Backblaze made some ripples in the industry when they released their reliability figures for hard drives a year ago. Many companies were caught off-guard and were quick to say that Backblaze was using drives not for their intended purpose. Suffice to say, it was a bombshell of a post. Today, Backblaze released their updated figures one year later.
Backblaze ended 2014 with 41,213 disk drives active in their data center. This is an increase of 14,079 or 51% from 2013 year end. Most of these new drives were 4TB and some 6TB drives. The 6TB drives did not fall down the affordability curve far enough to be cost effective during the majority of the year. The Backblaze post above has detailed data on AFR’s by drive, but here is some summary data.
4TB better than 3TB
Probably the biggest takeaway from the data is that the 4TB drives are faring much better than 3TB drives. Backblaze had this chart showing various hard drive failure rates by manufacturer and size. It should be noted that Backblaze does use different models from a given brand at a capacity point so this is an aggregation and there is certainly a large variance in different models.
The interesting fact here is that the 3TB drives from all vendors had a rough 2014. Each spiked in terms of failure rates. The Seagate 3TB drives were weighed down by the Seagate 7200.14 3TB drives (the Barracuda XT drives were much better.) In terms of the 4TB drives, Backblaze had about 10x the number of Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4TB than they did of the 7200.14 so the much lower 2014 failure rate is impressive.
The bottom line is that the HGST drives continue to be AFR leaders, as they were in last year’s round-up. Folks on the STH forums have been confirming this believe for years even with their (oftentimes) smaller sample sizes. The Backblaze piece above is certainly worth a read if you are interested in the topic.