Why SSD Drives Are Not So Good For Use On SERVER or Enterprise RAID Configs

First off, SSDs are much faster and are often times more reliable than any other media storage option. But when they are used in corporate or enterprise servers, things change. That’s because in this type of commercial atmosphere new data is constantly written and over written on them compared to the amount of use in a personal or small business desktop or laptop setting. In corporate settings databases get modified every other minute and SSDs do eventually get ‘tired’ with cells dying and sooner or later just become ‘read only’ tools. In the case of NAND flash modules, some just completely die altogether.

Yes, there are enterprise level SSDs on the market but the lifespan of these are in fact not all that different to regular SSDs. If anything, the enterprise SSDs contain slightly more memory cells to protect them from random cell failure. Considering that it the main difference, it doesn’t really make sense that an enterprise SSD costs so much more than a regular SSD. Maybe that’s a topic for a future blog post!

When comparing SSDs to HHDs in the process of data recovery, SSDs provide a greater challenge and sometimes are impossible to retrieve data from simply because of the encryption added to them from the manufacturer. The encryptions are on both the board and controller chips and it makes sense that they are there to protect the integrity of the product.

So, if you are using SSDs, it is always a good idea to have a good quality and reliable back up system in place if you are concerned about being able to access the data on those servers should something go sideways. I’m not trying to scare you, but with new technology, there is always a risk of data loss. Regardless of how solid the system may be, your only piece of insurance – provided your data is vital – is a back up. I cannot stress this enough. Regardless of the volume of use you get out of your hard drives, you still need to protect yourself from failures of any kind with a back up system.

Conversely, RAID data recovery is far more expensive than it is with regular hard drives. That is especially true when the RAID configurations contain ten or more drives in the system. That is to say, the cost of recovery is directly associated with the complexity of the set up.

There Are Several Advantages To SSDs

SSDs have a greater resistance to shock or damage simply because they contain no moving parts. There are no spinning platters, delicate components or things that have to be held in place in suspension in order to work properly. Of course, I’m talking about SSDs being shock and damage resistant when used is stationary servers sitting in temperature controlled settings. Well, that is provided that the stationary server location isn’t in an earthquake zone. I know, it may sound kind of funny, but there are countries elsewhere in the world where earthquakes offer serious problems to various forms of new technology. Even in California, which seems to experience a fair number of quakes (up to 7.2 on the Richter Scale), oddly enough hard drive failures are not a common issue.

Anyway, back to the train of thought regarding SSD advantages.

Here is a short list of them for you:

1 – Loading and access time is better and faster

2 – In most cases, they eventually become read only, so they just need to be replaced with new ones

3 – Overheating is not an issue as they are not spinning and data can constantly be written on them as a result without causing a burnout situation

4 – Shock resistance

The Disadvantages of SSDs

Well, this list is considerable shorter and it contains just the following:

1 – Recovering data from a physically damaged SSD is almost always impossible thanks to onboard encryptions. If your back up system fails, you are hooped as far as data recovery is concerned

2 – Enterprise SSDs are freakishly expensive running in the $1,500 range for a 200GB SAS.

The Bottom Line

You basically have to decide on whether or not it is worth investing in a SSD based server and include a reliable back up system as part of that cost.

For corporate based environments I would suggest just opting for regular high speed SAS HHDs. However, if you are a small business owner or just a casual home user, or you are constantly moving and still require a RAID config (but don’t intend to continually write data on it), a SSD server would be your best choice.

Guest article written by: Yevgeniy Kapishon is a data recovery engineer at ADRS® Aesonlabs Data Recovery Systems, blogger and a hardcore techno enthusiast living in Toronto, Canada. In his free time, he likes to wander and explore the back-alleys of his neighborhood with his best friend aka Cat by the name of Benjamin.

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