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SSDs, tonic medicine and the next flash / flu pandemic

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - November 11, 2010
One of the quirky things for me as a writer is that sometimes an article which I may have written 3 to 5 years ago shoots up the reader popularity charts and overtakes newer content - because arcane issues - which once upon a time only SSD business experts cared about (akin to how many angels can you fit on the point of a needle) eventually start to affect ordinary people at the receiving end of the technology adoption cycle.

When that happens - I do updates with sidebar mini articles and links. And after a while the content in those add-ons can grow to nearly the same size as the original article. Result? - You get some very messy looking web pages.

A good example of this phenomenon is my classic article about SSD endurance myths. Nowadays everybody has heard of flash endurance and its possible impact on SSD life. Some SSD makers are so proud of their special talents in endurance wizardry that they focus on it in their marketing.

For SSD users - the risk of flash SSD wear-out due to ineffective endurance control is like that of influenza. Just because you've already had it before - or been inoculated against the previous strain doesn't mean you are invulnerable to what may happen in the next flash / flu pandemic.

Even if you have read my original myths article back in 2007 - the new add on bits, follow ups and perspectives might make it worth another look.

SSD oems mostly didn't want to say much about endurance 6 or 7 years ago - and they didn't want to disclose how they managed it. Now you can't shut them up! So there's a lot of new material tossed in there which didn't exist when the article was first written. I've linked to the best of external articles too.

When I glance at SSD discussion sites it's clear that many people still don't understand that there are many more approaches to the management of flash media - its defects and problems - than just the single issue of endurance - and that there are also different approaches to managing the headline process called "wear leveling" too.

You may ask - why should you need to know? Can't you just trust the brand label on the product you buy - and assume that the SSD designers knew what they were doing? If you look at other things you buy - like medicine, food or cars - it takes decades of government regulation and standards to make sure that what you buy doesn't kill you - and might do some good.

A good way to think about SSDs is like vitamin supplements or medicine for computers. It can make new computers more sprightly and keep older computers running longer. Governments are too slow to regulate what goes into SSDs - and even storage standards ORGs are too slow and only start brewing the coffee for the inaugural meeting years after the market has already begun. You have to be careful about swallowing any new pills just because you found they got a good write-up on the internet. And it's the same with SSDs too.
SSD jargon - such as - write amplitude to garbage collection etcclick for article Nevertheless reading the list of ingredients can help if you understand the words. And endurance management is just one of many.

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the wizard Spellabyte is stirring the potion - image for this article
Spellabyte stirs the
the anti-wear-out potion.
"It's like putting the wrong tires on your car. Everything's OK on the daily commute. You see the difference when you hit snow or drive around a bend at 120 mph."
...from:- endurance issues in flash SSD operating life
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SSD Data Recovery Methodologies
It's hard enough understanding the design of any single SSD. And there are so many different designs in the market.

Have you ever wondered what it looks like at the other end of the SSD supply chain - when a user has a damaged SSD which contains priceless data with no usable backup?
broken barrel image - click to read this data recovery article This article - written by Jeremy Brock , President, A+ Perfect Computers - who is one of a rare new breed of SSD recovery experts - will give you some idea. read the article is published by ACSL