There are many informative blog posts that explore SSD lifespan. That being said, there are five powerful stats that show why SSD lifespan trumps HDD lifespan and that value-added resellers (VARs) should know. Then, in order to help them clear up the murkiness of the SSD/HDD longevity reality, we’ll look at some of the statistics that show why SSDs are the better bet.
While the question of lifespan has been generally answered in favor of SSDs, VARs can look to the following statistics that show why and how they have proven to be superior in terms of lifespan:
- HDDs are electromechanical devices, so an HDD is totally reliant on a series of moving parts—a spinning disk that’s read by a moving arm with a magnetic head. Like anything with moving parts, it will break eventually.
- HDDs are prone to suffering what is called a “head crash,” where the head touches and scrapes across the disk. This can be caused by all manner of things, from a power cut or surge to physical shock to a manufacturing defect. With regular use, a head crash, or other physical failure, will be the reason you need to replace the drive long before any other form of degradation sets in.
- In the IT world, the accepted statistics for HDD lifespan is five years. A recent study by backup storage and cloud services provider Backblaze analyzed the lifespan of more than 41,000 drives used in its data centers. In that study, the lifespan of an HDD dropped down to four years if it was seeing constant use, like in a server unit.
- In a recent SanDisk blog post, the SSD and HDD manufacturer cited an early and still-referenced SNIA article about SSD versus HDD mean time between failure (MTBF). In it, the statistic cited was that HDDs see an MTBF of one million hours, while SSDs show 2.1 million hours, which means that SSDs have more than twice the longevity of HDDs.
- VAR clients need to understand that SSD lifespan is judged on reads and writes that the drive performs rather than actual hours of use. To that end, the statistics from the recent Tech Report stress test saw more than 700 terabytes of data read and written to a single SSD before it failed. Taking into account the three- to five-year warranty and manufacturer expectations of writing 20 gigabytes to 40 gigabytes per day in data, it would take 50 years to reach the drive’s expected lifespan. While this is 10 times the expected lifespan of an HDD, two other SSDs from the test—a Samsung 840 Pro and a Kingston HyperX 3K—surpassed the two-petabyte data-write benchmark.
While these statistics clearly show how SSD lifespan trumps HDD lifespan, VARs need to be able to use SSD benefit analogies and also go deeper into the true measure of SSDs in order to help their clients make an informed decision based on expanded evidence. This evidence may be more than some business owners want to know, but others in the IT space will need to know that integrators understand the bigger picture behind the stats.