Solid State: When a good SSD goes bad.

In July of 2013 I was looking to replace my traditional hard drive for new solid state (SSD) drive. I spent a lot of time reading reviews online, comparing performance and prices. Eventually, I decided to buy an OCZ Vector 256GB SSD. At the time, SSDs cost about $1 per gig, so I spent about $260. (You could buy the same drive now for almost half that – $130.)

Until recently, I was really enjoying my SSD drive: Windows booted in about 20 seconds, programs opened immediately, copying large files was very quick. To be fair, I put a LOT of wear and tear on the drive between installing/uninstalling, testing new software and tools, Visio changes, and creating a few blog videos. Plus I would often use the drive to copy data from another failed drive to a new one.
Then it happened: I was in the middle of a remote support session with a client when The Blue Screen of Death appeared. Embarrassed, I told the client I would call back in a few minutes. (Fortunately, I had a backup laptop, and was back to work in the time it took my old laptop to boot up.) Once the support call was complete and resolved, I set my attention on figuring out what went wrong with my primary work laptop.

The laptop rebooted fine (sigh of relief.) I had run a backup of my laptop only three days before, so I felt confident that if this turned out to be a hardware problem, I would still be able to restore my data to another drive or to another PC. Regrettably, I did not get a chance to read the error message that was displayed in the BSOD – which is usually a big help. Next step was to review any windows updates that were recently installed, and try to remember if I had manually installed any new programs or attached any new devices. The only suspect I could find was a video driver update. Instead of uninstalling it, I used System Restore to go back to the day just before the update was installed. After restore, the laptop seemed to work fine for a few days. Then I started to notice a few problems: boot-ups were taking considerably longer, the system would hang if I had more than three programs open, and things just seemed to take longer: opening and saving documents, etc. I never saw another BSOD, but I was beginning to get nervous anyway. So I found my original hard drive, used a drive replicator to copy my SSD back to the old hard drive and swapped out the drives. Since then, I haven’t had any problems. Yes, the laptop runs slower with the old hard drive – but at least now it is stable and not failing. Though Murphy’s Law says that my laptop will crash as soon as I post this blog.

I was aware that SSD’s have a limit to the number of times you can write to them, the OCZ Vector was a great SSD while it worked, and I plan to do some more testing on the drive/update firmware/call their support when I get time. All in all, I would say getting a good two years out of it is acceptable. But I am currently looking for a different brand. Let me know if you have any suggestions or questions.

 

Chase

Chase Reitter
Network Consultant
Custom Systems Corporation
chase.reitter@customsystems.com

©Custom Systems Corporation 2015

Should You Upgrade to a Solid State (SSD) Hard Drive?

Spoiler alert! Yes.

At first, I didn’t see the big deal.  They used to cost too much.  Early generation Solid State drives (SSD) had impressive read speeds, but slow write speeds.  And the storage space was not large enough.  That has changed in the last year, as SSD write speeds, prices, and sizes look better and better every day.

So what are the advantages of using an SSD hard drive?  For starters, they are much faster than traditional hard drives.  They have no moving parts, the disks don’t spin, and are therefore less prone to failure.  They are light-weight, making your laptop easier to carry.  SSD drives also give off much less heat than traditional hard drives, so your PC or laptop uses less energy.

Replacing your old hard drive with a new SSD drive can also be very easy.  I purchased a Samsung EVO drive, which included a migration tool.  It only took about 20 minutes to move.  There are also disk copy products available like Acronis or CloneZilla.

After you install your new SSD drive (or if you have one already) remember to disable defrag.  Defragmenting your SSD drive is not only pointless, it can harm your drive.

Another scenario: We just recently began to implement SSD drives in our server  RAID array designs.  So far, we are only using them in RAID 1 configurations – as buying more than 2 SSD drives at this point can still add up to a lot of cash.   But vendors like IBM, EMC, and HP are currently working on new ways to use disk fail-over – which may even lead to new ways of looking at RAID arrays.

Questions? We can help. As always, we can provide your company with a free Network Assessment. Just call or click today.

AZS-4

Chase Reitter
Network Consultant
Chase.Reitter@CustomSystemsCorp.com