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

Steadfast Networks: More Than 100 SSDs

Steadfast Networks uses about 150 Intel SSDs, making its operation slightly larger-scale than the previous two businesses. This inventory list includes the X25-E (32 GB and 64 GB) and X25-M (80 GB and 160 GB). To a lesser extent, the company also uses 40 GB X25-Vs, and other customers have used/requested OCZ's Vertex 2, SuperTalent, and MTron Pro drives. Regardless of brand, you will only see these SSDs deployed in database servers or as cache drives.

Steadfast Networks : Close to 150 SSDs in use!

Over the course of two years, the company has only experienced two errors requiring drive replacement, and both resulted in the company getting its data off of the SSDs. Information recovery from a failed SSD depends on the interaction between the controller and firmware. InterServer’s experience with SuperTalent's SSDs on the previous page sounds like a worst-case situation, since none of its information was retrievable. That's not always the case, though.

Number of DrivesAvg. AFRYears in Use
SSDs~1501.6%2+
Hard Drives~28005%6+

With a larger dataset, we finally see some SSD failures. Compared to hard drives, though, the failure rates are still much lower. However, the president of Steadfast Networks, Karl Zimmerman, feels this still understates the benefit of SSDs. He provides the following explanation.

We simply get significantly higher I/O [with SSDs] at a lower cost than we'd be able to get with standard drives. We've had many customers needing more I/O than what 4x 15k RPM SAS drives in RAID 10 provide, and an upgrade involves moving to a larger server chassis to support more than four drives, a larger RAID card, etc. Other configurations have needed 16+ 15k RPM drives to get the necessary I/O. Going with a single SSD (or a couple SSDs in RAID) greatly simplifies the configurations and makes them much cheaper overall. That is then compounded by the fact that you generally use one SSD to replace 4+ standard drives on average. You're then looking at a 20%+ AFR with hard drives and 1.6% with an SSD.

  • 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