Hard-drive failure rates tied to age in latest Backblaze analysis


Cloud backup and storage provider Backblaze released its latest annual report dissecting hard-drive failure rates, and it’s clear that age is a crucial factor of a drive’s potential for failure.Backblaze has become something of a go-to source for hard-drive toughness, thanks to its quarterly analysis of its own fleet, which included 231,309 hard disks used to store information since December 31. (After excluding drives used for screening functions and low-count models, Backblaze evaluated 230,921 gadgets for its report. )In general, Backblaze has discovered the storage drives it operates to be quite long lasting. The earliest drives in its fleet are the 6TB Seagate and 4TB Toshiba, with a typical age of 92.5 months and 91.3 months, respectively. That’s eight years of near continuous usage, which is a testament to the vendors ‘drive construction.From 2021 to 2022, there was a notable boost in the annualized failure rate(AFR)throughout all of Backblaze’s drives, increasing from 1.01 %in 2021 to 1.37%in 2022. It seems a case of aging drives finally breaking, according to a blog by Andy Klein, primary cloud storage evangelist for Backblaze. Klein compared year-over-year failure rates for different size drives and discovered that every size except for 16TB drives revealed a boost in AFR from 2021 to 2022. There was quite a gulf in between the

smaller sized drives( ranging from 4TB to 10TB) and the bigger drives (12TB to 16TB). The smaller drives had an AFR of 0.85%, while the larger drives had an AFR of simply 0.20 %.

Seagate had the greatest failure rate, however Klein kept in mind that most of those designs are much older than the rest. Klein also shared that Seagate drives are cheaper than their rivals, and their failure rate is not that much greater

, making them cost efficient.”In basic, Seagate drives are cheaper, and their failure rates are usually higher in our environment. Their failure rates are generally low enough to make them less cost efficient over their life time. You might make an excellent case that, for us

, many Seagate drive designs are just as cost reliable as more costly drives,”Klein stated. In 2022, only one hard-drive model in Backblaze’s fleet had absolutely no failures: the 8TB Seagate. Nevertheless, Backblaze just has 79 of this model in service, and these drives are used as spares to change 8TB drives that have actually stopped working, Klein noted.Western Digital makes boasting rights for the most affordable failure rate at just 0.20%. The next closest is HGST, which Western Digital owns, at 0.81 %AFR.Klein said that in 2023, Backblaze strategies to replace older drives with 16TB and bigger hard disk drives. That implies it can deploy much more capacity in the same area, and the eight-year-old Seagates are headed for recycling.Something else to think about

— although it wasn’t brought up in the Backblaze report– is that new high-capacity drives are filled with helium to reduce the friction from many platters spinning in the tight area. The helium is thought to also increase lifespan by reducing said friction. Of course, we will not know for another 6 to 8 years if that’s true. The complete Backblaze report is readily available here. Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc. Source

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