Hard Drive Reliability Study

Every hard drive is out to get you, (but some more than others).

I’ve used that as a laugh line in my lectures for a bunch of years. Whenever people ask me which drive to buy, I point out that even the best quality drive can experience a sudden failure. But you can lower your odds of a problem.

Backblaze is a company that buys drives by the truckload. And they buy the most cost-effective drives they can. They are nice enough to publish the failure statistics for specific brands and models. Last week, they released a round of these numbers, and provide some good context for them.


This graph is from an article on the Backblaze blog that outlines the failure rate of various drives they use.

The short answer is that Hitachi drives provided the best reliability for Backblaze, and Seagate was the worst. In the case of the Seagate 1.5TB drive, the numbers are really bad. I’ve been buying (and recommending) Hitachi drives for a couple years now. Good to get a little more empirical evidence.

BTW, I like Backblaze as a cloud-based backup service. I don’t use it for my own work, because I have things taken care of locally. But I’ve installed it on the computer my daughter has taken to college with her. It makes a cloud backup in the background as she adds or changes files.

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