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SSD Life: The Easiest Way To Sell Your Customers on Switching

September 17, 2017

When you’re trying to sell a business on SSDs as a go-to storage solution, you might find the company digging its heels in. Sure, everybody wants to be on the cutting edge of technology, but when considering a switch to an entirely different type of drive, anxieties about if it will work, as well as what a business currently has in place, are expected.

With SSDs, a client may have concerns about drive longevity based on outdated assessments of older drives. Although the SSDs of just a few years ago may have given users reason to worry about the well-being of their data, the SSDs of 2015 have lifespans that should give no cause for concern. The following will help sell customers on the idea that SSDs not only are a safe bet, but also can be a better one than HDDs.

SSD Life Is Longer than Ever Before

The data point that tends to make customers nervous with SSD technology is the fact that the drives have a finite number of program/erase (P/E) cycles. A P/E cycle is what happens every time a user writes data to, and then deletes data from, a drive.

A finite number would seem to indicate that a drive can only write and erase data a certain amount of times before the drive becomes unstable or goes bad. But the number of these cycles on modern drives is so high compared with the amount of data an average user writes, that some endurance tests have indicated that a user will most likely get a new drive due to a desire for an upgrade long before maxing out an SSD’s P/E cycles.

Furthermore, new methods to increase the efficiency with which SSDs write and erase data are always being researched and implemented. Stretching out SSD drive life is an industry priority, and thus, innovation has led to SSDs that are far more efficient in how they treat P/E cycles.

Wear Leveling Extends Life Even Longer

The way SSDs work is by writing data to blocks of flash memory. Because individual blocks may be written and erased from more frequently than others, this can conceivably lead to uneven drive wear. However, many SSD controllers today utilize wear-leveling technology.

There are a few different types of wear leveling. What is most important for customers to know, though, is that wear leveling extends drive life considerably by making sure that the blocks of memory that are written and erased are spread throughout the drive in a well-managed, orderly fashion. Thus, instead of virtually scraping away at one block until it collapses—and taking out the drive even though it is filled with other perfectly good blocks of memory—the wear is spread around so that every block wears evenly. Obviously, this strategy extends drive life.

So How Long Will an SSD Last vs. an HDD?

It is always important to recognize that no technology is 100 percent reliable. Whether an SSD or an HDD, drives can go bad in a multitude of ways, some seemingly random and unprovoked. So having data backed up in multiple places is always smart. There are any number of factors that can damage an individual drive or cause it to fail. 

But in terms of SSD life versus HDDs, SSDs are well on the way to meeting, possibly even surpassing, HDD life in settings where no outside forces are acting on the drive. On top of that, HDDs, because of the physical mechanism they use to write data, are far more susceptible to damage from outside events such as impacts or extreme heat. Thus, with the growing list of benefits of SSDs, a customer should have no fears about a higher chance of data loss when they’re thinking about switching.

 Have you seen SSDs starting to outlast HDDs for your customers?