A Look at Storage Executive - Crucial's SSD Toolbox

One of the areas where Crucial has been lacking is the software. Nearly every SSD vendor provides some sort of software/toolbox for its SSDs nowadays, but until January Crucial had been the exception to the rule. I discussed this with Crucial/Micron last year and they understood their weakness on the software front, and also disclosed that there's a toolbox in the works. At CES the curtain was finally lifted when Crucial released its own toolbox called the Storage Executive.

Unlike the other toolboxes we've seen, the Storage Executive runs in the default browser. However, it still comes as an installer (which is quite large at 147MB for the 64-bit version) and has to be installed, but instead of running as its own window the Storage Executive utilizes the default browser for the interface. Since I'm not a software developer, I'm not sure if this is easier to implement versus a separate window, but honestly it doesn't really matter because a toolbox isn't something you need to keep open at all times, so Crucial's implementation works just fine for when it's needed.

The welcoming screen that's shown above shows the common tidbits of data that nearly all toolboxes show. This includes general information about the system such as the operating system and the amount of memory, along with slightly more detailed information about the installed drives (serial number, firmware version, temperature and used capacity). 

The 'Drive Details' section shows more details about the drives, including the interface and driver version, but honestly it could use some additional details (e.g. life remaining). The drop-down button next to the refresh icon includes a 'Get Debug Data' feature that saves the drive's and system's data to a ZIP file that can then be sent to Crucial's support team for remote analysis of the drive and its potential issues. 

The SMART tab includes the usual SMART data that can be read by numerous utilities.

The ability to easily upgrade the firmware is probably the most important feature in a toolbox and the Storage Executive is pretty straightforward with that. It automatically checks for updates and also features the release notes, so the end-user will know what has been changed in the newer firmware.

Drive sanitation is Crucial's code name for secure erase command, which will return the drive back to its factory state (i.e. all blocks are erased). There's also a PSID revert function that can be used to revert a TCG Opal encrypted drive back to unencrypted state using the physical security ID (i.e. PSID) that's printed on the SSD's label, which is very handy if you're dealing with encrypted drives because in case you lose the encryption key the drive will essentially become a brick as there's no way to access it. Obviously, PSID revert will erase all data in the drive, but the drive can then be repurposed. I did confirm that the PSID revert works and it doesn't require anything else but the PSID on the label. 

All in all, from a functionality perspective, the Storage Executive is Crucial's first attempt at a software package, and it shows. It lacks features compared to what Samsung and Intel have at the moment, but it does offer the necessary features that one needs for troubleshooting and maintenance. That said, since this is the 1.0 version, there will be more features added in the future that should bring the Storage Executive closer to what the competitors are offering today.

Introduction, The Drives & The Test Performance Consistency
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  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, April 11, 2015 - link

    I plan on testing the SSD370 as soon as I have time, but the past two months have been full of travel and NDAs, thus I've only been able to test a limited number of drive with our new 2015 SSD suite.
  • leexgx - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    i just got a SSD370 comming my way now, very annoying it lacks any power management

    i am happy you did the review on this as i was mostly ignoring the bx100, as the mx100 is generally cheaper then the BX100 in the UK , but for laptops well wow its worst case power useage is overall better then any other SSD (add a Devsleep supported laptop and the reg Tweek to expose the Lowest Option under balanced power profile for AHCI power management and you get mad power savinging)
  • leexgx - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    be nice if they bring a update out for the SSD370 to turn back on DIPM as it must be the only current SSD in the last 2 years that lacks a 0.150w ish slumber state (most SSDs are stuck in idle 0.330w ish zone without DIPM or HIPM) even though i paid not much for this used ssd370 it be nice if it had the option
  • jaegerschnitzel - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    Great review. But please can you explain me how to determine the Over-Provisioning?

    For example the drive with 500 GB. It has 8 flash chips with 512Gbit each, a total of 512GiB. User capacity is 465.76. 1 - 465,76/512. Am I right?
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    That is correct. The other way to put it would be 1 - (500*1000^3)/(512*1024^3).
  • jaegerschnitzel - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    Thanks for your fast reply! Just another question to clarify, why not the other way round?
    1 - (512*1024^3) / (500*1000^3) = 9.95%?
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    That returns a negative number (-9.95%) because (512*1024^3) > (500*1000^3).

    (512*1024^3) = raw NAND capacity in bytes, i.e. 512GiB (GiB = 1024^3)

    (500*1000^3) = user capacity in bytes, i.e. 500GB = 465.76GiB (GB = 1000^3)
  • jaegerschnitzel - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    That was my fault. But this should be right: (512*1024^3) / (500*1000^3) - 1 = 9.95%.

    I think you misunderstood my second question. Sorry for that, obviously my English is too bad ;-)
    Another try. Your percentage is relative to the real physical capacity (9.1%). Why do you not refer the percentage to the end user capacity (9.9%)?
  • Squuiid - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    Given the problems I and many, many others have had with Crucial's MX100, I would not recommend anyone buy a Crucial SSD. Their firmware dev team are incompetent, no two ways about it. There have been serious power management problems with all of Crucial's SSD's since their C300 released years ago.
  • leexgx - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    the current SSDs are not even related to the C300 (witch i agree was not a great SSD as latency was not very good on that drive under some loads it was slow)

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