Reliability of nand-Based SSDs: What Field Studies Tell Us


Solid-state drives (SSDs) based on NAND flash are making deep inroads into data centers as well as the consumer market. In 2016, manufacturers shipped more than 130 million units totaling around 50 Exabytes of storage capacity. As the amount of data stored on solid state drives keeps increasing, it is important to understand the reliability characteristics of these devices. For a long time, our knowledge about flash reliability was derived from controlled experiments in lab environments under synthetic workloads, often using methods for accelerated testing. However, within the last two years, three large-scale field studies have been published that report on the failure behavior of flash devices in production environments subjected to real workloads and operating conditions. The goal of this paper is to provide an overview of what we have learned about flash reliability in production, and where appropriate contrasting it with prior studies performing controlled experiments.