New data illustrates time’s effect on hard drive failure rates

New data illustrates time’s effect on hard drive failure rates

SSDs have usurped hard disk drives (HDDs) in performance, but whether creating network-attached storage (NAS) or having high-capacity needs on a budget, many people still matter on turntables. However, older drives that have seen a lot of use may not be as reliable as they used to be. Data shared by Backblaze this week shows how the average failure rate (AFR) of a hard drive can increase with age.

Since 2013, Backblaze, a backup and cloud storage company, has published an annual report analyzing the AFRs of hard drives in its data center. The 2022 report shared on Tuesday examines 230,921 hard drives across 29 models from HGST, Seagate, Toshiba and WDC, with capacities ranging from 4TB to 16TB. All models included at least 60 drives that had not previously been used for tests.

Keep in mind that the sample pool only consists of discs that Backblaze had on hand, and they are of varying ages, with some being used for more days than others. However, Backblaze’s report gives us unique insight into the results of long-term hard drive usage.

In case you need a reminder of the morbid nature of time, Backblaze’s report shows evidence that the AFR of hard drives increases with age. It’s not surprising news, but Backblaze provides the data to paint a picture of what it looks like.

Backblaze’s analysis of its findings indicates that the graph below “shows that older drives, when grouped by size, fail more often.”


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

Backblaze noted that an increase in AFR as a hard drive ages corresponds to the bathtub curve, where failures tend to be higher on release before dropping, leveling off, and then dropping. increase as the product ages. Backblaze said the average failure rate for its hard drives was 1.01% in 2021 and 1.37% in 2022.

“Our aging HDD fleet seems like the most logical reason for the AFR increase in 2022. We could dig deeper, but that’s probably moot at this point,” the Backblaze blog post said. .

Enlarge / All drives in this table have at least 1 million drive days in their lifespan.

The oldest Backblaze hard drive (average age 92.5 months) tested was a 6TB Seagate (ST6000DX000). Its AFR was 0.11% in 2021 and 0.68% in 2022. Backblaze said that was “a very respectable number at any time, but especially after nearly eight years.”

Seagate, followed by Toshiba, topped Backblaze’s ranking of AFRs by vendor, but most Seagate drives are much older than the rest of the drives tested.

“In general, Seagate drives are less expensive and typically have higher failure rates in our environment,” Backblaze said. “But, their failure rates are generally not high enough to make them less profitable over their lifetime. You could argue that for us, many models of Seagate drives are just as profitable as more expensive drives. .”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *