New hard drive reliability study - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 11-12-2013, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Not as detailed as Google or CMU, but at least it's current gen. 25,000 drives

http://blog.backblaze.com/2013/11/12/how-long-do-disk-drives-last/

Initial thoughts:
Their drive buying habits have much in common with those found on this forum. They buy for TB/$, they will shuck external drives if needed, and from the look of their chassis design, they aren't afraid to run them hot. This is relevant to SOHO builds.

They reported a bathtub curve, which Google and CMU both rejected. I'd love to see their failure data separated by vintage, because they are showing much higher 0-2yr AFRs and much lower 2-4yr AFRs than previous studies. If the baseline has changed over the past decade, that's really good news for the short-warranty consumer drives, but with the reversal from previous studies and the disruption from the floods, I wouldn't jump to conclusions from the one graph they posted.

The long term annual failure rate numbers are the same as previous studies. By the fourth year, a drive's AFR is in the double digits and climbing fast. Drives just don't last.

They dinged Seagate on reliability in comparison to WD and Hitachi, but didn't go show the data. " Seagate – ST3000DM001‑9YN166 (slightly higher failure rate)". This correlates with what the warranty underwriters say, but seeing the numbers would be nice.

Despite their pre-deployment burn-in, a 5% AFR for individual drives means that 90% of their 4U pods see drive fail within the first year!. Two years ago, they had an employee spending one day each week replacing drives that have gone bad. Now that's either become a full-time job, or they switched to just leaving the dead drives in place like Google did.
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post #2 of 27 Old 11-12-2013, 12:00 PM
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WOW- nice find and thanks for the post. Was a great read!

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post #3 of 27 Old 11-12-2013, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

WOW- nice find and thanks for the post. Was a great read!

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post #4 of 27 Old 11-12-2013, 05:51 PM
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Very interesting read, and the bathtub curve is what I would expect from an electromechanical device like a HDD.
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post #5 of 27 Old 11-13-2013, 05:26 AM
 
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I'd love to see their failure data separated by vintage

That would be some good info, but still, nice find!
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post #6 of 27 Old 11-13-2013, 05:48 AM
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I have several RAID 5 arrays that use Hitachi, WD and Seagate 2 TB drives. So far only the Seagate's have failed within the warrantee period. Both drives have been replaced promptly by Seagate. However, I am disappointed in their reliability.

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post #7 of 27 Old 11-13-2013, 06:55 AM
 
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That is both good and bad - if they fail within the warranty you get another drive. If they fail after the warranty you do not.
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post #8 of 27 Old 11-13-2013, 07:03 AM
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That seems coincide with my expectations of today's HDDs: 3-year of average life. I too have a few seagates failed in first year. I tend to buy Hitachi more but it now been sold to WD. There is one less reliable brand. Had one Samsung drive in a laptop and so far so good.

I had a friend who used to work in a data center which hosted MegaUploads before it was taken down. They had some one replace dead HDDs daily for MU as a full-time job.
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post #9 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 10:26 AM
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I'm looking to buy 2 more 3tb seagate hdrives from newegg sale, all these post are making me reconsider Yikes! eek.gif


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post #10 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Djoel View Post

I'm looking to buy 2 more 3tb seagate hdrives from newegg sale, all these post are making me reconsider Yikes! eek.gif


Djoel

They are likely not much better or worse than other options ( other models, or other brands like Hitachi, Toshiba, or WD etc...)

On matters of reliability with HDD's I generally just take my chances with the best product/price available to me at the time, and this has seemed to work reasonably well for me with over 100 hard drive purchases made.

I've owned every brand and model I can think of- and basically my conclusion is a hard drive is a hard drive. They are all much more like each other than they are different, and this includes reliability. None seem to last more or less than another, general luck seems to play as much a role in determining reliability as anything else does.

I think the key is to have reasonable expectations. The expectation that a hard drive will NEVER fail because you chose a superior model or brand is absolute complete BS, anyone thinking or spewing such nonsense is full of crap themselves. I think it's reasonable to think any major brand or model should last you 3-5 years, but beyond that it's very unreasonable to think it would last more regardless of brand or model. If it fails before 3 years then you simply got a bad one, or had bad luck. Even purchasing the statistically worst model or brand yields you very high chance it should work as intended beyond the warranty period.

I have taken the approach that it's best not to worry about IF my hard drives will fail; Rather, I've taken the approach it's better to worry about when they fail and how to deal with it. Using this strategy is really doesn't matter if my hard drive dies in the first month, or after 72 months - the end result is basically the same. If you employ a proper strategy and plan for hard drives failures its really not a big deal at all. Worrying about your strategy to deal with a hard drive failure is so much more important and helpful than worrying about which hard drive will fail and which will not. You really can't tell or predict with reasonable accuracy the reliability of any hard drive from the individual user level of a consumer so it's best not to worry as much about that- and worry more about what to do when a problem occurs. It will provide you more piece of mind in the long run and a better experience overall.

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post #11 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

They are likely not much better or worse than other options ( other models, or other brands like Hitachi, Toshiba, or WD etc...)

On matters of reliability with HDD's I generally just take my chances with the best product/price available to me at the time, and this has seemed to work reasonably well for me with over 100 hard drive purchases made.

I've owned every brand and model I can think of- and basically my conclusion is a hard drive is a hard drive. They are all much more like each other than they are different, and this includes reliability. None seem to last more or less than another, general luck seems to play as much a role in determining reliability as anything else does.

I think the key is to have reasonable expectations. The expectation that a hard drive will NEVER fail because you chose a superior model or brand is absolute complete BS, anyone thinking or spewing such nonsense is full of crap themselves. I think it's reasonable to think any major brand or model should last you 3-5 years, but beyond that it's very unreasonable to think it would last more regardless of brand or model. If it fails before 3 years then you simply got a bad one, or had bad luck. Even purchasing the statistically worst model or brand yields you very high chance it should work as intended beyond the warranty period.

I have taken the approach that it's best not to worry about IF my hard drives will fail; Rather, I've taken the approach it's better to worry about when they fail and how to deal with it. Using this strategy is really doesn't matter if my hard drive dies in the first month, or after 72 months - the end result is basically the same. If you employ a proper strategy and plan for hard drives failures its really not a big deal at all. Worrying about your strategy to deal with a hard drive failure is so much more important and helpful than worrying about which hard drive will fail and which will not. You really can't tell or predict with reasonable accuracy the reliability of any hard drive from the individual user level of a consumer so it's best not to worry as much about that- and worry more about what to do when a problem occurs. It will provide you more piece of mind in the long run and a better experience overall.


Thank you for that assessment, as I completely understand your philosophy and sway to the same thinking in other segments of life, I was taken by the few posts that echo almost the same thing about Seagate.

It's pretty much a crap shoot, and there's very little I can do. Whether I go with another brand, model, price range, it is what it is, life happens! Thanks for getting me of the ledge, as I was ready to jump out the window.

Thanks

Dan
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post #12 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 01:39 PM
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Get a backup system setup so that you don't really have to worry too much about a HDD gone bad. That is until the HDDs in the backup system start to go bad smile.gif Yes, it happens to me once and that is a Seagate drive. Luckily I setup folder duplication in WHS so I can still recover the important files in another HDD.
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post #13 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 01:55 PM
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If it matters I have bought 25 of the Seagate 3TB drives and so far not one single RMA or failure or issue. I started buying these last Black Friday- so 25 drives in a year and no issues would tend to tell me I can recommend those without any hesitation.

To be fair, I would expect nearly the same from WD or Hitachi though... I just like the Seagates for the awesome performance and prices.

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post #14 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post

Get a backup system setup so that you don't really have to worry too much about a HDD gone bad. That is until the HDDs in the backup system start to go bad smile.gif Yes, it happens to me once and that is a Seagate drive. Luckily I setup folder duplication in WHS so I can still recover the important files in another HDD.

Got it, sounds like another project.

Thanks

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post #15 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 02:21 PM
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If it matters I have bought 25 of the Seagate 3TB drives and so far not one single RMA or failure or issue. I started buying these last Black Friday- so 25 drives in a year and no issues would tend to tell me I can recommend those without any hesitation.

To be fair, I would expect nearly the same from WD or Hitachi though... I just like the Seagates for the awesome performance and prices.


Be careful, last time you went public on how great a certain SSD was it went bad a few weeks later, the HHD Gods don't take it too kindly to make predictions as such! wink.gif

J/k, I just purchased 2 more Seagate 3Tb!

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post #16 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 02:45 PM
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Personally I'm slowly moving away from mechanical drives.  I think eventually I will just have a mechanical drive in my HTPC and SSD's in all of my other systems.  I basically only need the huge storage space for DVR functionality.

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post #17 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 03:04 PM
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<--- 35TB DIGITAL MEDIA WHORE CHECKING IN.

I love me some SSD but it's simply impractical from a media storage perspective. With fast Seagate 3TB drives often selling for $35/TB or less they are really the best option out there IMO. Everything else is either slower, or more expensive. Neither is good.
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post #18 of 27 Old 11-14-2013, 07:51 PM
 
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<--- 29TB digital media (storage space) whore checking in. smile.gif
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post #19 of 27 Old 11-15-2013, 03:31 PM
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Can you guys recommend a decent 3TB drive for my Htpc. Only have filled 2TB frown.gif

Not concerned with price as much as reliability. Under $125

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post #20 of 27 Old 11-15-2013, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbraden32 View Post

Can you guys recommend a decent 3TB drive for my Htpc. Only have filled 2TB frown.gif

Not concerned with price as much as reliability. Under $125

In the pass 30 day or so I've purchased four Seagate 3Tb, can't tell you how reliable they are but I'm taking chances, and for the price they're not that bad. They might be a sale at the moment at Newegg if you're a member, or you get emails from them, not too sure how that works.

Edit :looks like the sale ends tonight.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148844&nm_mc=TEMC-RMA-Approvel&cm_mmc=TEMC-RMA-Approvel-_-Content-_-text-_-

Good luck

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post #21 of 27 Old 11-15-2013, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by tbraden32 View Post

Can you guys recommend a decent 3TB drive for my Htpc. Only have filled 2TB frown.gif

Not concerned with price as much as reliability. Under $125

The short answer is reliability is a crap shoot. A WD GREEN is basically identical to a WD RED (the only difference is the firmware these days) but the RED is marketed to be "more reliable" and comes with extra 1 year warranty (3 years versus only 2 years ) The reality is you would expect both to last 3 years or more and if you had trouble it would likely be before the 2 years was up, or after the 3 years was over (the bathtub curve discussed in the article linked )

So I would tend to favor this : (WD GREEN 3TB for $109 )
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136874&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL111513&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL111513-_-EMC-111513-Index-_-InternalHardDrives-_-22136874-L04D

I think the RED is not worth the extra cost if you are installing into a HTPC.

But then again, I dislike WD and think it's gone downhill recently. Both RED and GREEN are pretty slow hard drives and you can get a faster 7200rpm Seagate 3TB for only $101 (only 2 years warranty too)


Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Extra savings w/ promo code EMCWWWS26, ends 11/15
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148844

I have 20 of these ^ and never had one fail yet. I would choose it every single time without any hesitation over a WD 5400rpm drive, at the same price or less. They are very fast, and competitive on energy and noise. I value the performance myself because I find the 5400rpm WD drives really get pretty slow when you fill them up and they get old. I can't consistently get 60MB/sec from my 2TB models, and I can't get more than 70MB/sec from my 3TB models. In comparison I get a gigabit saturated 120MB/sec from my Seagates (and 160MB/sec locally not over LAN ) I simply do not care what any benchmark says, I've purchase 50 hard drive in the last 2 years of every model and I know that I know what I know. (does that make sense ? ) WD is slower universally because of the slower spindle speed, and I simply dislike them.

I would suggest that $101 for the Seagate is a good choice for you unless you do not mind spending more $ simply to have the WD name and lower performance. But I still think the WD I linked for $109 is a good choice too. The people that favor the WD stuff simply seem to favor the brand, and there is no real facts to back up that preference but I don't see the big deal in spending a few bucks more for the WD if you simply like the brand more. My opinion is that WD has really gone down hill recently. I used to be a WD die hard and fanboy but that ended when they started making 5400rpm drives, and WD marketing started to get to creative with the "reliability" marketing they do recently. The reality is that HDD's do not last any longer today, and actually come with shorter warranties (I used to get WD drives with 5 years in past) so I call total BS on all that.

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post #22 of 27 Old 11-15-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djoel View Post

In the pass 30 day or so I've purchased four Seagate 3Tb, can't tell you how reliable they are but I'm taking chances, and for the price they're not that bad. They might be a sale at the moment at Newegg if you're a member, or you get emails from them, not too sure how that works.

Edit :looks like the sale ends tonight.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148844&nm_mc=TEMC-RMA-Approvel&cm_mmc=TEMC-RMA-Approvel-_-Content-_-text-_-

Good luck

Djoel

I've bought 30 in the past 12 months and never had one fail yet. I have these exclusively in my server and love them.

Keep your fingers crossed your drives are the not first to be "bad" lol. It's really just luck, and almost every HDD should work as intended and designed for 4+ years. 5/6 years you should expect failure though. That's simply about what hard drives last. Majority last 4-6years, and it's rare for them to fail inside of 3 years or last longer than 7 years.
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post #23 of 27 Old 11-15-2013, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
I have 20 of these ^ and never had one fail yet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

If it matters I have bought 25 of the Seagate 3TB drives and so far not one single RMA or failure or issue. I started buying these last Black Friday- so 25 drives in a year and no issues would tend to tell me I can recommend those without any hesitation.
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I've bought 30 in the past 12 months and never had one fail yet. I have these exclusively in my server and love them.

So, if all 20 25 30 drives are still humming along, I'm just dying to know...
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I have a 30TB+ Flexraid server and it's just unfeasible to purchase another $2000 worth of HDD's and run mirror set up. Restoring a failed drive is pretty easy and works well.

...how you arrived at this conclusion.rolleyes.gif

http://xkcd.com/937/
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post #24 of 27 Old 11-15-2013, 04:38 PM
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Well if you want clarity- My server only holds 20 of these (Norco 4220)

I have 2 in my desktop (for storage)

And I have bought a bunch more for others or other machines or builds. I have one in my office PC. One in my brothers HTPC, and one in my parents PC.

I've also used 10 in another NORCO 4220 build for a friend. I built two HTPC for people here on AVS in last 6 months that both used them, and I am working on another this weekend.

I've bought over 30 of them personally, installed over 50 of them, and own and use daily 25 of them.

Sorry to confuse you.

The point was I've use enough with a good experience that I can reccommend them. I started buying them last black friday heavily ($89 on sale I bought 5) and I've bought a bunch more over the last year as cheap as $79 and as expensive as $109. They are often available very cheap. I have bought a bunch of externals from Staples ($75 with $25 off coupon) and Costco ($99 no rebates) and "SHUCKED" them like the article you linked explains. Those are some of the ones in my server now and no troubles (knock on wood)

I'd suggest "shucking" is a fine choice if the price makes it attractive. But since Newegg has OEM bare drives for $101 it's probably easier to spend the $1 than "SHUCK" the Costco external for $99.

All that said,

I really don't have a clue the exact number tongue.gif I see you point with my inconsistency but it's simply a matter of me being very general, not dishonest.

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post #25 of 27 Old 11-17-2013, 12:47 AM
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The only failure mode I've ever experienced with hard drives is having the head assembly go. The so called "click of death". There are now only two sources for head assemblies: Seagate/Samsung, and Hitachi/Western Digital. It does not make much sense to look at the track history of older drives, as head technology is both changing rapidly, and consolidating designs.

 

I built my 20 drive NAS three years ago with WD 1T Greens,and I am now out of space and thinking about swapping some perfectly working drives out for bigger drives. 

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post #26 of 27 Old 11-19-2013, 10:37 AM
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All hard drives fail. Every one every MFG will eventually die. It's just a matter of when. If you accept this as fact- then your life with hard drives becomes easier.

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post #27 of 27 Old 11-21-2013, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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All hard drives fail. Every one every MFG will eventually die. It's just a matter of when. If you accept this as fact- then your life with hard drives becomes easier.

After about 7ish years, hard drives are fully obsolete; their operating costs exceed their replacement costs. The question is not "will this drive die?", it's "what's the probability this drive will die while in service?". That's where you notice the real difference between the different models and brands. A 1% AFR difference compounds quickly when you are running x drives for y years.
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