HDDs typically failed in under 3 years in Backblaze study of 17,155 failed drives

We lately lined a research by Safe Knowledge Restoration, an HDD, SSD, and RAID information restoration firm, of 2,007 defective hard disk drives it obtained. It discovered the common time earlier than failure amongst these drives to be 2 years and 10 months. That appeared like a brief life span, however contemplating the restricted pattern dimension and evaluation in Safe Knowledge Restoration’s report, there was room for skepticism. Right now, Backblaze, a backup and cloud storage firm with a status for detailed HDD and SSD failure evaluation, adopted up Safe Knowledge Restoration’s report with its own research utilizing a a lot bigger information set. Among the many 17,155 failed HDDs Backblaze examined, the common age at which the drives failed was 2 years and 6 months.

2 years, 6 months

Backblaze arrived at this age by inspecting all of its failed drives and their respective power-on hours. The corporate recorded every drive’s failure date, mannequin, serial quantity, capability, failure, and SMART uncooked worth. The 17,155 drives examined embrace 72 totally different fashions and doesn’t embrace failed boot drives, drives that had no SMART uncooked attribute information, or drives with out-of-bounds information.

If Backblaze solely checked out drives that it did not use in its information facilities anymore, there can be 3,379 drives throughout 35 fashions, and the common age of failure can be a bit longer at 2 years and seven months.

Backblaze stated its outcomes to date “are constant” with Safe Knowledge Restoration’s March findings. That is regardless of Backblaze presently utilizing HDDs which can be older than 2 years and seven months.

“After we first noticed the Safe Knowledge Restoration common failed age, we thought that 2 years and 10 months was too low. We had been shocked by what our information instructed us, however slightly math by no means damage anybody,” Backblaze’s weblog says.

“Given we’re all the time including further failed drives to our dataset, and retiring drive fashions alongside the best way, we are going to proceed to trace the common failed age of our drive fashions and report again if we discover something attention-grabbing.”

When trying on the common age of drive failure by mannequin, Backblaze decreased the mannequin rely to 30, eliminating drives with fewer than 50 failures.


One standout within the desk above is the 12TB Seagate ST12000NM0007, which noticed 2,023 failures, occuring when every drive was, on common, 1 12 months and 6 months previous. The one mannequin with extra failures was the 4TB Seagate ST400DM000. Backblaze noticed 5,249 failures, and the drives had been every a mean of three years and three months previous upon failure.

When breaking issues down by drive capability, at first look, it appears lower-capacity drives could last more earlier than failing. Nevertheless, Backblaze’s weblog factors out that Backblaze would not have any 1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB, 3TB, or 5TB HDDs in operation in its pattern group, making the info set for the smaller capability drives full. In distinction, many of the larger-capacity HDDs are nonetheless getting used.

“In different phrases, as these bigger drives proceed to fail over the approaching months and years, they may improve or lower the common failure age of that drive mannequin,” Klein defined.


Failure charges since April 2013

As typical, Backblaze offered a quarterly replace of the HDDs in its energetic arsenal. Right now, it added information from Q1 2023.

The next desk reveals annualized failure charges (AFRs) for 236,893 HDDs throughout 30 fashions and thru almost 10 years. The chart would not embrace drives “solely used for testing functions” or of which Backblaze had fewer than 60 items.


General, the common AFR was 1.4 p.c. The drive with the bottom AFR (0.28 p.c) and at the least 2.2 million drive days is Western Digital Company (WDC)’s 16TB WUH721816ALE6L4 (Backblaze has 14,098 items).

The mannequin with the very best AFR (2.57 p.c) and at the least 2.2 million drive days is Seagate’s 4TB ST4000DM000 (Backblaze had 18,070 items). It is value noting, although, that the mannequin has the most important variety of drive days out of any mannequin on Backblaze’s desk. In February, Backblaze said Seagate HDDs usually present greater failure charges in Backblaze’s surroundings and are additionally “inexpensive,” so “their failure charges are usually not excessive sufficient to make them much less cost-effective over their lifetime. You might make an excellent case that for us, many Seagate drive fashions are simply as cost-effective as dearer drives.”

Backblaze’s full information set is on its Hard Drive Test Data web page.

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