Hard Drive Reliability?

Ever wonder how reliable certain hard drives are? Most manufacturers will say that they are the best and the others are worse, which makes it hard to actually discern. If you go based on postings found online you will often find hundreds of negative reports for any drive you look for which just adds to the confusion.

Backblaze offer cloud backup services and as you can imagine, use a lot of hard drives in their servers and while its not exactly the same as a home environment they are one of the few places that actually compile drive reliability reports on a regular basis. A few short weeks ago the report for Q1 of this year was released and the results will probably be a bit of an eye opener.


The images of the cumulative failure results are below, and overall most manufacturers score a nice baseline result of around 5%. The manufacturer who fares the worst in the list is Seagate, with the very worst of their drives the 7200.14 and older 7200.11 having a 20%+ failure rate in more recent quarters. Leading the group is Hitachi with a sub 5% failure rate, then Toshiba and Western Digital with slightly higher failure rates.

As always take these results with a pinch of salt, it is hard to gauge reliability of drives when testing and it is good to see such data being released, but we can never be sure of environmental factors that might be a mitigating factor. I hope Microsoft and Google take note of this however unlikely it would be interesting to see results on a much larger scale.



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