Dispelling Backblaze's HDD Reliability Myth - The Real Story Covered - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

That is a terrible analogy of the situation we are discussing. It is nearly the opposite of what is actually the case. I despair of the probability and statistics education that some people are receiving (or not receiving) these days.

If a roulette wheel is unbiased, then the outcomes will be random, and any patterns in the outcome will be random. If the roulette wheel is biased, then a careful statistical analysis (along with data from a sufficiently large sample) will reveal the bias, i.e., show that the outcomes of the roulette wheel are not random, and that some results are more likely than others.

In the Backblaze study (and in any similar statistical study), the goal is to test a statistical hypothesis, such as "the AFR of brand X is higher than the AFR of brand Y". If the methodology is reasonable and data from a sufficiently large sample is available, then the hypothesis may be accepted or rejected on a statistical basis. If the AFRs of the various brands were random like an unbiased roulette wheel, then the study would conclude that there is no statistically significant difference in the AFRs of brand X and brand Y. But that is not what the Backblaze study found when comparing Seagate and Hitachi. There is a statistically significant difference in the AFRs -- Seagate HDDs have higher AFRs than Hitachi HDDs in Backblaze's data centers. This is not random chance -- it is a statistically meaningful distinction.

And that's why my analogy works. Backblaze's study didn't use sufficient numbers to make generalizations regarding brands only models. How many models does Hitachi have out right now? Seagate? WD? How many did Backblaze use in their study? You can't possibly argue that based on a handful of models that entire brands are more or less reliable.

And I'm well aware that the outcome of a "fair" roulette whee will be random, regardless of past outcomes. That's why I chose that example.

There is a statistical disconnect between proving hdd models are reliable vs proving hdd brands are reliable. Just like there is a disconnect between what a roulette wheel has done in the past and what it will do in the future. That's the whole point of the analogy to show that one can't logically or statistically be used to prove the other.

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post #92 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post


And that's why my analogy works. Backblaze's study didn't use sufficient numbers to make generalizations regarding brands only models.

False.

The sample "all Seagate HDDs" is larger than the sample "Seagate model X HDDs" for any value of X.

I'm not sure why you are so confused.
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post #93 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 04:59 PM
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False.

The sample "all Seagate HDDs" is larger than the sample "Seagate model X HDDs" for any value of X.

I'm not sure why you are so confused.

That's great for the models tested. But there is nothing scientific at all in that study to suggest that Model "Y" Seagate Drive (not included in the test) is any more or less reliable than any other model.

If they used a billion drives from Hitachi (all the same model) would you conclude that all Hitachi models are more reliable? I wouldn't. Nor would I do it based on 4 models, which is what the actually used. It simply isn't a large enough sample size regarding their models, compared to the brands entire line.

It's no different than taking a "random sampling of registered voters" all from a handful of rural communities, and suggesting they are representative of the typical American voter. That sample is neither random, nor representative of the country as a whole.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #94 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 05:12 PM
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That's great for the models tested. But there is nothing scientific at all in that study to suggest that Model "Y" Seagate Drive (not included in the test) is any more or less reliable than any other model.

Wrong again.
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If they used a billion drives from Hitachi (all the same model) would you conclude that all Hitachi models are more reliable?

I would conclude that it is more likely for the AFR of any given Hitachi model to be lower than the AFR for any given Seagate model (with a billion drives, that would have to be one of Hitachi's most important models). This is basic and obvious. I'm still not sure why you are so confused. My best guess is that you are making unwarranted (and unstated) assumptions, for example, that there is zero correlation between the AFRs of different models from the same company.
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It's no different than taking a "random sampling of registered voters" all from a handful of rural communities, and suggesting they are representative of the typical American voter.

Wrong again, and another bad analogy. Backblaze has included several common Seagate and Hitachi models in their study.
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post #95 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

I would conclude that it is more likely for the AFR of any given Hitachi model to be lower than the AFR for any given Seagate model (with a billion drives, that would have to be one of Hitachi's most important models). This is basic and obvious. I'm still not sure why you are so confused. My best guess is that you are making unwarranted (and unstated) assumptions, for example, that there is zero correlation between the AFRs of different models from the same company.

I'm not assuming there isn't a correlation. You're assuming there is. To the best of my knowledge, Backblaze did nothing to establish such a correlation. Neither have you.

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Wrong again, and another bad analogy. Backblaze has included several common Seagate and Hitachi models in their study.

The number of models included, isn't the issue. It's the number of models excluded, that is the problem. "Several" is a relative term.

They included 4 models of Hitachi drives. If they only made 10 models, I would consider "Four" to be "several" Hitachi however makes a lot more than 10 different models, and I wouldn't consider "four" to be anywhere in the ballpark of "several" when looking at their actual models. Same for Seagate. Same for WD.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #96 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 05:28 PM
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You're assuming there is.

Wrong yet again. This is getting boring, and I am probably going to stop responding to your nonsense soon, since you have made numerous incorrect statements and I cannot see where your confusion is coming from, which means it is likely that further discussion will not correct your misunderstanding.

I am not assuming that there is a correlation (or that there is not). I am simply looking at the Backblaze data and I see that the average AFRs for Seagate HDDs (regardless of model) that Backblaze has are higher than the average AFRs for Hitachi HDDs, to a statistically significant degree.
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post #97 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 05:41 PM
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Wrong yet again. This is getting boring, and I am probably going to stop responding to your nonsense soon, since you have made numerous incorrect statements and I cannot see where your confusion is coming from, which means it is likely that further discussion will not correct your misunderstanding.

I am not assuming that there is a correlation (or that there is not). I am simply looking at the Backblaze data and I see that the average AFRs for Seagate HDDs (regardless of model) that Backblaze has are higher than the average AFRs for Hitachi HDDs, to a statistically significant degree.

And if I take my "sampling" of rural townfolk and ask their political beliefs, I bet I'll find across the board that they support Joe Republican more so than Bob Democrat... to a statistically significant degree too. But the problem is, I can't assume that my results are representative of the entire country without first showing that my sample is representative of the entire country. If it isn't a representative sample then you don't have representative results.

You, nor Backblaze, has shown that the sample used is representative of the entire brand. It appears you want to assume it is, but you nor they have actually gone to any lengths to demonstrate it. So far "several models" is your best argument, and a very weak one at that.

You can absolutely claim, of the models represented Hitachi was shown to be more reliable than Seagate[/i] but without showing that the models chosen are representative of the brand as a whole, you haven't said anything about the brand as a whole.
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post #98 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 05:54 PM
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... without showing that the models chosen are representative of the brand as a whole, you haven't said anything about the brand as a whole.

Wrong again. I considered repeating myself and explaining again about the difference between certainty and probability. But judging from past results, it is unlikely to reduce your confusion.

[By the way, I just misclicked and gave your previous post a thumbs up, and I don't think I can undo that. Ooops!]
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post #99 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 06:11 PM
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Wrong again. I considered repeating myself and explaining again about the difference between certainty and probability. But judging from past results, it is unlikely to reduce your confusion.

[By the way, I just misclicked and gave your previous post a thumbs up, and I don't think I can undo that. Ooops!]

Well, clearly that's the problem... I must have missed the post where you explained the difference between certainty, and probability. I would have expected it to actually contain the word "certainty" but that post doesn't seem to exist, at least not in this thread. Perhaps you can tell me which post it is so as not to repeat yourself.

And let the record show that I should have 143 thumbs up, not 144.

Tell you what... instead of trying to explain the greater concept of probability and statistics to me, let me just ask this one question (there will of course be follow ups depending on your answer)

If my sample was people from rural-America, and when surveyed, they showed a heavy (statistically significant) Republican lean, could I then conclude that America has a Republican lean? Can you answer that question for me?

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post #100 of 129 Old 02-08-2014, 07:07 PM
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jim2100, you're assuming statistics of a greater whole with a lesser group. this data was clearly only indicative of the models used/chosen. I would never assume that chevy made an inferior product solely based on 2 car product lines, as we all know they make 20+. Only those 2 product lines tested could be held to that model of statistics presented. I'm unsure to where YOUR confusion is.
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post #101 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 04:35 PM
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jim2100, you're assuming statistics of a greater whole with a lesser group.

That's how statistics operate.
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post #102 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
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That's how statistics operate.

So then you are saying if all 4 of the Hitachi models had good reliability (both 7200rpm and 5400rpm) then statistically all Hitachi is likely good ?

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Well, clearly that's the problem... I must have missed the post where you explained the difference between certainty, and probability. I would have expected it to actually contain the word "certainty" but that post doesn't seem to exist, at least not in this thread.

Try searching for "certain".
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post #104 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 05:37 PM
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If one makes an effort to take a sample that represents the whole, yes that's how statistics operate. Backblaze has shown no such effort, and in fact, state the contrary. They weren't selecting hard drives to represent a cross section of various manufacturers. They were purchasing the cheapest hard drives they could get their hands on, then looked at the results.

This is no different that saying based on the performance of 500,000 Crown Vics used by the Yellow Cab company over the last few years, that Ford makes reliable/unreliable cars. Just like with the hard drives, the cars are used differently, serviced differently, and not necessarily representative of cars that people are generally looking to purchase. (no one under 70 anyway)

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #105 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 05:38 PM
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jim2100, you're assuming statistics of a greater whole with a lesser group. this data was clearly only indicative of the models used/chosen. I would never assume that chevy made an inferior product solely based on 2 car product lines, as we all know they make 20+.

Like ajhieb, you are confusing certainty and probability. As I already explained a few posts back. But I am not going to give a probability and statistics lesson here, so you will have to correct your misunderstandings in that area yourself.
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post #106 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 05:39 PM
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This is no different that saying based on the performance of 500,000 Crown Vics used by the Yellow Cab company over the last few years, that Ford makes reliable/unreliable cars.

Wrong yet again.
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post #107 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 05:40 PM
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This is not a murder trial. We do not need to be certain, beyond a reasonable doubt, that someone is guilty.

Pardon me. Bang up explanation you gave there. That cleared it all up.

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post #108 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 05:50 PM
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Pardon me. Bang up explanation you gave there. That cleared it all up.

I'm not sure why you seem to feel entitled to have someone else take their time to teach you something that you seem intelligent enough to learn on your own. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of basic probability and statistics. Even if it were possible, I am not going to take the time to teach you basic probability and statistics in this forum. I've already told you several times that you are confusing probability with certainty. I do not know how to say it more clearly. Yet you continue to make statements involving absolutes when what is called for is probabilistic statements. Maybe someone else is willing to explain it to you. Otherwise, you probably need to spend some time studying applied statistics, and then come back and think about this study after you have corrected your misunderstandings.
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post #109 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 05:59 PM
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Like ajhieb, you are confusing certainty and probability. As I already explained a few posts back. But I am not going to give a probability and statistics lesson here, so you will have to correct your misunderstandings in that area yourself.

So if you don't intend on explaining yourself, do you expect to be taken seriously when you just keep repeating "Wrong again."

Had Backblaze made an effort to get a representative sample of the drives available from the manufacturers, then you could say with a fair amount of confidence, that Manufacturer A is better than Manufacturer B. But they didn't. They didn't do a random sampling. They didn't do a representative sampling. They bought a bunch of cheap drives. Period. That isn't a good sampling to base claims about the brand, no matter how many of those drives they had.

If you could show some sort of correlation between the models represented, and the ones not represented, then you certainly could state that based on the results that all the models from Man A are generally more reliable than all the models from Man B. But no one, not Backblaze, not you, not anyone has made that correlation. The untested drives aren't connected statistically in any way to the ones tested without that correlation. This has nothing to do with absolutes, other than there is absolutely no connection between the drives studied and the drives not included.

It's not a matter of Brand A is more reliable than Brand B with x% of certainty. I'm well aware of what certainty is in that context. The thing that you keep ignoring is that the study wasn't actually looking at brands, it was looking at models. Brand is wholly irrelevant until you show some statistical connection . And you haven't. In the context of the study, "brand" is a wholly abstract concept. You might as well have named some of the drives "Jack" and the others "Jill" and based the study on that. Then we could determine that people named Jack are more reliable than people named Jill. It sounds silly, but it's no more ridiculous than the leap you're trying to make, without first showing the connection between what was studied and what wasn't.

You can keep telling me I'm wrong until you're blue in the face, but until you bring something to the discussion besides that, you may as well be going "blah blah blah"

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post #110 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

I'm not sure why you seem to feel entitled to have someone else take their time to teach you something that you seem intelligent enough to learn on your own. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of basic probability and statistics. Even if it were possible, I am not going to take the time to teach you basic probability and statistics in this forum. I've already told you several times that you are confusing probability with certainty. I do not know how to say it more clearly. Yet you continue to make statements involving absolutes when what is called for is probabilistic statements. Maybe someone else is willing to explain it to you. Otherwise, you probably need to spend some time studying applied statistics, and then come back and think about this study after you have corrected your misunderstandings.

I don't feel entitled at all to have you teach me anything. I'm simply asking for you to explain your claims. If you don't want to give an explanation, that's your prerogative.

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post #111 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:04 PM
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You can keep telling me I'm wrong until you're blue in the face, but until you bring something to the discussion besides that, you may as well be going "blah blah blah"

There is something we can agree on. That is why I already said that me repeating myself is not going to help correct your confusion. You need to put in some effort yourself.
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post #112 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:07 PM
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There is something we can agree on. That is why I already said that me repeating myself is not going to help correct your confusion. You need to put in some effort yourself.

Nope. You're wrong. Don't make me repeat myself.

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post #113 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:08 PM
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I'm simply asking for you to explain your claims. If you don't want to give an explanation, that's your prerogative.

What "claims"? Do you mean my assertion that one can draw probabilistic information from statistical analysis of samples taken from populations? That is basic probability and statistics.
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Nope. You're wrong. Don't make me repeat myself.

Good luck with that. rolleyes.gif
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What "claims"? Do you mean my assertion that one can draw probabilistic information from statistical analysis of samples taken from populations? That is basic probability and statistics.

No one is doubting the viability of probability and statistics in general. Nice attempt at ducking the issue at hand. No, the claim that you can say Hitachis are more reliable than Seagates. or Western Digital, based on this study is the claim that you've yet to defend.

Why do you keep making me repeat myself?

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post #116 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:13 PM
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"But Statistics!" is not a valid defense of that claim. Neither is "No, you're wrong."

Perhaps you should have skipped a prob and stat class and watch the debate team once or twice.

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post #117 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:14 PM
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No, the claim that you can say Hitachis are more reliable than Seagates. or Western Digital, based on this study is the claim that you've yet to defend.

I made no such claim. Again, you are confusing certainty with probability. But with your mental block, you can just replace that with "blah blah blah", as it is clear that you are unwilling to correct your misunderstanding basic probability and statistics, and insist on speaking in absolutes.
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post #118 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:14 PM
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Not really. I skimmed quickly through the article and kept thinking how poor the logic was and how sorely lacking it was with any supporting evidence to its claims.

That's kinda how I feel about your contribution to this thread.
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post #119 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:21 PM
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I made no such claim. Again, you are confusing certainty with probability. But with your mental block, you can just replace that with "blah blah blah", as it is clear that you are unwilling to correct your misunderstanding basic probability and statistics, and insist on speaking in absolutes.

When I'm claiming that you can't based on the backblaze study claim Hitachis are more reliable than Seagates. or Western Digital, and you tell me I'm wrong, then yes, you are claiming that very thing.

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post #120 of 129 Old 02-09-2014, 06:22 PM
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That's kinda how I feel about your contribution to this thread.

Do you also "feel" that I am obligated to teach you arithmetic if I assert that 1 + 1 = 2 ?
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