Over the last few months and years, Backblaze has been publishing different statistics reports and information based on the hard drives in their data center to offer us a little perspective on the resistance of different devices and storage modelsand how could it be otherwise, his last report updates us the data of 2021.
The statistical study is carried out based on the error rate of its own infrastructure, with currently more than 200,000 hard drives in operation that work under optimal stress conditions (practically 24/7 throughout the year), adding up to thousands of million hours of individual activity.
For this reason, it is a good barometer to verify reliability, although it should be clarified that the rate of failures registered in its reports not only include a direct failure of the unitsbut also add synchronization failures to RAID arrays or operating values above a smart statistics system that uses.
Thus, as the company has shared, its study has focused on drives of various capacities and ages from Seagate, Toshiba, HGST, and WDC, monitoring the annualized failure rate of each model. The latest report shows that the AFR for all units in operation increased to 1.01% in 2021 from 0.93% in 2020although they remain significantly below the 1.83% reported in 2019.
Newer, higher-capacity drives are largely responsible for this figure, accounting for 69% of total active drives, but only 57% of drive failures.
The most reliable unit operated by Backblaze remains the 6TB Seagate ST6000DX000 with an AFR of just 0.11% at average ages of 80.4 months. While in counterpart, curiously from the same company, we find that the least reliable unit is the 14TB Seagate ST14000NM0138, which goes up to 4.66% AFR in the fourth quarter of 2021, improving notably compared to the 6.29% marked in the third quarter of 2021.
While these statistics cannot be used to reliably judge the quality of units from a particular manufacturer, serve as a good reference for general trends on the reliability of hard drives.