Failure Rate of a Hard Drives

Failure Rate of a Hard Drives

Failure Rate of a Hard Drives

While there are untold millions of computer hard drives being used today, their failure rate was not well known until 2013, when Backblaze started recording statistics of hard drive failures in data centers. Because hard drives have moving parts, it is true that all drives will fail at some point as long as they are being used. In addition, the results were complied each quarter, providing a tracking system for drives as they changed in terms of their overall performance.
By December 2017, Backblaze had gathered over 88 million entries of information consisting of over 93,000 hard drives. Nearly all were data drives with just under 2,000 being boot drives, so the stats come from the data drive systems. The failure rate for the drives varied considerably between manufacturers, but it should be noted that there was a minimum of 45 drives required for inclusion, meaning that the percentages varied wildly depending on how many drives were being reported.
Installation and Failure Rate
Of the 95,000+ hard drives that were installed from April 2013 to December 2017, an average of just over 55 were installed each day. From that, just over 4 hard drives failed on average each day. In the end, 6,795 hard drives failed over the course of the three-plus years that they were being installed and used by Backblaze.
Of the 6,795 that failed, 1,508 had to be replaced. This means that most of the failure did not result in replacement.
Results of Failure Rate Survey
Although the failure rate of hard drives as determined by the observations of Backblaze cannot be considered complete, it does offer a window into the performance of hard drives over the years.
Consistency: If there is one notable observation from the breadth of hard drives from different manufacturers that were observed, it’s that the failure rate either did not change or improved over time. The Seagate and WDC 6 TB drives for example, actually improved in terms of reduced failure rates over the years while all other drive systems remained relatively constant.
Skewed Statistics: Two models, the HGST 8 TB and Toshiba 5 TB hard drives were not observed to have any failures during the time when their performance was being observed. However, only 45 hard drives of each type were included, the bare minimum in terms of statistics which means their results are not as reliable compared to 1,000 or more of a single hard drive model and manufacturer.
Low Failure Rates: When taking into account the skewered statistics based on the number of drives purchased and used, the Hitachi and HGST 4 TB hard drives have been nearly perfect for three years. Delivering a failure rate below 1%, both of these hard drives have proven to be quite durable and remarkably reliable.
While Backblaze’s statistics cannot be considered complete, it does offer insight into the failure rates of hard drives across different manufacturers. This provides a starting point for businesses considering adding hard drives to their storage systems

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