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Most flash SSDs use complicated controller technology to extend the reliability and speed of storage. The architecture inside a high performance SSD is more complicated than that in most RAID systems. The algorithms which map addresses to physical media locations vary from manufacturer to manufacturer – and in many cases – like the formula for making Coke or Pepsi – the details are closely guarded commercial secrets.

The biggest traditional customers of flash SSDs have been the military or industrial users who didn’t want enemies / competitors stealing their secrets.

Ontrack announced its capabilities to successfully recover from flash media and solid state disk (SSD) on Oct. 15, 2008.

20% of Flash/SSD Recoveries Can Be Fixed by Electronic Repair according to Kroll Ontrack Statistic.

Challenges to Security Implementations

* Passphrase and Key Management
-User forgets passphrase or is locked out
-Part of decryption key is stored on media; when device fails, can‘t decrypt contents
* Automatic Hardware Encryption
-Proprietary encryption engine part of controller microcode; when device fails, replacement controller is impossible for success
-User doesn‘t know how to manage security
* Enterprise implementation requires a _One Size‘ fits all Security method—for IT consistency
* Wear Leveling and Spare Blocks
-Extraction of raw data reveals user data in spare blocks
-Blocks marked for erasure is not immediate – garbage collection delay
-Corrupt blocks mapping prevents normal erasure process – leaves data intact and vulnerable

Device Properties and Challenge to Recovery

Proprietary Data Layout-Many Variations of Flash Translation Layer (FTL) Implemented
Address Line Complexity-Byte Inversion, Byte Striping, etc.
Wear-leveling Utilization-Wear-Leveling and Meta-Data Information Varies Widely

* No Consistency in Similar Product Lines or Models
* Increases Delays in Recovery
* Affects Consumer Perception of Reliability of Flash/SSD

Resource by Sean R. Barry Kroll Ontrack

Hope there will be soon more good SSD data recovery solutions or tools in the market!

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