In a conversation with PCWorld, Kent Smith of Seagate and Alvin Cox, the Seagate engineer who wrote the report claimed we had read it wrong.
“People have misunderstood the data that they’re looking at,” Smith said.
Cox said he wouldn’t worry about losing data and the report pertains to end of life.
“As a consumer, an SSD product or even a flash product is never going to get to the point where it’s temperature-dependent on retaining the data.”
The original presentation dates back to when Cox was a chairman on a JEDEC committee It was supposed to help data centre and enterprise customers understand what could happen to an SSD.
However it was only supposed to show what happened after it had reached the end of its useful life span and then stored at abnormal temperatures. It’s not intended to be applied to an SSD in the prime of its life in either an enterprise or a consumer product.
However the five year old presentation resurfaced in a forensic computing blog as to why an SSD could start to lose data in a short amount of time at high temperatures.
The story was picked up by the International Business Times and got a little out of control they said.
From there, the internet seemed to amplify as fact that an SSD left unplugged would lose data—all citing Cox’s JEDEC presentation.
But Cox and Smith said that’s rubbish as an SSD that isn’t worn out rarely experiences data errors. Data centre use also subjects SSDs to far more “program/erase” cycles than a typical person could under any normal circumstances.
Personal drives such as this Corsair Neutron GTX have been pushed beyond 1.1 petabytes of writes before wearing out. That’s one of the criteria you’d need to lose data.
Torture tested SSDs well beyond their rated life spans using 24/7 work loads and found that they survived.
Enterprise customers also are largely immune to heat-related dead drive issues. That’s because, again, it’s a scenario for only after the SSD has been worn out. And since enterprise customers would prefer tape or other cheaper methods to backup data over an SSD, it’s an unrealistic scenario where data loss would happen to enterprise customers, Smith said.