Beware of archiving on SSDs

Solid-state disks are wonderful things: quick, power-efficient, and mechanically robust.

But it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t use them for archiving data on a shelf, unless you keep them provided with power.

This KoreLogic blog post discusses the problem in terms of preserving legal evidence, and notes:

For client application SSDs, the powered-off retention period standard is one year while enterprise application SSDs have a powered-off retention period of three months. These retention periods can vary greatly depending on the temperature of the storage area that houses SSDs.

Now, I haven’t had a very good track record from my spinning drives in general, and I assume that any data on them is probably ephemeral unless they are in a RAID array. All of my computers use SSDs internally now.

But for offline archiving purposes, old-fashioned hard drives are definitely better.

Thanks to Charles Arthur for the link.

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1 Comment

Another “interesting” feature I have discovered is that SSDs can fail “read only”. This seems like a good idea initially. However, if you want to claim on your warrantee (and I assure you that even top brands do fail!) you then have to send them I drive full of your precious data! Hence, I now use disk encryption.

But this then leaves me with a niggling worry that when I come to recover my data the relevant crypto software may not be available to me anymore. Nor can and can I simply mount the drive in any handy spare system to recover data.

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