Igor Bubelov About Blog Photos

SD Card Lifespan

December 19, 2021

I had to install a few CCTV cameras recently, and all of them had SD card slots. Although SD cards are super convenient, they aren’t known to be durable. Debugging a system with failing SD card is hell, since SD cards tend to die slowly and silently. Tools like f3 might help, but storage is usually the least expected suspect when the system starts to misbehave, and I ended up spending hours trying to figure out what’s wrong with my system before checking its SD card. The lack of TBW counters and other metadata doesn’t help either.

That said, I really wanted to find a durable SD card, because writing video 24/7 is a tough workload for those little things. It turns out, there are plenty of so-called “durable” and “industrial grade” SD cards on the market. They’re relatively expensive, and they usually slower than the usual A1-graded cards, which means that you have to sacrifice random IO performance in order to get higher sequential IO endurance. Apparently, there is no such thing as a universal SD card. They all may look the same and have the same size, but it’s very important to pick the one which is suitable for your particular workload.