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Hard Drive Reliability Update – Sep 2014


Brink

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mvp
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#1
At Backblaze we now have 34,881 drives and store over 100 petabytes of data. We continually track how our disk drives are doing, which ones are reliable, and which ones need to be replaced.

I did a blog post back in January, called “What Hard Drive Should I Buy?” It covered the reliability of each of the drive models that we use. This month I’m updating those numbers and sharing some surprising new findings.

Reliability of Hard Drive Brands

Losing a disk drive at Backblaze is not a big deal. Every file we back up is replicated across multiple drives in the data center. 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.

We carefully track which drives are doing well and which are not, to help us when selecting new drives to buy.

The good news is that the chart today looks a lot like the one from January, and that most of the drives are continuing to perform well. It’s nice when things are stable.

The surprising (and bad) news is that Seagate 3.0TB drives are failing a lot more, with their failure rate jumping from 9% to 15%. The Western Digital 3TB drives have also failed more, with their rate going up from 4% to 7%.

In the chart below, the grey bars are the failure rates up through the end of 2013, and the colored bars are the failure rates including all of the data up through the end of June, 2014.
Read more...
 

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play2mefish

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#2
Well, I have a hitachi chop saw but no hitachi hard drives. I believe the hitachi chop saw is as ggod as of the other top name brands out there, with that in mind, I think I will purchase a new hitachi hard drive the next time I need one. According to the graphs shown, they are outperforming the Seagate and Western digitals.
 

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strollin

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#3
It's interesting that the Hitachi Deskstar line is showing good reliability since it is descended from the IBM Deskstar line (at least in name) which many referred to as the "Deathstar" line due to issues with those drives.
 

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Coke Robot

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#4
Seems about right in my case. Out of all the years I've replaced hard drives, I've come across SO many Seagate drives it's ridiculous. Very few have been Western Digitals.
 

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oneeyed

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#5
A very interesting report. It's very hard to get reliable and non anecdotic information on consumer HDDs. The blog is in my bookmarks now.
And I'm glad to have Hitachi(s) ;)
 

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#6

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Ronster

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#7
The table shows that the oldest drive on average is a Western Digital (Green) at 4.6 years. Lasting longer without failure is always better or am I reading this wrong?
 

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edmscan

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#9
My worst drives have always been Western Digital. I try to stay away from them now.
 

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#10
My worst drives have always been Western Digital. I try to stay away from them now.
I've only ever had 1 hdd that failed on me out of all those years I've owned computers since the 486 days. It was a WD desktop HDD. It died within 3 months of use. My Seagate laptop HDD is almost 7 years old. I've moved this laptop around alot while powered on and even dealt blows and shocks to it from clumsy elbows. I may jinx it by speaking too soon, but not a single problem so far with this Seagate...

Of course, I can't speak for the Seagates currently in production as I hear their quality has gone down considerably since I purchased my Seagate 7 years ago. If there's one thing that's true, things never stay constant. Tomorrow's most reliable HDD brand may have been yesterday's worse (ie. Hitachi HDD's).
 

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TONSCHUH

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#12
This report is unfortunately completely rubbish. They use consumer grade HDD's in an enterprise environment and on top of that they compare it with an enterprise Hitachi HDD.

I still recommend Seagate over WD, but my experience and the ones of my customers maybe different to someone else.

Some of you may even remember the age of the Deadstar's.

I can't speak for Seagate or WD, but you would think that they would do something, if there would be a real problem.

Seagate advertises with an <1% an. Failure rate.

As they state that the replacement's are working out cheaper than the proper enterprise HDD's in the first place, they don't RMA them, because they clearly cause the drives to fail, because consumer drives are not made for such a work load.

As usual you get what you pay for and I use at home certain drives for certain purposes as well and that worked out well so far.

:)
 

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Coke Robot

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#14
This report is unfortunately completely rubbish. They use consumer grade HDD's in an enterprise environment and on top of that they compare it with an enterprise Hitachi HDD.

I still recommend Seagate over WD, but my experience and the ones of my customers maybe different to someone else.

Some of you may even remember the age of the Deadstar's.

I can't speak for Seagate or WD, but you would think that they would do something, if there would be a real problem.

Seagate advertises with an <1% an. Failure rate.

As they state that the replacement's are working out cheaper than the proper enterprise HDD's in the first place, they don't RMA them, because they clearly cause the drives to fail, because consumer drives are not made for such a work load.

As usual you get what you pay for and I use at home certain drives for certain purposes as well and that worked out well so far.

:)
I guess it comes down to more personal experience with different brands and the luck you have with them.

They used consumer grade ones because the enterprise grade ones apparently don't last any more longer than the consumer grade ones and aren't worth that cost for a slightly longer light, twice the price is what I've seen in comparison.

All I have to say is, I see a LOT of Seagate drives that go on sale quite often for around $100 US whereas WDs don't go on sale often and aren't sold for $100 for the same capacity as the Seagates. I could be that Seagate does push the limits on what they can shove in the form factor as they did note how higher capacity drives failed more often and that has been the case from what I've read anecdotally.

There are some good consumer grade NAS drives I think they did use that worked well.

Personally, I've had so many Seagates die on me, I avoid them. I had a Seagate drive from over 10 years ago on my elder system that crapped out in such an odd way. It was a 120 gig drive and only 30 or so was even detected. I've pulled out several dead/dying Seagate 2.5" hard drives from laptops that were only a few years old and were already crapping out. The most recent one I had die completely was my old 500 gig one and that just utterly fried itself to the point you couldn't even recover ANYTHING or even have it be detected in the BIOS or in Windows. That was replaced by another Seagate, and only after a year, it started to have sector issues and even now being used as a spare scratch drive, very infrequently used, Windows detected issues with that drive and needed to recover some bad sectors.

So I replaced them with WDs and a few Toshiba drives, no problems yet (knock on wood).
 

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TONSCHUH

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#15
All brands had their bad periods, that's true.

I bought my wife 1x 1.5GB external Seagate, which she uses pretty much like an internal drive, because I try to avoid to have to go through all her different Folders, which are usually all over the place, when I have to do a re-install of the OS.

That Seagate is now in use for 4-5 Years and didn't cause any issues so far.

I use a mix out of Barracudas and Constellations HDD's, depending on the kind of workload they have to go through and had to RMA only 1 in the last 6 years and that 1TB Barracuda was still not completely dead, but started to die.

I brought a 250GB external Barracuda from Germany to Australia, which got dropped unfortunately so many times, that the enclosure broke and doesn't work anymore. The HDD is still in healthy shape, even after it got heavily used for moving around a lot of data between me and my mates.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
ST3250310AS
250GB
S/N: 9RY0K0F0
P/N: 9EU132-568
Firmware: 3.AAC
Date Code: 08162
Site Code: TK
I had still Seagates / Maxtor HDD's which were much smaller and older than that one, but I put them out last time we had a front yard clean-up, and all my parts / cases etc. were already gone, before the council even arrived.

No other brand survived under my usage.

Most dead WD's from customers were used in a wrong way, but not all and I still couldn't believe how many dead WD's I had to deal with.

:)
 

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    - Seagate Barracuda SATA3 1TB 7200RPM 64mb Cache
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#16
All brands had their bad periods, that's true.

I bought my wife 1x 1.5GB external Seagate, which she uses pretty much like an internal drive, because I try to avoid to have to go through all her different Folders, which are usually all over the place, when I have to do a re-install of the OS.

That Seagate is now in use for 4-5 Years and didn't cause any issues so far.

I use a mix out of Barracudas and Constellations HDD's, depending on the kind of workload they have to go through and had to RMA only 1 in the last 6 years and that 1TB Barracuda was still not completely dead, but started to die.

I brought a 250GB external Barracuda from Germany to Australia, which got dropped unfortunately so many times, that the enclosure broke and doesn't work anymore. The HDD is still in healthy shape, even after it got heavily used for moving around a lot of data between me and my mates.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
ST3250310AS
250GB
S/N: 9RY0K0F0
P/N: 9EU132-568
Firmware: 3.AAC
Date Code: 08162
Site Code: TK
I had still Seagates / Maxtor HDD's which were much smaller and older than that one, but I put them out last time we had a front yard clean-up, and all my parts / cases etc. were already gone, before the council even arrived.

No other brand survived under my usage.

Most dead WD's from customers were used in a wrong way, but not all and I still couldn't believe how many dead WD's I had to deal with.

:)
I think we have the same Baracuda model. My 250GB, the one I use everyday, is almost 7 years old. Can you believe it? I was surprised to find that it was made in China when I opened my laptop the other day. Seems China is catching up to Japan in terms of quality and reliability...
 

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TONSCHUH

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Wynnum Australia

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466
#17
All brands had their bad periods, that's true.

I bought my wife 1x 1.5GB external Seagate, which she uses pretty much like an internal drive, because I try to avoid to have to go through all her different Folders, which are usually all over the place, when I have to do a re-install of the OS.

That Seagate is now in use for 4-5 Years and didn't cause any issues so far.

I use a mix out of Barracudas and Constellations HDD's, depending on the kind of workload they have to go through and had to RMA only 1 in the last 6 years and that 1TB Barracuda was still not completely dead, but started to die.

I brought a 250GB external Barracuda from Germany to Australia, which got dropped unfortunately so many times, that the enclosure broke and doesn't work anymore. The HDD is still in healthy shape, even after it got heavily used for moving around a lot of data between me and my mates.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
ST3250310AS
250GB
S/N: 9RY0K0F0
P/N: 9EU132-568
Firmware: 3.AAC
Date Code: 08162
Site Code: TK
I had still Seagates / Maxtor HDD's which were much smaller and older than that one, but I put them out last time we had a front yard clean-up, and all my parts / cases etc. were already gone, before the council even arrived.

No other brand survived under my usage.

Most dead WD's from customers were used in a wrong way, but not all and I still couldn't believe how many dead WD's I had to deal with.

:)
I think we have the same Baracuda model. My 250GB, the one I use everyday, is almost 7 years old. Can you believe it? I was surprised to find that it was made in China when I opened my laptop the other day. Seems China is catching up to Japan in terms of quality and reliability...
Mine is made in Thailand, but it's still amazing that they are still alive.

:)
 

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    - Intel 520S 240GB/SATA3/R 550MBs,W 520MBs/25nm/3.5"Kit/5yr
    - Samsung 840 EVO SATA3 500GB
    - Seagate Barracuda SATA3 1TB 7200RPM 64mb Cache
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    - Seagate Constellation SATA3 3TB 7200RPM 64mb Cache
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azasadny

Moved to ten*****s.com
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#18
I'll stick to Western Digital Red (NAS) drives. I've purchased at least 30 of them over the past 18 months and haven't had a failure yet.
 

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TONSCHUH

New Member
Power User
Wynnum Australia

Posts
466
#19
I'll stick to Western Digital Red (NAS) drives. I've purchased at least 30 of them over the past 18 months and haven't had a failure yet.
Yeah, they seem to be much better than the cheap ones as well (from what I got told).

:)
 

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sygnus21

Member
VIP Member
Power User
USA

Posts
670
#20
I've been using Western Digital HD's since I got in computing in 98 and still use them to this day. Nowadays I use the Caviar Blacks and haven't had any real issues. Sure HD's go bad, I've have 2 of mine go bad, but WD was quick to replace them, free of charge.

When I look at Western Digital throughout the years of using them, for me, it's the consistency by which they've been reliable that keeps me choosing them for my mechanical hard drives.

Now I've not used them in, nor do I use, a 24/7 server or data center so I can't speak of reliability there; but for a home power user, very reliable. To be honest though I don't think I've kept a single HD in service for more than 5-years without replacing or upgrading them.

My two cents.
 

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