New information illustrates time’s impact on onerous drive failure charges

the inside of the hard drive

SSDs have usurped onerous disk drives (HDDs) with regards to efficiency, however whether or not constructing a network-attached storage (NAS) or having high-capacity wants on a price range, loads of folks nonetheless depend on spinning platters. Older drives which have seen numerous use, nevertheless, will not be as dependable as earlier than. Information Backblaze shared this week highlights how a tough drive’s common failure fee (AFR) can improve with age.

Since 2013, Backblaze, a backup and cloud storage firm, has revealed an annual report analyzing the AFRs of onerous drives in its information middle. The 2022 report shared on Tuesday examines 230,921 onerous drives throughout 29 fashions from HGST, Seagate, Toshiba, and WDC, with capacities starting from 4–16TB. All fashions included at the very least 60 drives that weren’t beforehand used for testing.

Understand that the pattern group solely consists of drives that Backblaze had readily available, and they’re of various ages, with some used for extra days than others. Nevertheless, Backblaze’s report does give us a novel look into the outcomes of long-term onerous drive use.

In case you wanted a reminder of the morbid nature of time, Backblaze’s report exhibits proof of onerous drives’ AFR rising with age. That is not shocking information, however Backblaze is offering the info to color an image of what that appears like.

Backblaze’s evaluation of its findings mentioned that the graph beneath “exhibits that the older drives, when grouped by measurement, fail extra typically.”

Note that the 6TB and 10TB samples only included one drive model each, while the rest have at least four each.

Observe that the 6TB and 10TB samples solely included one drive mannequin every, whereas the remaining have at the very least 4 every.

Backblaze famous that a rise in AFR as an HDD ages falls in keeping with the bath curve, the place failures are usually increased upon launch earlier than dropping, stabilizing, after which rising because the product ages. Backblaze mentioned that the common failure fee of its onerous drives was 1.01 p.c in 2021 and 1.37 p.c in 2022.

“The growing older of our fleet of onerous drives does seem like essentially the most logical motive for the elevated AFR in 2022. We might dig in additional, however that’s in all probability moot at this level,” Backblaze’s weblog mentioned.

All the drives in this chart have at least 1 million drive days in their lifetime.
Enlarge / All of the drives on this chart have at the very least 1 million drive days of their lifetime.

The oldest (common age of 92.5 months) onerous drive Backblaze examined was a 6TB Seagate (ST6000DX000). Its AFR was 0.11 p.c in 2021 and 0.68 p.c in 2022. Backblaze mentioned this was “a really respectable quantity any time, however particularly after practically eight years.”

Seagate, adopted by Toshiba, topped Backblaze’s chart grouping AFRs by vendor, however a lot of the Seagate drives are a lot older than the remainder of the drives examined.

“Usually, Seagate drives are inexpensive and their failure charges are usually increased in our surroundings,” Backblaze mentioned. “However, their failure charges are usually not excessive sufficient to make them much less cost-effective over their lifetime. You possibly can make an excellent case that for us, many Seagate drive fashions are simply as cost-effective as costlier drives.”