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Investigation: Is Your SSD More Reliable Than A Hard Drive?

Data Center Feedback: Fewer Than 100 SSDs

Cost per gigabyte continues to be the barrier that prevents even large institutions from procuring thousands of SSDs at a time. But just because we don’t have access to truly massive deployments of solid-state drives doesn’t mean we can’t shed some light on SSD reliability in the real world based on smaller organizations. We put the call out to many of our IT friends and we managed to get some interesting feedback from a few data centers.

 NoSupportLinuxHosting.com

X25-V: Mirrored Boot Volume

No Support Linux Hosting doesn’t get specific about the number of drives it has installed, but company reps tell us it uses "an extensive number" of SSDs. We know they’re dealing with fewer than 100 SSDs, and usage is broken down in the following manner:

  • 40 GB X25-Vs are used as mirrored boot volumes for blade serves and ZFS servers
  • 160 GB X25-Ms are used as cache (L2ARC) drives in ZFS servers.
  • 32 GB X25-Es are used as mirrored ZIL volumes in ZFS servers

All of these drives have seen at least one year of use, and some have recently passed the two-year mark. As of this writing, the company hasn't seen any failures.

When we asked what benefits the company is seeming from SSDs that couldn't be achieved with mechanical storage, we received the following response: "With ZFS and hybrid storage, SSD drives allow for huge performance increases over old-style spinners. We still use spinners for primary storage, so we are able to retain most of the cost benefits of spinners, while getting the performance benefits of SSDs. Eventually, we are planning to switch all of our SANs to purely SSD-based storage. For 2011, we will stick with hybrid storage using ZFS."

InterServer.net

InterServer only uses SSDs in its database servers. Specifically, it has Intel's X25-E (SSDSA2SH032G1GN) in its Xeon machines to take full advantage of high data throughput. How much performance are we talking about? InterServer tells us it is achieving an average of 4514 MySQL queries per second. On an older Xeon server equipped with IDE-based drives, it's looking at roughly 200-300 MySQL queries per second. We know these drives have been in use since 2009, and there are no reported failures thus far.

InterServer provided the following statement concerning SSD use.

Intel SSD's are night and day in failure rates when it comes to some other drives. For example the SuperTalent SSD drives have had an extremely high failure rate including model FTM32GL25H, FTM32G225H, and FTM32GX25H. I estimate about two-thirds of these drives have failed since being put into service. With these failures however, the drives were not recoverable at all. They generally disappeared completely, no longer being readable. Spinners die much more gracefully with an easier disk recovery. I cannot compare this to the Intel's SSDs yet since I have not experienced any failures.

  • hardcore_gamer
    Endurance of floating gate transistor used in flash memories is low. The gate oxide wears out due to the tunnelling of electrons across it. Hopefully phase change memory can change things around since it offers 10^6 times more endurance for technology nodes
    Reply
  • acku
    10444003 said:
    Endurance of floating gate transistor used in flash memories is low. The gate oxide wears out due to the tunnelling of electrons across it. Hopefully phase change memory can change things around since it offers 10^6 times more endurance for technology nodes

    As we explained in the article, write endurance is a spec'ed failure. That won't happen in the first year, even at enterprise level use. That has nothing to do with our data. We're interested in random failures. The stuff people have been complaining about... BSODs with OCZ drives, LPM stuff with m4s, the SSD 320 problem that makes capacity disappear... etc... Mostly "soft" errors. Any hard error that occurs is subject to the "defective parts per million" problem that any electrical component also suffers from.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    Reply
  • slicedtoad
    hacker groups like lulsec should do something useful and get this kind of internal data from major companies.
    Reply
  • jobz000
    Great article. Personally, I find myself spending more and more time on a smartphone and/or tablet, so I feel ambivalent about spending so much on a ssd so I can boot 1 sec faster.
    Reply
  • You guys do the most comprehensive research I have ever seen. If I ever have a question about anything computer related, this is the first place I go to. Without a doubt the most knowledgeable site out there. Excellent article and keep up the good work.
    Reply
  • acku
    slicedtoadhacker groups like lulsec should do something useful and get this kind of internal data from major companies.
    All of the data is so fragmented... I doubt that would help. You still need to take a fine toothcomb to figure out how the numbers were calculated.

    gpm23You guys do the most comprehensive research I have ever seen. If I ever have a question about anything computer related, this is the first place I go to. Without a doubt the most knowledgeable site out there. Excellent article and keep up the good work.
    Thank you. I personally love these type of articles.. very reminiscent of academia. :)

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    Reply
  • K-zon
    I will say that i didn't read the article word for word. But of it seems that when someone would change over from hard drive to SSD, those numbers might be of interest.

    Of the sealed issue of return, if by the time you check that you had been using something different and something said something else different, what you bought that was different might not be of useful use of the same thing.

    Otherwise just ideas of working with more are hard said for what not to be using that was used before. Yes?

    But for alot of interest into it maybe is still that of rather for the performance is there anything of actual use of it, yes?

    To say the smaller amounts of information lost to say for the use of SSDs if so, makes a difference as probably are found. But of Writing order in which i think they might work with at times given them the benefit of use for it. Since they seem to be faster. Or are.

    Temperature doesn't seem to be much help for many things are times for some reason. For ideas of SSDs, finding probably ones that are of use that reduce the issues is hard from what was in use before.

    When things get better for use of products is hard placed maybe.

    But to say there are issues is speculative, yes? Especially me not reading the whole article.

    But of investments and use of say "means" an idea of waste and less use for it, even if its on lesser note , is waste. In many senses to say of it though.

    Otherwise some ideas, within computing may be better of use with the drives to say. Of what, who knows...

    Otherwise again, it will be more of operation place of instances of use. Which i think will fall into order of acccess with storage, rather information is grouped or not grouped to say as well.

    But still. they should be usually useful without too many issues, but still maybe ideas of timiing without some places not used as much in some ways.
    Reply
  • K-zon
    with some places* maybe, seems to be happening alot for some reason.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    To the contrary! We noticed that readers were looking to see OWC's drives in our round-ups. I made sure they were invited to our most recent 120 GB SF-2200-based story, and they chose not to participate (this after their rep jumped on the public forums to ask why OWC wasn't being covered; go figure).

    They will continue to receive invites for our stories, and hopefully we can do more with OWC in the future!

    Best,
    Chris Angelini
    Reply
  • ikyung
    Once you go SSD, you can't go back. I jumped on the SSD wagon about a year ago and I just can't seem to go back to HDD computers =
    Reply