Extending the life of an SSD drive

Users can keep their SSDs functioning longer by only storing the most critical applications on them.

In today's marketplace, downtime and latency are becoming less acceptable to consumers and clients. With the wide availability of high-performance systems, organizations of all sizes are expected to provide end users with reliable service. More businesses and professionals are leveraging solid state technology to improve the performance of their critical applications, particularly those that are consumer focused. SSD drives are a much more responsive data storage solution than standard HDD technology. Due to its internal architecture, the latter is prone to causing significant bottlenecks, preventing users from quickly launching applications and accessing important documents files. The NAND flash memory embedded in solid state technology is not beholden to such physical limitations, allowing convenient access to the files stored on an SSD. 

Another benefit to lacking sensitive internal components is that SSD drives are less susceptible to physical degradation over time. HDD read/write heads can break down and magnetic platters can stop spinning, but solid state technology is much more durable. SSDs are not, however, everlasting. They have a finite number of write cycles and once they have been exhausted, they cease operating. Depending on the device and the type of installed flash memory chip, the number of cycles it can complete in its lifespan can be anywhere from 3,000 for consumer grade MLCs to 100,000 for high-end SLCs, PCWorld reported.

Limit read/write cycles
Users can take certain steps to extend the shelf life of their SSD drives, however. Most importantly, businesses should ensure that only the most important data is stored on these high-powered devices. Operating systems and mission-critical applications are good candidates for solid state storage. Viewable documents and media files, meanwhile, do not typically require the performance benefits provided by this technology. Storing them on an SSD drive is not simply a waste of valuable space, but will bring the drive a step closer to the end of its lifespan every time they are accessed. PCWorld also noted that while defragging is occasionally necessary with HDD devices, the process has little value for SSD drives and will instead conduct multitudinous, tiny writes that will adversely affect their longevity.

The tech gurus at Tom's Hardware stumbled upon another method to extend the life of an SSD drive, according to ITworld. They noticed that when the RAM of a computer was quadrupled, the system made fewer writes to the SSD drive when accessing its data. In one example, the testers identified 64 percent less input/output activity than when using less memory. To ensure that a business' solid state technology remains operational for the longest period of time possible, users should limit the number of unnecessary write cycles completed. 

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