Backblaze presented reliability statistics for a quarter of a million
Hardware

Backblaze presented reliability statistics for a quarter of a million hard drives – 8TB and 10TB models failed more often

The storage business is gradually shifting from HDD to SSD, but in many cases HDD is still the optimal solution. As such, it’s difficult to overestimate the hard drive failure statistics from Backblaze, which monitors 245,757 hard drives and solid-state drives in its data centers around the world. Of these, 4,460 are boot drives, of which 3,144 are SSDs and 1,316 are HDDs.

    Image source: unsplash.com

Image source: unsplash.com

At the end of Q2 2023, Backblaze was monitoring 241,297 hard drives used for data storage in its data center. 357 drives were excluded from this number as some of them were used for testing purposes and some models were presented as single copies. The table shows the annual failure rate (AFR) for the remaining 240,940 drives, grouped into 31 model groups, for the second quarter of 2023.

    Image Credit: Backblaze

Image Credit: Backblaze

Six drive models performed flawlessly in the second quarter of 2023, but three of these are too few to be statistically meaningful.

Backblaze’s oldest working storage drive in the Backblaze fleet was the 4TB Seagate ST4000DM000, which lasted 105.2 months (8.8 years) without failure, but the winner for oldest working drive was the 500GB Lifetime WDC WD5000BPKT Boot Drive 122 months (10.2 years).

The AFR increased to 2.28% in the second quarter of 2023 from 1.54% in the first quarter. Of course, quarterly AFRs can fluctuate, but they can also reflect trends that warrant further study. The increase in AFR was expected as engines continue to age. Backblaze analyzed the failure rate by drive age and size.

Backblaze provided statistics for discs older than 5 years that are categorized as “old”. 5-year age determined the absence of 12, 14, and 16 TB drives in the table, leaving quarterly AFR data for the last three years for each group of old drives, 4, 6, 8, and 10TB models. Experts noted that the oldest drives with a capacity of 4 and 6 TB performed well, but drives with a capacity of 8 and 10 TB require special attention.

Backblaze also released total AFR values ​​for the entire lifecycle of the drives. The table covered the period from April 20, 2013 to June 30, 2023, i.e. more than 10 years. The annual default rate ended the period at 1.45%, up 0.05 percentage points from the previous quarter.

The “at-risk group” that increases AFR the most includes 8TB and 10TB drives, as shown in the chart below.

About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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