Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Given the physical characteristics of flash memory, are SSDs an appropriate long-term storage medium for backups, etc.? Is their decay rate such that it is amenable to using them for rolling backups (thereby avoiding the wear issues)?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I wouldn't try it. The floating charges that are used to store the bits can degrade within a few years. The more the flash memory has been used, the more likely this will happen. (The over-voltage used to erase the cells can be hard on the components.)

Electrical storage media (these days) generally do not have as long a lifetime as their magnetic counterparts. Charge can seep away but magnetic spin is much more stable by comparison.

share|improve this answer

Sorry to be negative but I can't think of a worse use for SSDs myself - just on price/performance alone, forget their retention capabilities. Again, sorry to be negative.

share|improve this answer
To be fair, the question wasn't about price/performance, just about whether or not the data would stay were it was put :) – Jeremy Huiskamp May 7 '09 at 22:02

The technology is way too new to be used as a long-term storage medium of any kind. Every three months new, unexpected high-impact performance issues are being discovered. So clearly the technology isn't quite ready for prime time. If the data is valuable and needs to be saved, the solutions are:

  • Disk-based archival systems (yours or someone else's)
  • Tape
  • Multiple permutations of the above.
share|improve this answer
The question wasn't particuarly about performance; more about archival quality and degradation. Generally, archival media are less concerned with performance than most other bulk storage types. – Paul Sonier May 11 '09 at 16:31
The unexpected performance issues are a good way to demonstrate that SSD solutions aren't fully baked yet. If the people making these things haven't figured out how to keep performance consistent for more than a few months, do you really think that they've thought long and hard about archiving? Archiving is a discipline where being cautious and conservative is a really good idea. – duffbeer703 May 11 '09 at 18:51

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.