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Health IT managers turning to flash for more effective data back-up

According to experts, SSDs are both reliable for day-to-day use and suited for backup applications where performance is a top priority.

Jeff Rowe | Feb 02, 2018 04:05 pm

Ensuring critical data is backed-up and available on demand is a top responsibility of any health IT department, but given the range of choices determining the right back-up storage technology can be a perplexing process.

For example, while the perceived cost advantage HDDs over SSDs keep them the top on-site data center storage choice, tech writer John Edwards recently pointed out that SSDs are “highly reliable for routine data center use. Yet, it's difficult to directly compare hard disk and SSD data storage reliability, since SSDs are relatively new, still evolving and tend to fail in different ways from their magnetic counterparts. Hard drives often succumb to mechanical failure, as well as poor ventilation. Lacking any critical mechanical components, SSDs can tolerate hostile environments much better than hard drives. A functioning SSD can shrug off temporary hot and cold temperatures, drops, high pressure and multiple G-forces that would kill a typical hard drive.”

On the other hand, he notes, studies show that age -- not usage -- is often the prime factor affecting SSD reliability. “SSD performance slows as it ages. A nearly full SSD will exhibit much slower write operations than a partially filled counterpart, and eventually, its memory cells will wear out.”

In the end, he says, while data storage reliability is an important goal, no technology is perfect. There will always be a need to maintain accurate and easily accessible backups.