Do SSDs have higher reliability than HDDs? This study may have the solution.
Over a five-year usage period, solid state drives (SSDs) are more dependable than hard disc drives (HDDs). But when purchasing, there are other considerations as well.
According to cloud storage company Backblaze, solid state drives (SSDs) are more dependable than hard disc drives (HDDs), at least in some situations. To be honest, though, it might not really matter that much when determining what kind of storage to purchase.
This year, the business sought to resolve the controversy over which storage medium is more dependable—HDDs or SSDs. Backblaze offers businesses its B2 cloud storage together with a cloud backup service for laptops and computers.
The storage server boot discs in the Backblaze Cloud Storage platform are a mixture of SSDs and HDDs. Since 2018, it has largely used 2.5-inch SSDs to replace failed HDD boot drives (some are M.2 form factor drives). Backblaze’s SSD/HDD discs store log files and temporary files generated by the storage server in addition to booting the storage servers. Today, Backblaze stores more than two exabytes of data on more than 2,500 SSDs (a combination of Crucial, Dell, Micron, Seagate, and Western Digital).
Cloud computing is widely used. However, security is currently the largest problem.
In order to shed light on the “previously opaque realm of hard drive failure rates” and, presumably, to spark discussion about the technologies behind its service, the business tracks the annualised failure rate (AFR) of SSDs and HDDs.
It published the “controlled lifespan” SSD and HDD AFRs last year to take into consideration the age differences between the older HDDs and newer SSDs it was comparing. SSD failure rates were shown to be somewhat lower, though. (The issue with their data was that it didn’t yet have five years’ worth of data for SSDs, and HDD failure rates rose sharply after that time.)
At the time, it came to the conclusion that “the difference was certainly not enough by itself to justify the extra cost of purchasing an SSD versus an HDD,” noting that more important factors to take into account when choosing either technology were price, required speed, electricity, and form factor.
Now that there is an additional year’s worth of data on SSDs that are five years old, it has reached a different, albeit cautious, conclusion.
SEE: The importance of cloud security and why you shouldn’t disregard it.
In year four, the lifetime AFR for HDDs and SSDs was 1.83% and 1.05%, respectively, but in year five, the difference widened to 3.55% for HDDs and 0.92% for SDDs. In years 6, 7, and 8, the lifetime AFR for HDDs was, respectively, 5.23%, 6.26%, and 6.93%. We’ll have to wait and watch how its SSDs perform in the coming years.
It claims that, at least when used as boot drives in our scenario, “we can reasonably assert that SSDs are more dependable than HDDs at this point.”
Backblaze continues: “The failure rate of SSDs will undoubtedly begin to increase at some point. Additionally, it’s feasible that the SSDs may eventually face a wall, perhaps when they start to approach the limitations of their media wearout.”
However, that only takes out one of the factors consumers must consider when buying storage, with cost still being a major consideration considering that a 1TB SSD costs at least twice as much as a comparable capacity HDD.
Using the failure rate as a deciding criterion is actually debatable, according to Backblaze. Once age and drive days were taken into account, the two drive types were comparable, and the difference was most definitely insufficient to make an SSD more expensive than an HDD. “At this point, you are better off choosing depending on other aspects,” it advised. “Cost, required speed, electricity, required form factor, and so on.”