Recovering data from hard disk drives is an established industry at this point. With hard disks being around for so long, the technology is widely understood. As such, it’s fairly common for data recovery attempts on hard disk drives to go successfully – though that does depend on a variety of factors, like what caused the data loss and how soon after recovery is attempted.
However, the introduction of solid state drives has changed the recovery industry somewhat. This technology presents some problems when it comes to data recovery. As such, a special interest group has been created in order to tackle these challenges.
This was announced at the Flash Memory Summit by the Storage Networking Industry Association and its Solid State Storage Initiative. Together, they have created a group around data recovery and deletion in order to bring about development of tools and standards.
Data recovery firms have long been in discussions with manufactures of solid state drives about the processes and tools for recovering data. Besides, it’s not like this is new technology for them – SSDs have been established for a while now. However, the issue is that there aren’t currently any standards for it.
In an interview with EE Times, Gillware Data Recovery’s Scott Holewinski, chair of this new group, said that they needed to do more than an annual session at the summit. As such, this group will bring key figures together in order to improve the recovery of data on solid state storage. Erasing data was included in the same group because the same capabilities are required for it.
One of the largest challenges when it comes to SSD recovery is that the data is being moved around constantly due to functions like wear-levelling and bad block management. These are features that make the drives more durable, as hard disk drives lay data linearly, but it then makes it harder to recover the data.
Another problem are self-encrypting drives, which data recovery firms often have to attempt to work around using custom tools they develop. Unless these recovery firms get help from the drive manufacturer, however, there’s often very little they can do to get the data back.
By bringing together the recovery experts with those who design SSDs, it’s hoped that standards can be developed to help simplify the process for data recovery – or at least improve its chances from being impossible.
At a high level, the goal for the group will be to improve recovery and erase. Erasing is important because governments and enterprises want ways to erase all information permanently for security purposes, which can be tricky on a SSD.
The first milestone for the group will be to develop a business case to show there is a market for it. If it can’t be proven, drive manufactures will be reluctant to engage.
Currently, data recovery for SSDs can start at around $2000, which is prohibitive when compared to hard disk recovery. Let’s hope that the development of this group can bring about better standards and practices which will benefit us all.
Industry Attempting to Tackle Tricky SSD Recovery
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