Backblaze’s hard drive reliability data helps you choose a long-lasting option

Cloud backup and storage services company Backblaze has a vested interest in how storage devices perform, including how long they last and how reliable are specific brands and models. The company has therefore built up one of the most extensive databases around that track such data and can provide insights on which drives perform the best.

On Tuesday, Backblaze published its report on hard disk drive (HDD) statistics for the first quarter of 2017. The analysis looks back over the last four years of data for 82,516 HDDs in its database, including 17 models that are between 3TB and 8TB in storage space.

During the first quarter of 2017, Backblaze notes a wide range of performance, with some drives achieving a zero percent annualized failure rate and one brand suffering more than 35 percent failure, albeit with a statistically insignificant 170 drives. Out of the tens of thousands of drives in the database, a total of 357 drives failed during the first quarter.

Backblaze specifically utilizes the quarterly statistics to look for anomalies among different HDDs, to help it identify which manufacturers and models are particularly reliable and particularly unreliable. It found that its current annualized hard drive rate for the quarter was a bit higher than usual at 2.11 percent, which it attributes to the influx of more htan10,000 new drives and their tendency to fail early.

backblaze publishes first quarter 2017 hard drive reliability data blog q1 lifetime table
Backblaze

If you’re looking for a source of information on the most reliable drives for your own purchasing purposes, then the Backblaze database provides some interesting information. While its data is based on how the drives are used in its own systems and environment, it is nevertheless a solid source on how well drives might perform in high-demand data storage applications.

Backblaze also began implementing enterprise-level HDDs in its data centers, specifically adding in almost 2,500 Seagate 8TB HDDs. The company’s decision to implement the new drives was based on higher performance and additional features, but not enough time has passed to allow the company to verify if the enterprise drives are more reliable than their consumer counterparts.

The company will be reporting on its HDD database and experience at the upcoming 33rd International Conference on Massive Storage Systems and Technology (MSST 2017) being held at Santa Clara University on May 15 to 19. In addition, anyone who wants to take a look at the Backblaze raw data can download it here for analysis.

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