A host carried out a study on the reliability of storage media. It compares tray hard drives and SSD carriers there. The latter appear to be much more reliable. They break down much less often. However, the average age of hard drives is four times higher.

SSD study against HDD reliability
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You will have noticed that laptops offer fewer and fewer storage options based on a conventional hard drive, with magnetic trays. The configurations now systematically integrate an SSD. The price per gigabyte is more expensive, yes, but this storage format is very attractive for a computer that runs on a battery. The SSD consumes less power. It also takes up less space. And it is much faster.

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However, is SSD as reliable or even more reliable than platter hard drives? In theory, this is the case. Indeed, the SSD (Solid State Drive) has no removable parts. As a reminder, an SSD is made up of flash memory chips (such as a RAM bar or the storage of a smartphone). Conversely, the hard disk (or HDD) is based on platters, a motor to turn the platters and a read and write head which runs through the plate in its width to access information. So there are a lot of removable parts. And so many risks.

SSDs are getting cheaper, bigger and more reliable

Until now, HDDs and SDDs each had a different function. The former take care of large storage and the latter preserve system files for quick access. However, with the rapidly increasing storage capacities of SSDs and falling prices per gigabyte, SSDs are increasingly used for pure storage. This is the case of Backbaze, an American host which now has a mixed fleet made up of 1500 SSD and practically 1700 HDD.

SSD study against HDD reliability

Two and a half years after installing its first SSD for storage, the company conducted a study on the reliability of the two storage formats. This study therefore measures the number of failures recorded by format and relates it to the number of hard disks installed. In the first three months of 2021, the number of failures is 2 for SSDs and of 44 for HDD. For an almost similar number of supports, the reliability is therefore 20 times higher for the SSD.

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SSD don’t necessarily age as well as HDD

Over a longer period of time, HDD failure is less. Between April 2013 and March 2021, i.e. eight years of operation, HDDs recorded 559 failures. Is 35 failures per quarter. This means that the reliability of platter discs drops considerably as they age. Which makes sense. The rate is therefore higher in 2021 than in 2013, because the hard drives are older. Moreover, the authors of this study explain that the average age of SSDs in the fleet is 12.6 months, while that of HDDs is 49.6 months. Also, the youngest HDD is only 24 months old (and the oldest 96 months), while the oldest SSD is only 3 months old. It would be interesting to compare the failures on supports which are of the same age.

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