When SSDs arrived on the scene it was hoped that they would resolve or at least reduce the persistent IT problem of losing data when hard drives fail – as they inevitably do.
The reason was contained in the name: Solid State Drives have no moving parts to wear out, while hard disk drives spin at 7200 rpm with clearances of just millimetres. But it turns out SSDs aren’t the ultimate solution to data loss after all, with the latest horror story relating to market-leading Sandisk SSDs.
IT website The Verge recently had a 4TB SanDisk Extreme Pro inexplicably and irretrievably delete stored data. They sought and were provided with a replacement for it. (Being an IT website probably helped their cause here.) The replacement SSD lasted until it had 3 Terabytes of video footage recorded to it, at which stage it also spontaneously deleted what amounted to many hours of work.
Another IT website, Ars Technica had a similar experience.
Curiously, these Sandisk ‘Extreme Pro’ SSDs are now being offered at big discounts, which provoked suspicion from the people at The Verge: ‘It feels like WD has been trying to sweep this under the rug while it tries to offload its remaining inventory at a deep discount — they’re still 66 percent off at Amazon, for example. As far as I’m aware, WD has yet to even acknowledge the possibility of massive data loss.’
Best Buy has the 4TB model on sale at a 40 percent discount. It’s worth noting that the 4TB model attracts a 4 Star review rating – even though 14 of the 48 reviewers stated their SSD failed completely!
After The Verge story broke the dam walls burst. Reports on a range of photographic and IT websites that the Sandisk Extreme Pro SSDs were dodgy were followed by dozens if not hundreds of readers comments fundamentally saying ‘Snap!’
Western Digital, which has owned SanDisk for several years, has a sad tradition of failed storage products stretching back years.
From Ars Technica: ‘In June, Ars reported about Western Digital automatically flagging NAS drives with a warning label in Synology DiskStation Manager once they passed three years of use. In April, Western Digital enraged customers after a My Cloud network breach blocked data access. Western Digital paid $2.7 million in a class-action lawsuit for SMR-gate, Law Street Media said in 2021. Some will also recall a class-action lawsuit that alleged Western Digital misrepresented drive sizes, and the company settled matters with free software.’
SanDisk provided a firmware fix in May with variable efficacy, but the anguish from customers has not diminished. So far its response to failing hundreds of customers around the world inspires little confidence.
As the old saying goes, ‘You had one job!’