Last week at the Flash Memory Summit, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and its Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) announced the creation of a new Special Interest Group to deal with data recovery and secure erasure problems.
Solid state storage presents a huge problem when we need to to recover data from it. Data recovery companies have had talks with makers of solid-state drives for several years now about the processes and tools for resurrecting data, trying to tackle a problem of having no standard for these issues. That is the general idea of this special interest group.
Today, most companies recover data following procedures and tools usually developed in their own house, others use solutions from companies such as AceLab and others. This is all fine while you have some specific model to recover data from and it is supported. In case you are trying to recover data from unsupported SSD you will likely be in trouble. Functions such as wear-leveling and bad block management re-map everything on an SSD all of the time, add to that the garbage collection, including the “trim” command, and you have the possibility that good data may be erased for good any time power is applied to the SSD. From the data recovery point of view this is bad, very bad.
The other issue is related to secure erasure of data when SSD is no longer operational or it need to be discarded. Today only physical destruction of memory chip(s) is the save way to do it. But it is ridiculous don’t you agree? In a situation when let’s say financial institution such as a bank decides to replace a storage media based on SSD there is no secure way for them to do it rather than to completely destruct the fully functional drive itself.
The goal of this group is to get the recovery experts together with SSD designers, and develop standards that simplify the tasks such as recovery of data and secure erasure, or at least prevent it from becoming impossible, said Gillware Data Recovery’s Scott Holewinski, chair of the DR/E SIG for EE Times.
Until this group and others picks up the momentum data recovery on SSDs remains an expensive and time consuming task.