Sometimes we have to react to information that has no basis in reality. That's what we're dealing with here.
A recent analyst document from Avian Securities incorrectly stated that Dell is seeing high return rates (20 – 30%) due to performance issues and failures on solid state disk drives (SSDs). It has been the basis of conversations in the blogosphere like Crave, Gizmodo, Techcrunch and BloggingStocks.
Here's the real story: the 20 – 30% failure and return rates cited by Avian Securities don't even vaguely resemble what's happening in our business. It's also true that Avian did not contact us while doing their research. Said another way, it's just not true.
Our global reliability data shows that SSD drives are equal to or better than traditional hard disk drives we've shipped. Beyond that, return rates for SSDs are in line with our expectations for new technology and an order of magnitude better than rates reported in the press.
The vast majority of our customers who purchased these drives appreciate the benefits that SSD drives offer: increased durability, fast start up, better reliability and improved access times.
In her earlier blog post, Sarah Williams from our product group mentioned that first-generation SSD drives performed on par with 5400RPM laptop hard drives overall. She also said that we're now offering second-generation Samsung's SATA II drives (we call them Dell Flash Ultra Performance SSD) that outperform existing laptop (and even some fast desktop) hard drives.
Whether we're talking about a new technology or an established one, Dell is extremely strict on quality variations. Hard drive quality in particular is closely monitored by virtue of its job: to store customer data. Computers can be easily replaced—customer data cannot.
We remain committed to SSD technology and see it as a key technology that will advance mobile computing overall. Because of this, we will continue our efforts to offer them across a variety of consumer and business laptops and mobile workstations.
Update: EqualLogic blogger Marc Farley weighed in on the topic here. Very soon, he will be joining the Direct2Dell family to contribute to a new group blog we'll be launching soon called Inside IT. More details coming.