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Reliability of SSD drives

Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Reliability of SSD drives

Just read this - if you use them make sure you have a good backup system
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/05/the-hot-crazy-solid-state-drive-scale.html
12 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
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Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Reliability of SSD drives

and dont try to defrg it, that will kill it
Community Veteran
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

This has always been a limitation of solid state drives, such as 'compact flash', as all flash memory has a finite number of write cycles, although that number is ever improving with newer technologies.
However, I will still be installing an SSD into my Ubuntu laptop when the price falls just a little further.
The speed advantage and improved battery time (on a laptop) are really worth the potential inconvenience of short SSD lifespan.
The trick is to synchronise your important data to a networked backup hard drive, so that WHEN the SSD dies, then you don't lose your data.
I personally wouldn't run Windows on an SSD, as that OS is constantly and unnecessarily rewrites many of it's configuration files, and uses a flawed swap file methodology, which therefore wears out flash memory devices MUCH quicker than other OSs.
VileReynard
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

Why not just use these things as HD disk cache?
Chances are that if it's working, you can recover the last few minutes of your disk writes and if it fails that you have to rely on on your disk journalling and your boot times will be extended to 30+ seconds.

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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

Hey Jeremy - have you purchased 120 GBytes of dynamic ram memory recently?  I mean of course for the HD Disk cache. That of course pre-supposes your motherboard has enough slots for the memory boards.
One of the benefits of SSDs is the relatively low cost of solid state memory, of course another is that it retains its memory when the power goes.
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VileReynard
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

Why replace your entire HD?
Most of your data is fairly static.
So a cheap HD e.g. £50 per TeraByte plus a couple of GB on SSD ought to be ample...

Community Veteran
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

[quote=A Fox is Evil ]Why replace your entire HD?
Because when fitted to a laptop an SSD has lower power consumption than the greenest HDD, and therefore gives a significant boost to battery run times.
In addition the disk seek time for every file access drops to nearly zero, and therefore the whole machine feels more responsive, without having to upgrade the CPU or RAM.
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

I'd suggest that the 'reliability' issue of SSDs in laptops is outweighed by the chances of knackering a mechanical drive by dropping a laptop while it is in use (I know because I've had it happen twice  Embarrassed ), an SSD is far better able to cope with young childeren and pets.  I much prefer using SSD in a netbook that I take out for work in all sorts of places including building sits and plantrooms - the battery life improvement is also very welcome.
Backing up is just as necessary whatever type of drive you use.
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Community Veteran
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

SSDs are used in jet fighters to store data. Of course the military versions are a lot more expensive than commercial ones. The primary factor in the choice is the shock resistance.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Reliability of SSD drives

They also use more than one (sometimes 3 or 4) to negate any single unit failure - not something we are able to do on a laptop easily, so not a good comparison.
It seems a lot of failures I have read about recently have been caused by firmware errors and not physical errors. However, a badly configured OS can reduce the life of an SSD by quite a lot, in some cases to months rather than years - M$ operating systems are one of the worst offenders - they should not be run with a swap file so just add more memory and turn off virtual memory.
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

Quote from: Peter
... a badly configured OS can reduce the life of an SSD by quite a lot, in some cases to months rather than years ...

Erm, so we are saying that SSDs are great so long as you don't actually use them!?!  Anything that requires a lot of reading and writing, such as the Windows swap file, wears out the drive. 
Community Veteran
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

The number of SSDs deployed in an installation for resilience is irrelevant in connection with the point about shock resistant capabilities.
@ReedRichard: The present commonly used SSD technologies "wear out"  after a lot of write operations.  The manufacturers of SSDs use clever algorithms to reduce and hide that effect from most users. If part of the  SSD memory dies the built in controller maps around the dead part. For normal usage the lifetime of an SSD is the same as a retail hard disk.  However if you run a processor which is a bit short on main memory the operating system will "page out" unused parts of programs resident in the memory to the hard disk. Each of those paging operations involves one or more write operations. Hence excessive paging can in theory bite into the life of an SSD, but manufacturing techniques are improving all the time. SSD technology is taking an increasing role in the as a fast storage layer in "data storage farms" of major data centres. There's a whole IT engineering discipline developing on this issue.
In summary SSDs are expensive, fast, have low power consumption and are shock resistant. They can fail. If you can afford them they can significantly improve the battery life and speed of a laptop computer.
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Community Veteran
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Re: Reliability of SSD drives

Writes, moreso than reads, is the primary limitation of SSDs, although as someone pointed out earlier - most failures seem to be the controller or firmware, rather than the memory cells themselves.  I run an SSD in my laptop for the primary reason of battery life.  I can now get almost 18 hours runtime off my netbook (6 cell battery), which increased from 9 hours when I installed the SSD.  It also makes it feel generally 'nippy'.  I think the 64GB drive set me back just over £110, and for me it's money well spent.
We also use SSDs fairly extensively in our primary storage here at work, but they're in a RAID60 set, and in 20 months we've not had a single failure (although we're talking enterprise grade SSDs, rather than residential grade SSDs)
I certainly wouldn't recommend using SSD to store anything mission-critical for the /long/ term
B.