Category Archives: Misc.

HDD vs SSD

Is the battle for data storage supremacy over? Have hard disk drives finally left solid state drives eating their dust or have SSDs finally overtaken HDDs and left the old-timers behind?

For those who aren’t familiar with the differences between the two, here they are in a nutshell: hard disk drives or HDDs rely on a moving actuator and a read/write head to read or write data on spinning disks. Solid state drives or SSDs, on the other hand, have no moving parts. In most cases, they rely on NAND-based flash memory.

So, as of today, which technology holds the upper hand for data storage? Have a steaming cup of coffee while I fill you in on the latest.

Which drive can store more for less?

Aside from being more affordable, hard disk drives are still preferred because of their larger storage capacities. But the disparity between their capacities is gradually shrinking.

Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said for their price tags. Today, you can find 1 TB hard disks below $100. As for 1 TB solid state drives, you’d be extremely lucky to find one that would cost below $1,000. As a matter of fact, $2,000 to $4,000 pricetags for 1 TB SSDs are quite common.

And by the looks of it, things aren’t going to change much in the near future if we talk about their differences in costs per GB. Some analysts even think they’re going to remain this way for 5-10 years.

Drive Performance

This is where SSDs reign supreme. Because HDDs have to move an actuator arm, read/write head, and disk platters to access data, there’s a substantial delay compared to SSDs. While this may be unnoticeable for regular users, power users – who typically open multiple applications at the same time – will easily see the difference.

Start up, random access, and reading activities are all faster for solid state drives compared to hard disks. Remember those times when you had to defragment your drive to improve performance? This isn’t necessary anymore with solid state drives.

To top it all, an SSD does all this at a lower power consumption rate. Hard disks drain energy faster because some energy has to be allocated for moving the heads and spinning the platters. That’s why computer manufacturers once successfully sold out large quantities of notebooks with SSDs. Some users were attracted to their long battery lives.

Storage reliability issues

Now, what about reliability? In this aspect, which one has a clear advantage over the other? Most businesses – and perhaps even regular users – will prefer a storage device that can offer a better guarantee for the safety of their data

Having a drive with a large capacity or faster performance is great, but if you haven’t backed it up and can’t retrieve any of your data from it again, that’s going to translate to huge financial losses, missed opportunities, and wasted time.

So which technology has the edge in this department? Let’s take a closer look.

HDD Storage Reliability

Theoretically speaking, HDDs are supposed to be more susceptible to failures because of their moving parts. They can also fail for a variety of reasons: head crashes, too high temperature, too low temperature, static electricity, power surges, vibrations, or pollution of the air inside the sealed unit.

Failure rates of different HDDs can be as low as 3% and as high as 13%. As HDDs get older, they suffer from wear-and-tear and hence become more prone to failures; they typically exhibit failure rates of at least 6% for those units that are more than 2 years old.

HDDs can maintain acceptable failure rates only up to 3 years. Beyond that, you’d be exposing your data to high risks. By comparison, SSDs are expected to stay reliable up to 10 years… but again, that’s theoretical.

SSD Storage Reliability

When the netbook craze first started, manufacturers opted to use SSDs was because of their low power consumption and low failure rates during lab tests.

Interestingly, however, their supposed reliability didn’t manifest in the outside world. Failure rates of 10% to 20% were being reported for some netbooks carrying SSDs (many times a SSD can fail due to the controller, not the drive itself). By contrast, netbooks carrying HDDs had failure rates of 2% or less.

Still, because of their relatively higher prices, SSDs haven’t been used as extensively in desktops and servers as HDDs have. Thus, the experience of netbook users can’t be the sole gauge in determining whether HDDs are more reliable.

Summary

What can learned from these figures is that over time, SSDs and HDDs can have failure rates greater than 10%. That’s not good by any standard and that doesn’t bode well for people who rely so much on their data to keep their business running (and in this age, who doesn’t?).

Therefore, regardless what type of drive you use, it is important that you perform regular backups to your data. Just because you have a solid state drive holding your data doesn’t mean it’s safe from failure.

About the Author

Eric Nagel manages OnlineBackupsReview.com where he reviews online backup services, including Mozy, and reports on the latest industry news. He also provides readers an exclusive 15% off Mozy promotional code so they can save on the only 5-star-rated online backup service, Mozy.

Back Up, Don’t Smash Up!

Imagine if someone offered you a shiny new MacBook (or PC, if you don’t follow the Cult of Jobs) to replace your dinosaur of a laptop. You’d jump at the chance, wouldn’t you?

But what if you had to hand it over right there, along with all your files, documents, pictures and music that you had stored on it? And what if you then had to smash it to pieces and watch all your work be destroyed right in front of you?

It turns out that mom was right. It really is what’s inside that counts. Our research shows that people in the UK valued their data, on average, at £12,484. Suddenly the swap doesn’t seem such a good idea, does it? Of course, if you’d backed up your data, all you’d be handing over would be worn-out keys and a smudged screen.

Our team in the UK took to the streets of London to tempt a stream of commuters with an incredible offer: a brand-new MacBook – if they smashed up their old laptop right there. Was anyone confident enough in their backup to take our challenge?

Check out what happened in our video:

Mozy Support Video: How to Sign Up For MozyHome

This is the first in a series of videos we’ve created to help you get the most out of Mozy. This video explains how to sign up for a new MozyHome account.

For more tips, tricks, tutorials, and help with Mozy, go to http://support.mozy.com.

Earth Day 2010

On this important day when millions of people across the globe gather together for Earth Day, I sit at my desk and look at the scanner I picked up a few weeks ago. I think about the continuing trend where more of us are trading our filing cabinets for scanners, where old shoe boxes of photos have found their way on our computers )and sometimes on our wall on Facebook). In our own small way, we work together to protect the environment by digitizing our information and recycling the original copies.

As we move to a digital world where our documents, music, photos, video and personal information is digitized, we reduce our waste and environmental footprint. Unfortunately, all that information can be lost in an instant if our hard drive crashes or if a drink gets spilled on our computers. Just yesterday I received an e-mail from Mark Fuerst who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He told me he accidentally erased his records of his earnings from last year while preparing for this year’s taxes. Within a few minutes, he recovered all his information through his Mozy account. He said both he and his accountant are “eternally grateful.”

So whether you’re backing up online with Mozy or backing up to an external hard drive with an Iomega device, we encourage you to keep your data safe and keep being green.

- Devin Knighton

Snow Leopard Adoption on Mozy

Just one month after Snow Leopard’s release, we’ve learned that just over 30 percent of our Mac users are running Snow Leopard. This puts our adoption rate right along with the adoption rates reported by The Omni Group (27.5%) and Adium (28.43%). Although these don’t represent the entire Mac community, they do give a general idea of how many people are migrating to Snow Leopard.

The idea to look at our customer’s adoption of Snow Leopard came from Daring Fireball and Macworld. Both collected similar data for their sites. We find it significant that our adoption rate puts the Mozy service closer to the mainstream Mac audience. By bringing the first unlimited online backup service to the Mac, Mozy has been embraced by more than just early adopters and techies. Mac users from different geographies and age groups are gathering more and more irreplaceable digital content they can’t risk losing, and they’re backing that data up with Mozy. In fact, we currently back up over 15 petabytes of data.

Our engineers were so excited about the new operating system that they had Mozy ready to support Snow Leopard before it was officially released. With Snow Leopard, Mozy can run faster and use less memory, meaning a quicker and more enjoyable backup experience for our users.

Here is a chart to show Snow Leopard’s adoption among our Mozy for Mac users. Enjoy!

Mozy Snow Leopard Adoption Graph

Backing Up Hundreds of Gigabytes with Mozy

From time to time, we hear from customers with hundreds of gigabytes of data who complain about the length of time it takes to complete their initial backup. We realize that it can be painful to get all your data backed up for the first time, and we’re constantly working to alleviate that pain, including optimizing bandwidth distribution for blazing backup speeds.

However, a customer may still face limitations from his or her own Internet service provider. The problem is that providers often compete with one another by providing faster and faster download speeds, but they don’t often provide faster upload speeds. As a result, initially backing up hundreds of gigabytes online can take quite a bit of time.

The good news is twofold. First, if Mozy is interrupted in the middle of a long backup, it will automatically pick up where it left off the next time it resumes. So don’t worry if you have to restart your desktop, or you need to close your laptop. Second, once the initial backup is complete, the subsequent backups run much faster because Mozy backs up only the incremental changes to the files or folders. In addition, if you’re worried about a long backup taking up all your system resources, Mozy provides customers with bandwidth throttling and scheduling options, so customers can control how many resources Mozy consumes and when.

While backing up hundreds of gigabytes takes some patience, the benefit of having automatic, secure off-site protection is worth it. And now with our new bandwidth optimization, you can get through that first initial backup faster than ever before.

How Much Is A Petabyte?

We store a lot of data here at Mozy (15+ petabytes, in fact), but how much is that really? We put together this series of stats to help you understand just how much data that really is. Enjoy! (Update: since this infographic was originally published, Mozy has grown to store more than 90 petabytes. We’ve also put together a new interactive infographic that takes a fresh look at the petabyte. Check it out!)

How much is a petabyte?

 

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