This was originally posted here, on the EqualLogic Storage@Work blog
The blogosphere buzz about problems with Dell SSDs appears to be overblown, if it's not a case of mistaken identity. Avi Cohen of Avian Securities wrote a report about quality problems with solid state disk drives (SSDs) in laptops where he claims failure rates between 10-20% and a return rate on laptops with SSDs between 20-30%. I've read reports that said he did not name the company, while other reports name Dell in quotes. There's something wrong with that. Whatever, people just assumed from all this that Dell has a quality problem with its SSDs. So I checked into the situation with the SSD team in Round Rock Texas and asked about our ORT (ongoing reliability testing), pre-installation testing and failure tracking. What I found out made me feel a lot better. Our SSDs are very good products and are showing the kind of reliability that everyone expected of storage with no moving parts. They are just as reliable as rotating disk drives, if not more so. A lot of things have been written and people have suggested a number of things that don't accurately reflect Dell's implementations. For example, some have written about the reliability of the state of the technology. Our SSDs do not use low cost, consumer multi-layer flash. They use high quality single level flash that has better reliability and performance (that's part of the reason for the perceived high cost). They don't have disastrous end of life failures from wear-out – instead they are designed to convert to read-only devices. As I mentioned, each device is tested for early failure tendencies to weed out weaker devices.
A word about performance: Our flash SSDs continue to get better with each generation and our next generation SSD products will have performance levels that could exceed those of 7200 rpm disk drives.
Click this link to see a video where I talk about this.