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  1. At Backblaze we now have 34,881 drives and store over 100 petabytes of data. We continually track how our disk drives are doing, which ones are reliable, and which ones need to be replaced. I did a blog post back in January, called “What Hard Drive Should I Buy?†It covered the reliability of each of the drive models that we use. This month I’m updating those numbers and sharing some surprising new findings. Reliability of Hard Drive Brands Losing a disk drive at Backblaze is not a big deal. Every file we back up is replicated across multiple drives in the data center. When a drive fails, it is promptly replaced, and its data is restored. Even so, we still try to avoid failing drives, because replacing them costs money. We carefully track which drives are doing well and which are not, to help us when selecting new drives to buy. The good news is that the chart today looks a lot like the one from January, and that most of the drives are continuing to perform well. It’s nice when things are stable. The surprising (and bad) news is that Seagate 3.0TB drives are failing a lot more, with their failure rate jumping from 9% to 15%. The Western Digital 3TB drives have also failed more, with their rate going up from 4% to 7%. In the chart below, the grey bars are the failure rates up through the end of 2013, and the colored bars are the failure rates including all of the data up through the end of June, 2014. You can see that all the HGST (formerly Hitachi) drives, the Seagate 1.5 TB and 4.0 TB, and Western Digital 1.0 TB drives are all continuing to perform as well as they were before. But the Seagate and Western Digital 3.0 TB drives failure rates are up quite a bit. What is the likely cause of this? It may be that those drives are less well-suited to the data center environment. Or it could be that getting them by drive farming and removing them from external USB enclosures caused problems. We’ll continue to monitor and report on how these drives perform in the future. Should we switch to enterprise drives? Assuming we continue to see a failure rate of 15% on these drives, would it make sense to switch to “enterprise†drives instead? There are two answers to this question: Today on Amazon, a Seagate 3 TB “enterprise†drive costs $235 versus a Seagate 3 TB “desktop†drive costs $102. Most of the drives we get have a 3-year warranty, making failures a non-issue from a cost perspective for that period. However, even if there were no warranty, a 15% annual failure rate on the consumer “desktop†drive and a 0% failure rate on the “enterprise†drive, the breakeven would be 10 years, which is longer than we expect to even run the drives for. The assumption that “enterprise†drives would work better than “consumer†drives has not been true in our tests. I analyzed both of these types of drives in our system and found that their failure rates in our environment were very similar — with the “consumer†drives actually being slightly more reliable. Detailed Reliability of Hard Drive Models This table shows the detailed breakdown of how many of which drives we have, how old they are on average, and what the failure rate is. It includes all drive models that we have at least 200 of. A couple of models are new to Backblaze and show a failure rate of “n/a†because there isn’t enough data yet for reliable numbers. Number of Hard Drives by Model at Backblaze Model Size Number of Drives Average Age in years Annual Failure Rate Seagate Desktop HDD.15 (ST4000DM000) 4.0TB 9619 0.6 3.0% HGST Deskstar 7K2000 (HGST HDS722020ALA330) 2.0TB 4706 3.4 1.1% HGST Deskstar 5K3000 (HGST HDS5C3030ALA630) 3.0TB 4593 2.1 0.7% Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 (ST3000DM001) 3.0TB 3846 1.9 15.7% HGST Megascale 4000.B (HGST HMS5C4040BLE640) 4.0TB 2884 0.2 n/a HGST Deskstar 5K4000 (HGST HDS5C4040ALE630) 4.0TB 2627 1.2 1.2% Seagate Barracuda LP (ST31500541AS) 1.5TB 1699 4.3 9.6% HGST Megascale 4000 (HGST HMS5C4040ALE640) 4.0TB 1305 0.1 n/a HGST Deskstar 7K3000 (HGST HDS723030ALA640) 3.0TB 1022 2.6 1.4% Western Digital Red (WDC WD30EFRX) 3.0TB 776 0.5 8.8% Western Digital Caviar Green (WDC WD10EADS) 1.0TB 476 4.6 3.8% Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 (ST31500341AS) 1.5TB 365 4.3 24.9% Seagate Barracuda XT (ST33000651AS) 3.0TB 318 2.2 6.7% We use two different models of Seagate 3TB drives. The Barracuda 7200.14 is having problems, but the Barracuda XT is doing well with less than half the failure rate. There is a similar pattern with the Seagate 1.5TB drives. The Barracuda 7200.11 is having problems, but the Barracuda LP is doing well. Summary While the failure rate of Seagate and Western Digital 3 TB hard drives has started to rise, most of the consumer-grade drives in the Backblaze data center are continuing to perform well, and are a cost-effective way to provide unlimited online backup at a good price. Notes 9-30-2014 – We were nicely asked by the folks at HGST to replace the name Hitachi with the name HGST given that HGST is no longer an Hitachi company. To that end we have changed Hitachi to HGST in this post and in the graph. View the full article
  2. When it comes to technology, it is almost impossible to stay on the forefront. You will drive yourself nuts, and empty your wallet, chasing after every new thing. Got the newest and most expensive graphics card? Yesterday's news within months. The newest iPhone? You can make that claim for one year at best. Hard drives are no different and are probably the longest-running way for manufacturers to take money from nerds. I bought a 4TB drive earlier in the year thinking it would be high-end for some time, but sure enough, it is now yawn-worthy. Why? Today, Seagate begins shipping 8TB hard drives. Yup, twice as big as my 4TB drive. I haven't learned my lesson though as I already want one! "A cornerstone for growing capacities in multiple applications, the 8TB hard drive delivers bulk data storage solutions for online content storage providing customers with the highest capacity density needed to address an ever increasing amount of unstructured data in an industry-standard 3.5-inch HDD. Providing up to 8TB in a single drive slot, the drive delivers maximum rack density, within an existing footprint, for the most efficient data center floor space usage possible", says Seagate. The manufacturer further explains, "the 8TB hard disk drive increases system capacity using fewer components for increased system and staffing efficiencies while lowering power costs. With its low operating power consumption, the drive reliably conserves energy thereby reducing overall operating costs. Helping customers economically store data, it boasts the best Watts/GB for enterprise bulk data storage in the industry". In other words, you can free up SATA connectors and lower energy costs by utilizing one drive instead of multiple. Think of it this way; I already own a 4TB drive. If I add a second 4TB drive instead of replacing the first with an 8TB variant, I will be wasting a SATA port and using more electricity. For a home user, this isn't a huge deal, but in a server environment, it can really add up. Over time, the savings could justify the cost. Cost is the big mystery though, as Seagate has not announced an MSRP. However, it is shipping a limited supply of the drives to select retailers and will open it up to more later in the year. Expect them to be expensive, at least for the time being. Hopefully they will work in existing USB enclosures, so laptop and Surface users can enjoy the fun too. Do you need 8TB of storage on your home computer? What are you storing? Tell me in the comments. View the full article
  3. My laptop needs a new hard drive. How do I know what type i need? The laptop is an HP model number is G60-519WM. Thanks Eddie
  4. My grandson's PC needs a new internal hard drive. The PC is a Dell Dimension 8300 and currently has a Seagate Barracuda 7200.7, model #8T3120026A8. Can someone that knows about hard drives please provide a link or two of some compatible hard drives. I am looking for something similar to the original specs at an affordable price. thanks Eddie
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