For effective data back-up, health IT managers turn to flash

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

Jeff Rowe | Aug 20, 2018 12:00 am

One of the top responsibilities of any health IT department is to ensure that critical data is backed-up and available on demand, but the range of available choices makes determining the right back-up storage technology a perplexing process.

For example, tech writer John Edwards recently pointed out that while the perceived cost advantage HDDs have over SSDs keep them the top on-site data center storage choice, SSDs are, in fact, “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.


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