We ran across a compelling article on Inside Analysis called, “Is Spinning Disk About to Die?” which argues we may be at a tipping point regarding the use of Solid State Drives (SSDs) instead of hard disk drives (HDDs). Here’s an excerpt:
Spinning disk, or hard disk drive (HDD), has been under threat for quite a while with the cost of solid-state drive (SSD) falling at about 50% per annum. But in the past year or so, the price of SSD – or flash memory devices – has fallen faster and it is becoming disruptive.
You tend not to use all of an HDD, but you can and are eventually likely to fill an SSD to capacity – so SSD has greater capacity than the raw store capacity figures suggest. HDD consumes more power, takes more data center space and requires more data center labor. SSD is faster to read and write than high performance HDD, and that matters for many applications, but there is no easy comparison to make here – it is very contextual. It’s also a changing picture, mainly because SSDs are on an accelerating technology curve.
Why is this important to those responsible for end-of-life IT asset management and IT asset disposal/disposition (ITAD)? Because at some point, all of these SSDs will need to be upgraded or replaced, and the typical data destruction process will not suffice to protect your data. As we point out in this October 2012 blog post, shred particle size is critical.
The best practice to destroy a solid-state drive is via hard drive shredding. (But) we discovered that the shred width (particle size) was critical to the success of destroying the small memory chips in SSDs where the data is stored. Typically, a shred width of ½” or smaller is needed to break through the small memory chips and securely obliterate the data. Many standard industrial shredders will shred to 1” particle size, thus allowing the memory chips to slip through the hammers that shred the data, leaving sensitive information in tact. When destroying SSDs, awareness of the appropriate shred width distinction to break through the memory chips is crucial.
So make sure you update your end-of-life process for SSDs by ensuring your service provider can deliver the small shred size necessary to render the data useless.