Online backup service Backblaze have just published their enterprise hard drive fail rate statistics for 2014. Since they have a large data centre at their disposal, they’re in a perfect position to report on the reliability of hard drives after extensive usage; they have 34,881 hard drives in their data centre, storing over 100 petabytes of data.
“Losing a disk drive at Backblaze is not a big deal. Every file we back up is replicated across multiple drives in the data centre. When a drive fails, it is promptly replaced, and its data is restored. Even so, we still try to avoid failing drives, because replacing them costs money.” Said Backblaze. “We carefully track which drives are doing well and which are not, to help us when selecting new drives to buy.” They added.
At their disposal are 2TB, 3TB and 4TB Hitachi drives, 1.5TB, 3TB and 4TB Seagate drives, and 1TB and 3TB Western Digital drives. As you can see in the charts above and below, Seagate 3.0TB drives are failing more frequently, going from around 9% up to 15%; although even 9% is quite a high number in my opinion. Hitachi and WD drives are performing really well, although it’s clear that the 3TB WD drives are wearing out more frequently this year.
Is this a true indication of their performance and quality? Yes and no, since there are a lot of external factors at play.
“It may be that those drives are less well-suited to the data centre environment. Or it could be that getting them by drive farming and removing them from external USB enclosures caused problems. We’ll continue to monitor and report on how these drives perform in the future.” said Backblaze when discussing the causes of the drive failures.
Thank you Backblaze for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Backblaze.