February 12th, 2015 by Lyle Smith
OCZ Releases SSD Reliability Data
OCZ has become very open recently about total failure rates on their new SSDs. This is pretty unprecedented, making them a unique player in the market as no other company releases this type of data to the public. If you follow the storage industry closely, you will know that OCZ has recently produced some high-quality, performance-heavy drives, such as the Vertex 460 and the OCZ Storage RevoDrive 350. But you will also find that their drives have recently been trending as being much more reliable than in the past. Though it’s not known what their reliability numbers were before this recent openness, we do know their numbers have improved significantly.
Located on their website, OCZ lists overall return rate of their storage solutions at only 0.57% as of December 15, 2014. OCZ also claims that 0.31% of their total manufactured drives are confirmed as defective, meaning that only a tad over half the returned drives are actually faulty. OCZ reasons that their transition to in-house technology is a major factor on the reduction of return rates and confirmed failures as well as their expanded resources and access to RDT and interop labs. Both of these reasons make sense--especially the former--since manufacturing hardware internally makes way for better compatibility and thus increased longevity. In addition, OCZ indicates that its continued efforts on improving and refining their software tools as well as providing users with new installation and optimization tutorials, makes it easier for customers to get the most out of their drives. OCZ also factors in its dedicated end-user and enterprise support whom OCZ stresses are committed to resolve issues as quick and efficient as possible.
It's pretty clear from the above chart that OCZ took a huge jump in reliability when it started to feature next generation Toshiba 19nm MLC NAND flash as well as its own proprietary in-house OCZ built controller (with the Vertex 150 and Vertex 460), the latter which uses firmware that is designed for superior mixed workload performance and increased write endurance and reliability mostly due to its advanced suite of flash management tools. In addition, since OCZ's recent purchase by Toshiba, they gain access to resources like the Toshiba Quality organization, which means OCZ can now put more effort into RDT and interop labs. OCZ also indicates that they are constantly striving to improve their software tools to help make it easier for users to optimize SSD functionality and longevity as well as providing new installation and optimization tutorials.
To complement their improvements in reliability, OCZ offers customers a warranty program called ShieldPlus, which is a service that is designed to eliminate all the annoyances that are usually inherent of support and warranty claims due to zero shipping costs to the customer. Customers simply have to provide their ARC 100, Vertex 460A, or Radeon R7 serial number to support (there is no need to provide the original receipt). If the product is deemed faulty, then it will be immediately replaced with a brand new product. In addition, OCZ offers advanced product replacement as well as a paid return shipping label, which is definitely something that is appreciated.
It will be interesting to see if other major storage companies that sell SSDs will respond. Drive reliability numbers are generally closely guarded and most industry information is tangential at best. OCZ has taken an important first step to bring awareness to the client SSD market around reliability; hopefully others will follow suit.