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And the winner of the most reliable disk drive award is ...

Backup outfit Backblaze releases longevity data for its 27,000 disks

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The folks at backup-as-a-service outfit Backblaze have again done something astounding: they've not only looked at log files but analysed them, this time to figure out which vendor's disk drives offer the longest working life.

There's a scary-looking histogram in BackBlaze's post detailing the results that shows Seagate drives failing more often, but a glance at the table below suggests Backblaze has been running some of Seagate's kit for rather longer than it has used other drives.

Model Size Number of Drives Average Age in Years Annual Failure Rate
Seagate Desktop (ST4000DM000) HDD.15 4.0TB 5199 0.3 3.80%
Hitachi GST Deskstar 7K2000 (HDS722020ALA330) 2.0TB 4716 2.9 1.10%
Hitachi GST Deskstar 5K3000 (HDS5C3030ALA630) 3.0TB 4592 1.7 0.90%
Seagate Barracuda (ST3000DM001) 3.0TB 4252 1.4 9.80%
Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000 (HDS5C4040ALE630) 4.0TB 2587 0.8 1.50%
Seagate Barracuda LP (ST31500541AS) 1.5TB 1929 3.8 9.90%
Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 (HDS723030ALA640) 3.0TB 1027 2.1 0.90%
Seagate Barracuda 7200(ST31500341AS) 1.5TB 539 3.8 25.40%
Western Digital Green (WD10EADS) 1.0TB 474 4.4 3.60%
Western Digital Red (WD30EFRX) 3.0TB 346 0.5 3.20%
Seagate Barracuda XT (ST33000651AS) 3.0TB 293 2 7.30%
Seagate Barracuda LP (ST32000542AS) 2.0TB 288 2 7.20%
Seagate Barracuda XT (ST4000DX000) 4.0TB 179 0.7 n/a
Western Digital Green (WD10EACS) 1.0TB 84 5 n/a
Seagate Barracuda Green (ST1500DL003) 1.5TB 51 0.8 120.00%

The big winner from the study is Hitachi GST, whose drives consistently outlast others Backblaze uses and are also less likely to fall into a degraded state. Perhaps there's upside for the outfit's new owner Western Digital too: WD's own kit did worse in this study so some technology transfer could benefit the company's future drives.

The results make no claims for the performance of drives approved for use in enterprise arrays: Backblaze cheerfully RAIDs up consumer-grade and desktop drives to power its service. The analysis is therefore of limited use to those running enterprise storage appliances.

Those looking to populate a small array, or PC builders, may find the analysis represents useful guidance. ®

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