Steady state is a condition in which a solid state flash drive has experienced enough program/erase (P/E) cycles that performance times for write operations becomes stable and can be evaluated in a consistent manner.
The erase process for solid state drives (SSDs), which is done a block at a time at the beginning of each write, adds to the overall write cycle time. When a solid state drive is new, the drive is essentially empty and can perform write operations without having to stop and erase blocks first. This means that a new drive will have faster write times than a used drive and performance metrics during the initial fresh out of the box (FOB) period will be higher than they will be later on.
To accurately judge the write operations performance of a solid state drive, a technique called pre-conditioning is used to replicate the drive’s steady state. Typically, pre-conditioning consists of a series of writes, performed in a fixed pattern.