JEDEC Aims To Set The Record Straight on SSD Endurance and Reliability Standards

The new SSD consumer has a daunting enough task in learning as to whether a SSD is right for them and where to purchase, much less trying to understand the details of the drive packaging itself which might be just a bit deceiving. The SSD Review has tackled the issue of advertising SSD high sequential read and write performance scores for ssd sales in its article, entitled ‘The Manufacturers Bluff which explains how the consumer is relying on choosing their SSD through performance scores that most will never use. We let you know, quite frankly in fact, that an educated consumer will choose their new SSD based on the 4kb random scoring that is responsible for the largest visible improvement of their computer system.

Its nice to see that a company named JEDEC has now tackled issues with relation to SSD endurance testing and reliability of solid state drives. JEDEC comprises of 300 member companies and effectively creates open standards in the complex electronics industry for all to follow. JEDEC Committe 14 (JC-14) is responsible for the ‘Quality and Reliability of Solid State Products’  and has been on route to making our choice of solid state drives just a little bit easier.

As we purchase SSDs today, the consumer typically picks up an SSD package or reads through the specifications on the internet to see that an SSD may have a MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of 1.5 million hours. Some manufacturers even attach the words ‘Life Expectency’ to this and leave the consumer with the impression that the drive will last a whopping 171 years as it is calculated (1500000/24/365). They are then left asking why a manufacturer would only provide 3-5 years warranty on a product that would last so long?

The true explanation of MTBF is not easily understood at the consumer level but a relative simple definition can be found here for interest. Simply, a drives MTBF should not be listed on SSD packaging as it is not a true indicator of life span from a consumers perspective.

“To achieve the goal of consensus-based industry standards for SSDs, [the subcommittee] has taken the lead to provide meaningful, real-life, endurance and reliability metrics to better enable customers to select the right SSD for their expected applications and workloads,” said Alvin Cox, chairman of the JEDEC SSD committee.

Documents describing the new standards are freely available at JEDEC and they fully intend on speeding up the process through a symposium held in San Jose, CA on October 5, 2010.

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