About the Author

Douglas EadlineDouglas Eadline PhD, is both a practitioner and a chronicler of the Linux Cluster HPC revolution. He has worked with parallel computers since 1988 and is a co-author of the original Beowulf How To document.  Prior to starting and editing the popular http://clustermonkey.net web site in 2005, he served as Editor-in-chief for ClusterWorld Magazine. He is currently Senior HPC Editor for Linux Magazine and a consultant to the HPC industry. Doug holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Lehigh University and has been building, deploying, and using Linux HPC clusters since 1995.

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A blog about making HPC things (kind of) work

As recently reported by bit-tech, a survey has found that many people have experienced data loss from solid state storage. Could this be a problem?

The survey was put together by Kroll Ontrack and included responses from 560 people. Interestingly, 57% said they had experienced data loss when using SSD/flash technology while 75% also considered the recovery of data from SSD/flash to be nearly impossible or complicated when compared to the techniques used to extract data from broken or damaged hard disks. Then in what seems quite contrary, 75% of respondents believed that SSD/flash is a safer, more robust storage technology. Finally, over 90% of respondents said they perceived SSD/flash technology to be reliable. There was no breakdown between SSD's and flash devices. I would assume thumbdrives have more issues than SSD's due to the way they are used.

Where to begin. Okay people, it is 2011, if you loose data, it is your fault. Stuff breaks. There are a multitude of cheap and simple ways to backup TBytes of data. My conclusion, 60% of the people who took the survey deserved to loose their data. Second, how do 70% of the respondents know how hard it is to recover data from an SSD or flash drive? Have seven out of ten people you know lost data on a SSD or flash drive and tried to recover it?

Now comes the totally illogical part. Of the same bunch of imbeciles that lost data on an SSD or flash drive, a full 90% perceived the technology to be reliable. That is like saying, We had a picnic in the middle of the freeway, six of our ten guests got hit by a car, but almost everyone thinks this is safe activity. Where is my clue stick.

The survey seems absurd until you consider the source. A data recovery firm that promises to get your data back. What a surprise. That is like an ambulance company telling you to have a picnic in the middle of the road; Sure it is dangerous, but we are there to help (and get paid) when things go wrong. I'm not arguing SSDs do not break, they do, I had to get my SSD replaced because it would randomly disappear until the system was cold booted, but bogus data loss and failure rates are just Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) used to drive business. If there is anything the Internet has taught me, the more unbelievable a story headline reads, the more it is.