Are solid state drives a lot more reliable than traditional HDDS?

fcek used Ask the Experts™

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Will data recovery companies cease to exist if they are so reliable?
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All types of HDDs will age, so in a word, no.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.

There are advantages and disadvantages.  See

Popular use is for SSD's to contain the operating system and application files only.  Data goes onto a standard mechanical disk.  The SSD is thus only a read only drive (mostly) and gives fast startup times and application launch times.

Writing to a SSD will cause wear and eventual failure.
No! even if everything goes well, Users may accidentally delete some files or re-formatting a partition.
on the other hand, some non-deterministic events like burning can happen to any "Reliable" media... so there is many acceptable reasons for existence of such companies.
In terms of reliability, yes they are better.  But by how much, is up for debate.  Reliability is usually expressed as Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF).  Manufacturers claim the MTBF for an SSD can be over 2 Million Hours.  However, I have seen claims for standard hard drive's MTBF of over 1.2 Million hours.  The problem is that 1.2 Million Hours is over 130 years!  Clearly it's not demonstrable that any drive is capable of operating without failure for 130 years, so these figures are theoretical at best, and it's not unthinkable that they are pure marketing fluff.

>> Will data recovery companies cease to exist if they are so reliable

The bulk of the revenue of these companies comes from restoring failed RAIDs and SSDs are not going to replace them any time soon due to poor write performance. They also recover data from floppy disc, tape, optical media, USB "key" drives and other places.
Actually SSDs have the potential to create work for data recovery companies.  Due to the way that data is written to the drive, when you overwrite a file the old content is likely to be left intact (but inaccessible) on the drive.  It's therefore possible for a data recovery expert to retrieve the old content at a later time.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Yes, they are FAR more reliable IF they don't have infant mortality issues.    ALL hard drives are subject to "infant mortality" failures where some of the electronic components fail.    But once past that, by far the most common failures with hard drives are with the mechanical components.    Traditional hard drives are rated for ~50,000 spinup/spindown cycles;  have bearing/actuator/head issues that can result in failures; and of course are subject to mechanical head crashes (usually as a result of physical movement of the drives during access).   NONE of these apply to SSDs.      SSDs do have potential failures of the NAND cells after several million writes;  but with modern TRIM drives they won't reach this stage for many years.      Bottom line:  An SSD will not only be a much faster drive;  but it will be far more reliable.     The major downside is the cost/gigabyte, which is still many times higher for SSDs than for traditional drives.

HOWEVER ... no matter how reliable, no drive is 100% reliable -- so using SSDs does NOT by any means eliminate the need for maintaining good backups.     And they DO still fail ... so data recovery companies will still be needed to recover data from the failed units for those who ignore the "always have a good backup" rule  (unfortunately there will always be plenty of folks in this category).

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