If you are a conscious and responsible person, it is likely that you will spend your life making backups of the data present on your PC, Laptop, and even smartphone! It is just as well that it does, since information is increasingly important for our personal lives and, of course, for our businesses.
That said, in the past, large companies had gigantic databases made up of various magnetic disks, that is, the old HDDs. Something still used in the market today, but which is undeniably slower compared to other more modern solutions that are based on NAND Flash memory, we are obviously talking about SSDs.
However, both the oldest and cheapest solution (HDD) as well as the latest and most expensive (SSD), have problems like any other technology in our modern world. After all, the performance of these devices can change a lot over time, even reaching a point where they 'die' for no apparent reason.
How long does the current storage last?
Well, forgetting about the monetary problem of losing an HDD or SSD, it is often much worse to lose the data inside. Since with the degradation of performance, we have several phenomena such as the crash of the operating system, corruption of the file system, etc …
All things that can be solved with the use of a data recovery application. However, recovery may not be 100% effective due to Bit Rot.
What is Bit Rot?
In short, Bit Rot is a phenomenon that causes the data on a drive to disappear over time. There are several reasons for this to happen, such as some kind of malfunction, lack of use of the drive, or even dust particles that managed to get into the mechanical drive.
However, here we must also bear in mind that this phenomenon does not happen by chance! It is necessary to take into account the environment in which the drive is located, the type of drive (SSD or HDD), the build quality of the manufacturer, etc … Which brings us to another subject. What is the average life expectancy of an HDD or SSD?
How does a HDD ‘die’?
As you may know, HDDs use magnetic disks to store all kinds of data. Consisting of a mechanical system with moving parts, very similar to a turntable. Since we are going to have a head that will be responsible for reading and writing the data on the 'plate'.
Thus, all information is stored and interpreted as 0’s and 1’s, that is, bits. However, with the use or lack of it, the phenomenon 'Flipping' can happen, which basically means that the drive has lost its magnetic capacity to store the bits we mentioned above. If the Flipping is very serious, we will have ‘Bit Rot’ as we said above.
However, it is necessary to take into account that a hard disk (HDD) is perfectly capable of storing information for years, even many years, all depending on its quality of construction (responsibility of the manufacturer), use of the user, and the environment in which it is. Interestingly, if you happen to have a NAS, or a very large backup system, it is possible to avoid Bit Rot as long as you use the drive at least 1x a year.
Attention! Unlike the vast majority of SSDs, Hard Drives (HDD) begin to fail before they completely break down, such as crash, file corruption, or strange but very audible noises inside the drive box. However, it is possible to recover data from a 'dead' drive.
How does an SSD ‘die’?
SSDs are a much more recent technology compared to hard drives. After all, as you may know, these drives are based on NAND Flash memory, just like a thumb drive. That is, they do not use any mechanical system with moving parts.
Thus, an SSD stores isolated layer data in the form of loads. However, if these layers wear out over time, the stored data may simply disappear.
In fact, today, when a memory chip 'dies', the entire SSD stops working! A major disadvantage compared to traditional hard drives, which are able to identify ‘Bad Sectors’ on the drive. However, Samsung is working on a new technology that will allow its SSDs to continue to function, by identifying defective chips, passing all information on to healthy chips. Thus, the drive will continue to function until all the chips stop working, which of course will result in a drive with less memory than the original, but which is still better than running out of nothing.
In addition, an SSD life cycle is immediately limited at the factory in the form of write / read cycles. A number that depends on the manufacturer, memory chips used, etc … You can find out more about it here:
Having said all that, an SSD can last for several years, as long as it is in an ideal environment, and its use is the most suitable. (Must be used at least once every 3 months)
There are no ways to store foolproof information. Nor is it possible to say that an SSD or HDD will last for 5, 10 or 15 years. After all, both an SSD and an HDD can die at any time. So it is always a good idea to be aware of the signals that both technologies offer when using. Like ‘crashes’, corrupted files, strange noises, or just underperforming performance.
I always advise some type of monitoring, since the vast majority of modern drives already come equipped with SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) functionality to keep the disk's health always under the eye.
Furthermore, what do you think about all this? Share your opinion with us in the comments below.
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Since I was very young I was interested in computers and technology in general, I had my first PC at 10 and at 15 I built my first tower, since then I never stopped. Whatever technology is, I'm in the front row to find out more.