BlackBlaze releases report on billion hours Hard Disk Reliability report

BlackBlaze report it’s quarterly hard disk reliability report for Q1 2016 for drives ranging from 2TB to 8TB.

Some of the HDD has 0 failures but some had a high failure rate of 12.57%.

Although the report indicated the models, different batches might have different issues.

In Q1 2016, the hard drives in our data center, past and present, totaled over one billion hours in operation to date. That’s nearly 42 million days or 114,155 years worth of spinning hard drives. Let’s take a look at what these hard drives have been up to.

Backblaze hard drive reliability for Q1 2016

Below are the hard drive failure rates for Q1 2016. These are just for Q1 and are not cumulative, that chart is later.

Q1 2016 Hard Drive Stats

Some observations on the chart:

  1. The list totals 61,523 hard drives, not 61,590 noted above. We don’t list drive models in this chart of which we have less than 45 drives.
  2. Several models have an annual failure rate of 0.00%. They had zero hard drive failures in Q1 2016.
  3. Failure rates with a small number of failures can be misleading. For example, the 8.65% failure rate of the Toshiba 3TB drives is based on one failure. That’s not enough data to make a decision.
  4. The overall Annual Failure Rate of 1.84% is the lowest quarterly number we’ve ever seen.

Cumulative hard drive reliability rates

We started collecting the data used in these hard drive reports on April 10, 2013, just about three years ago. The table below is cumulative as of 3/31 for each year since 4/10/2013.

Cumulative Q1 2016 Hard Drive Failure Rates

One billion hours of spinning hard drives

Let’s take a look at what the hard drives we own have been doing for one billion hours. The one billion hours is a sum of all the data drives, past and present, in our data center. For example, it includes the WDC 1.0TB drives that were recently retired from service after an average of 6 years in operation. Below is a chart of hours in service to date ordered by drive hours:

Q1 2016 Hard Drive Service Hours

The “Others” line accounts for the drives that are not listed because there are or were fewer than 45 drives in service.

In the table above, the Seagate 4TB drive leads in “hours in service” but which manufacturer has the most hours in service? The chart below sheds some light on this topic:
Hard Drive Service Hours by Manufacturer

The early HGST drives, especially the 2- and 3TB drives, have lasted a long time and have provided excellent service over the past several years. This “time-in-service” currently outweighs the sheer quantity of Seagate 4 TB drives we have purchased and placed into service the last year or so.

Another way to look at drive hours is to see which drives, by size, have the most hours. You can see that in the chart below.
Hard Drive Service Hours by Drive Size

The 4TB drives have been spinning for over 580 million hours. There are 48,041 4TB drives which means each drive on average had 503 drive days of service, or 1.38 years. The annualized failure rate for all 4TB drives lifetime is 2.12%.

Hard Drive Reliability by Manufacturer

The drives in our data center come from four manufacturers. As noted above, most of them are from HGST and Seagate. With that in mind, here’s the hard drive failure rates by manufacturer, we’ve combined all of the drives, regardless of size, for a given manufacturer. The results are divided into one-year periods ending on 3/31 of 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Hard Drive Failure Rates by Manufacturer

 

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