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HDD vs SSD durability

After reading Jeff Atwood's recent blog post on solid state drives, I'm somewhat deterred in wanting to own one. I basically want to use solid state drives in my home network for the following purposes (all machines running 64bit Linux):

  1. My main (pwn3r) desktop computer. This will be my main workstation for work, video encoding, etc. This will be running an Intel 980x 6-core processor, making it a beast. My hard disk configuration will be:
    • RAID-0: 2 Crucial 128GB Solid State drives for the main operating system(s), essentially providing 256GB of incredibly fast storage.
    • RAID-1: 2 WD 2TB Hard Disk drives for media and backup storage.
  2. My network firewall computer. This will be running Untangle on my home network for content filtering and firewalling (if that's a word). It will be running an Intel Atom D525 dual core 1.8GHz processor. The hard disk configuration will consist of a single small 16-32GB solid state drive for the operating system and little, if anything, else.
  3. My home HTTP/SFTP/file/backup server. This will be running a dual-core Intel i3 processor; it will be used for some video encoding, as a local DLNA server, a HTTP server for a few largely static files and perhaps some interactive scripts, a SSH server, possibly OpenVPN, and will be used to back up critical files over the network. It will be running RAID-X (where X > 0), meaning RAID-1 or RAID-5 or 6 for fast, redundant data storage, as well as a small SSD for the operating system.

I'm not exactly made of money, and I can't really count on buying four new SSDs every year or so. I can understand replacing them in computer number 1 once a year... maybe, but for the other computers which won't be utilizing the drive very much (ie: they're not power machines), it seems ridiculous to buy new drives this often.

My question is this: can I actually depend on solid state drives like I would on hard disk drives? Also, is this the best economic option? I'd like to save as much power and heat as I can, and solid state drives seem to be the best option at this point.

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marked as duplicate by squircle, ChrisF, sblair, Sathya May 4 '11 at 4:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

The consensus from @squircle linked question seems to be "SSD is best for reads and physical abuse - HDD's for writes". This seems to be because of the way SSD's use "cells", and how they are accessed. –  new123456 May 3 '11 at 23:10
Thus, for long-term backup, SSDs would be better as there are usually many more reads than writes? If you'd post an answer here denoting the best use of hard disks and solid state drives for the setup above, I'll award you the answer :) –  Naftuli Tzvi Kay May 3 '11 at 23:13

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Intel drives are rated for 20GB a day for 5 years. I can't see how that is not good enough for serious use. http://download.intel.com/design/flash/nand/mainstream/322296.pdf

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I'm a but skeptical about those failure rates, no information is given about their usage patterns or operating environment. This is a more sensible take on SSD's:

Chaos Monkeys and SSDs

That said, I did make sure my Acronis disk image backup was working properly :)

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Thanks, this is really good to know. The figures put forth in that article seemed WAY too intense, like using an SSD is like strapping yourself to a home-made V2 rocket and kicking the button: it'll be fast, but you might lose everything in the process. It seems that things are really to the extent that if it's a storage medium, practice backing up everything, and that SSDs and HDDs are more or less comparable. Thanks. –  Naftuli Tzvi Kay May 4 '11 at 1:11
@TKK - I don't think faults on SSD's make them any more risky than mechanical disks. The last two spinning metal HDD's that failed on me were as irrecoverable as a broken SSD. If I had a couple of thousand dollars to spare I might have got some data back by sending the disks to a specialist such as OnTrack. I think given the cheapness of spinning rust drives (or online storage if your upload speeds are good) and the feature laden capabilities of tools such as Acronis then there's no excuse for not doing backups. Sooner or later your storage will fail. –  Kev May 4 '11 at 12:06
When mechanical drives fail they can scratch the platter and then nothing can get it back When SSD fail just install a new controller. The cells can get to the point they won't write new data, but you can still read them. As I understand ... –  pcunite May 10 '11 at 2:12
@pcunite - actually, you can get data back after a head crash, it's expensive but it can be done (been there three times over the past 15 years). Head crashes in our experience are far less likely these days than motor failure or electrical component failure. Have you ever looked at a SSD assembly? The "controller" is an integral part of the PCB assy which is made up of surface mount components that were never designed to be servicable. Unless you have the $$'s for such a repair then you may as well write off an SSD as well. –  Kev May 12 '11 at 9:04

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