Backblaze publishes HDD reliability stats for Q2 2019

Humza

Posts: 682   +159
Staff member

Given that all the hard drives currently in use are subject to deterioration over time/usage and will fail one day, it's a good idea to keep an eye on which manufacturer is putting out the most reliable models on the market for when it's time to upgrade.

For the second quarter of 2019, Backblaze has published its latest HDD stats and it looks like Seagate drives suffered from the most failures. Admittedly, the manufacturer does have the most samples, 6 out of 13 models tested in total (also more quantity for each capacity in general) and the longest drive days; more than 3 million drive days just for its 12TB model.

With all drives currently in use at Backblaze's data centers, the company highlighted the impressive performance of Toshiba drives but also noted that it didn't have a large enough sample quantity for the 4TB models to make for a reliable statistic. Nonetheless, both the 14TB and 4TB Toshiba models in use reported zero failures in this quarter.

Backblaze also notes that the 14TB model "got off to a bit of a rocky start, with six failures in the first three months of being deployed. Since then, there has been only one additional failure, with no failures reported in Q2 2019."

"There were 199 drives (108,660 minus 108,461) that were not included in the list above because they were used as testing drives or we did not have at least 60 of a given drive model. We now use 60 drives of the same model as the minimum number when we report quarterly, yearly, and lifetime drive statistics as there are 60 drives in all newly deployed Storage Pods — older Storage Pod models had a minimum of 45," the company said in its blog post.

For this quarter, Backblaze also bid farewell to the 6TB models by Western Digital that had an average age of 50 months and it added more than 4,700 HGST branded (Western Digital owned) disks of 12TB capacity to its data centers.

In terms of lifetime performance (spanning six years of testing), the 12TB HGST comes out as the least failing disk with a 0.37 percent annualized failure rate and Seagate's 4TB model had the highest failure rate at 2.72 percent.

Backblaze has also provided a web page for users who wish to view the complete data set used to create this information.

Permalink to story.

 

B5S46M

Posts: 34   +46
Typical Seagate. I think there was one report where their drives actually fared better than the others. One. This mirrors my experience since the early 90s. Every single Seagate drive I've ever owned failed prematurely. Quantum, Maxtor, Western Digital were all much better. Even the IBM Deskstars were better. Looks like nothing has changed. I haven't purchased a Seagate drive in the last 7 years, and never plan on doing so in the future.
 

koblongata

Posts: 301   +106
Typical Seagate. I think there was one report where their drives actually fared better than the others. One. This mirrors my experience since the early 90s. Every single Seagate drive I've ever owned failed prematurely. Quantum, Maxtor, Western Digital were all much better. Even the IBM Deskstars were better. Looks like nothing has changed. I haven't purchased a Seagate drive in the last 7 years, and never plan on doing so in the future.
Same here... it took my photos, songs, all my digital memories in the 90's alone with it...
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,321   +3,424
From my experience, I have always found Seagate to be far more reliable than any other. I have never had a Seagate failure; however, a recent WD drive that I bought was dead out-of-the-box. In addition, the WD drive ran substantially hotter than the Seagate. If I buy another non-SSD HD, and I might not due to SSD capacities getting larger for reasonable cost, I will only buy Seagate.

IMO, its interesting that at least the st12000nm0007 comes from the enterprise series. I recently bought from their Ironwolf/Skyhawk series and have had no problems even though I have run them 24/7 for months at a time.
 

3ogdy

Posts: 23   +10
Not surprised at all. Had problems with Seagate as well. Talked with them on the phone to report drive problems within warranty. They asked me for the serial number "to check for warranty" and once I provided them the number they literally told me "the drive is no longer in warranty" - they tricked me into providing the number to get it out of warranty despite me having the LEGAL RIGHT TO 2 YEARS OF MANUFACTURER WARRANTY. I realized the drive was dead because I could no longer get Winamp to play my Playlist, then realized it didn't appear under Drive Management anymore. I had to pay over $1000 of my hard-earned money for them to get my data back. I had to ship the drive to the Netherlands where they have a recovery lab. Seagate? NEVER AGAIN.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
It's sad to see things go, and because of this it's incredibly important TO BACKUP IMPORTANT information that you can't get back otherwise. Mechanical and electronic things can and WILL go bad eventually, it's just a matter of when.

With all that said, even with "highest" fail rate they are still purchasing them left and right, so between the savings and everything they are still considered good. Otherwise they wouldn't have tens of thousands bad Seagate drives.

Do your backups, don't backup your whole drive because let's face it, unless you have a specialized job or hobby, probably most of it can be recovered. Your family pictures and videos, definitely you want them somewhere where they won't get lost.
 

BobHome

Posts: 71   +27
Typical Seagate. I think there was one report where their drives actually fared better than the others. One. This mirrors my experience since the early 90s. Every single Seagate drive I've ever owned failed prematurely. Quantum, Maxtor, Western Digital were all much better. Even the IBM Deskstars were better. Looks like nothing has changed. I haven't purchased a Seagate drive in the last 7 years, and never plan on doing so in the future.
Same here... it took my photos, songs, all my digital memories in the 90's alone with it...
That's why I have a backup (3GB WD Green) to my backup (4GB WD NAS mirrored). I use FreeFileSync for the 3GB backup.
 

Raytrace3D

Posts: 175   +168
Typical Seagate. I think there was one report where their drives actually fared better than the others. One. This mirrors my experience since the early 90s. Every single Seagate drive I've ever owned failed prematurely. Quantum, Maxtor, Western Digital were all much better. Even the IBM Deskstars were better. Looks like nothing has changed. I haven't purchased a Seagate drive in the last 7 years, and never plan on doing so in the future.
I use to have a bunch of the IBM "DeathStars" and they lived up to the nickname. haha Everyone died well before they were suppose to. I have a bunch of HGST drives based on these reports from previous years and so far none have failed inside of their warranty periods (actually none of mine have failed yet).
 
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B5S46M

Posts: 34   +46
It's sad to see things go, and because of this it's incredibly important TO BACKUP IMPORTANT information that you can't get back otherwise. Mechanical and electronic things can and WILL go bad eventually, it's just a matter of when.

With all that said, even with "highest" fail rate they are still purchasing them left and right, so between the savings and everything they are still considered good. Otherwise they wouldn't have tens of thousands bad Seagate drives.

Do your backups, don't backup your whole drive because let's face it, unless you have a specialized job or hobby, probably most of it can be recovered. Your family pictures and videos, definitely you want them somewhere where they won't get lost.
Yup. I always backup irreplaceable stuff. First line of protection is running a NAS in RAID 6 in case of drive failure - causing availability issues. 2nd defense is scheduled backups to external disks - yes plural disks - in case of NAS failure or being dumb and accidentally deleting something or getting a virus. If my OS drive (HDD or SSD) dies, all of that is easily reinstalled. Oddly enough I've yet to have an SSD go bad.
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,047   +630
Typical Seagate. I think there was one report where their drives actually fared better than the others. One. This mirrors my experience since the early 90s. Every single Seagate drive I've ever owned failed prematurely. Quantum, Maxtor, Western Digital were all much better. Even the IBM Deskstars were better. Looks like nothing has changed. I haven't purchased a Seagate drive in the last 7 years, and never plan on doing so in the future.
Yep synonymous with trash. They have that market segment covered.

I won't touch any SSD from them as well on principal with their ridiculous stance years ago that they said SSDs weren't the future and a waste of time so they didn't develop a line. OCZ, WD, Intel, Samsung etc were all throwing their hats into the ring. THEY deserve my business.
 
I've had a data recovery service for typical HDD's that woud'nt require a cleanroom. But I can tell that the quality of Seagate HDD's overall is getting worse. They where good in the early days but the faillure rate in those 2 graphs typical show how reliable seagate really is. They should stop skimping out on quality of parts. Even tho a drive could be RMA'd if it's within warranty, seagate is not going to cover your dataloss.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,044   +96
I'm a tech guy so my friends often come to me for advice if any of them had a broken HDD. guess what? seagate was by far the most frequent. the last seagate I had was a 1TB drive which starts to show bad sector and corrupted some of my pictures despite its light use (not for endurance, server or CCTV).

I believe seagate was well known for hiring a psychic in their office. guess what? I'm not buying anymore of your sh**!
 

grvalderrama

Posts: 266   +89
I don't know much about Seagate, but I had two 1TB externad HDD from Western Digital, both died. The only good thing about it was that when I filed the complaint, both times recognized the failure, last time they replaced the HDD with a 2TB unit, and this one is still functional, but I don't use it to carry my personal data (it's plugged in to my PS4), I have a Transcend for that matter, and it has rock-solid functionality, never had an issue. Now I own two 1TB amd one 3TB transcend external drives.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,455   +1,431
TechSpot Elite
Highest recent failure rates for our managed users recently recently are for 2.5" WD Blacks, 3-4 years old in Optiplex SFF desktops. Backblaze only uses 3.5" drives for obvious reasons.

Seagate had 2 really bad batches of drives in the 1.5GB and 3TB sizes earlier this decade with failure rates in the 10% range, so 2.85% is not so bad for them. I had both of these and had 3 failures out of about 12 drives but no big deal. All my data is in triplicate in 3x RAID0 boxes. No RAID5 parity failure risks, easy swap in replacement, quick replace and copy when I have a drive failure.

I still buy Seagate if they're the cheapest per GB for the same reason BB does, my replacement after failure is easy and overall it's lowest cost.
 

HyPeroxya

Posts: 107   +12
Sad to hear of your (data) loss , but you have to ask yourself , why do BACKBLAZE refuse to use ANY WD drives ? they are happy to use all others , but they have elbowed out all wd. On another note, I bought two 6tb red refurbs, I am wondering if they came from Backblaze , I suppose not as the power on hours were very low (not zero). They are not in raid1 or backed up.
 

treetops

Posts: 2,980   +746
My 2 tb seagate died a few years after the warranty expired. So I grabbed my old 5400 rpm 500gig(2009) WD as secondary to my SSD. Still works.
 

loki1944

Posts: 386   +242
From my experience, I have always found Seagate to be far more reliable than any other. I have never had a Seagate failure; however, a recent WD drive that I bought was dead out-of-the-box. In addition, the WD drive ran substantially hotter than the Seagate. If I buy another non-SSD HD, and I might not due to SSD capacities getting larger for reasonable cost, I will only buy Seagate.

IMO, its interesting that at least the st12000nm0007 comes from the enterprise series. I recently bought from their Ironwolf/Skyhawk series and have had no problems even though I have run them 24/7 for months at a time.
I've had 6/8 seagate drives die on me and 2/15 WD drives fail on me.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,455   +1,431
TechSpot Elite
Sad to hear of your (data) loss , but you have to ask yourself , why do BACKBLAZE refuse to use ANY WD drives ? they are happy to use all others , but they have elbowed out all wd. On another note, I bought two 6tb red refurbs, I am wondering if they came from Backblaze , I suppose not as the power on hours were very low (not zero). They are not in raid1 or backed up.
They've mentioned their purchasing strategy in the past but the short version is the cheapest, biggest storage wins. The cost to them in terms of man-hours and hardware is lower for replacement and rebuild with cheap drives with a higher failure rate than similar more expensive drives with a lower failure rate.