Backblaze’s 2020 Hard Drive Reliability Statistics
For the seventh year in a row, cloud backup service Backblaze has published its annual hard drive reliability statistics. The company now manages a total of 162,530 data drives. An interesting thing happened last year: the annualized failure rate (AFR) was cut nearly in half: from 1.89% in 2019 down to 0.93% in 2020. As has been true in past years as well, HGST drives outperformed Seagate drives, although it’s worth noting that many of these drives are now larger than most consumers would be likely to purchase. Backblaze said that it added over 30,000 drives in 2020 that were sized at 14 TB or larger, and they performed well overall, with an AFR of 0.89%, beating out the 12 TB drives’ AFR of 0.98%.
Interesting. I’m pleased to see that Toshiba drives, although not their most commonly used brand, seem to be very reliable. The interesting part, however, is that the 4TB Toshiba drives are “surveillance” models - these have firmware and caches optimized for recording many parallel streams of continuous video data, with a fairly low percentage of read operations. Not something I would ever consider for data center use, although maybe it makes sense for a cloud backup service.
The other Toshiba drives are helium-filled enterprise drives, which makes perfect sense, but is surprising because Backblaze has in the past said that enterprise drives are not significantly more reliable than consumer drives. But perhaps this is simply because there probably aren’t many 14 TB consumer drives to begin with (although Toshiba’s N300 “NAS” drives are available in that capacity).
I am always interested in Backblaze’s reliability surveys given that I am a Backblaze user in Australia. I use a mixture of HDDs and over the years I have found Toshiba drives to be long lasting.
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