] were doing,” says Wouhaybi.

SSDs are faster, smaller and more efficient. They have no moving parts, making them less prone to damage from shocks and vibrations, which are common in edge environments. This durability enhances lifespan, reduces mechanical failures and cuts down on AI system downtime and maintenance costs.

Form factor versatility of SSDs

In certain edge applications like factories, there are strict regulations on form factor, explains Wouhaybi. SSDs come in various form factors, allowing for flexible integration. Factory floors also tend to have space constraints, making SSDs a clear winner over mechanical drives.

SSDs are also well-suited to onsite data storage in remote locations with harsh weather conditions. “If you’re operating an oil pipeline in the middle of the desert, you’re going to have power restrictions,” says Wouhaybi. “In that instance, SSDs are an easy choice to make because they’re so effective from a power consumption perspective, and they’re better at tolerating extremely high temperatures.”

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