Photo by Backblaze
Online backup provider Backblaze (a TidBITS sponsor) has been publishing hard drive reliability statistics for years, and the company just published numbers for Q3 2018 across an installed base of 97,600 drives. Backblaze has now abandoned 3 TB drives for higher capacity ones—up to 12 TB—and overall reliability numbers look excellent, with failure rates around 2% or less. Notably, the Seagate 8 TB and 12 TB drives are showing failure rates around 1%. The only concerning data point comes from a 6 TB Western Digital drive, which had a failure rate over 4%. To be fair, that’s within a very small sample size of only 383 drives (compared to the 25,101 Seagate 12 TB drives that Backblaze has). If you’re looking for a new external hard drive, we recommend looking at models that have fared well at scale for Backblaze.