Backblaze records zero failures for three HDD models in latest Q2 2021 drive reliability...

Humza

Posts: 895   +164
Staff member
Bottom line: Backblaze has published the latest reliability figures for its data drives (HDDs) and boot drives (SSDs and HDDs) for Q2 2021. The company noted a slight increase in quarterly AFR across its data drives, which were expectedly led by a couple of Seagate and Toshiba models that have one of the highest drive counts and average age across all monitored HDDs. Backblaze also drew a comparison between its SSD and HDD boot drives by looking into past data for a more accurate insight into their failure rates.

In terms of quarterly failures, Seagate's 4TB HDD led the pack with 91 units out of a total of 439 failing drives. Interestingly, the company's 6TB HDD was among the three HDD models that recorded zero failures in Backblaze's Q2 2021 reliability report. The other two being HGST's 12TB and WD's 16TB drives.

The three models with only one unit going bust this quarter include Toshiba's 4TB and 16TB drives, the latter of which recorded its first failure, alongside one HGST 8TB unit. The AFR for these data drives rose to 1.01 percent, which Backblaze notes is a jump from 0.85 percent over the previous quarter and has also ended the downward AFR trend observed over the past year.

Meanwhile, for a more accurate comparison of boot drives that are made up of older HDDs and relatively newer SSDs, Backblaze first looked at the active drives' figures from Q4 2020 and then a lifetime snapshot from Q4 2015 for boot HDDs, which is when their attributes (drive count, average age) were the closest to the SSDs.

This evaluation drastically reduced the AFR difference between the two storage mediums, which in Q1 2021 stood at 0.65 percent for SSDs and 6.04 percent for HDDs. Now, the latter's lifetime AFR value comes in at just under twice that of SSDs.

With HDDs failing as they age and slowly adding to their lifetime AFR percentage, Backblaze recorded a slight dip for SSD failures this year, coming in at 0.79 percent over last year's 0.84 percent AFR.

However, it remains to be seen how the faster storage medium fares in the future, especially when it comes to endurance (TBW) and long-term reliability.

As for lifetime figures of data HDDs active until Q2 2021, Backblaze published the following table, alongside the best performing models with the lowest lifetime AFR percentage arranged in decreasing order of drive size/capacity.

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Bawlsdeep

Posts: 141   +153
Seagate is trash, I avoid at all costs. Seen so many defective drives from them (both personally and at work)

The worst drives in my 25+ years on the hardware market; Seagate (all), Maxtor (all) and IBM Deskstar (aka Deathstar). Seagate bought Maxtor...

I have had tons of WD drives, and still have some in my server/NAS, never seen a single drive dying yet. Hell I even have a WD Green running on year 12 for 24/7 operation, zero issues and not a single bad sector or weird noises.

Seagate is often what OEMs choose because they are always the cheapest. They sell tons of drives in bulk for peanuts and warrenty is 2 years tops (for good reason).

I would never store important stuff on a Seagate drive without backup thats for sure.

A friend of mine bought 4x Seagate 4TB for a RAID 10 setup, within 1 year 3 of those drives were dead and replaced... And he replaced a few more within 1 year after that. Terrible quality.

Best HDD brands by far is WD and HGST. Toshiba seems decent too but I don't have experience with them.
 

Bawlsdeep

Posts: 141   +153
Funny, all my WD greens failed fairly quickly.
Why did you buy Green tho? Green is for storage on a PC, not built for 24/7 and NAS/Server operation at all. Mine was never meant for 24/7 but ended up as a Temp/Download drive in my NAS many years ago.

I disabled headparking on my Green, probably the reason why it still runs flawless after 12 years. 3TB model. This is the main reason why WD Green drives die (when used in server/NAS) - high headparking count - but Green line is not made anymore and I have no experience with Blue's.

I mainly use Red's. I have 16 in my server/NAS and none of them failed yet, 8+ years and counting for the first 8 drives, and 5+ years for the remaining 8 drives. Fast and quiet operation. Rock solid and zero smart errors.
 
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Achaios

Posts: 208   +562
Yeah, what the Tyrannosaurus above said.

My WD Blue EZRX 6 TB's in Raid 1 under windows 10 did 6 Load/Unload cycles per 10 mins and and abt 720 per day before I caught wind of the issue and ran WDIDLE to fix them.

They are warrantied up to a max of 300K Load/Unload cycles.

My pattern of usage, I would've hit 263k Load/Unload cycles within a single year if I didn't alter the head parking with WDIDLE.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,800   +2,155
TechSpot Elite
That's pretty damn impressive. Consumer-grade Seagate Hard Drives lasting almost SIX YEARS in a Data Centre? That's constant 24/7 use!

It just goes to show that it really doesn't matter what brand of drive you buy. Since 1988, when I built my first PC, I've had WD, Seagate, Quantum, Kalok, MicropΩlis, Maxtor, Fujitsu, Samsung, Toshiba and Hitachi. The only one that I had that didn't last five years was my Quantum. When I worked at Tiger Direct, we sold Seagate, Samsung, Hitachi and Toshiba drives. None of those brands stood out as having a worse defective return record than any other. I think that Hitachi was "worst" followed by WD, Toshiba, Samsung and Seagate. Keep in mind though, we're talking about a less than 2% difference across all four brands.

Everybody has had a different experience and it makes people swear by one brand or another just like everything else in the world. Some people only use Fram oil filters, others won't touch them and only use Wix, still others only use Purolator or Baldwin. It's all about the luck of the draw and luck is the greatest illusionist in human history. It hides the actual truth of reality from us by only showing each of us a tiny but different slice of reality.

These are all multi-billion dollar corporations who have invested a crap-tonne of money into their manufacturing processes. After all this time, the ones that remain still exist because their products are actually GOOD. If Seagate, Samsung, WD, Toshiba or Hitachi (HGST) were to make bad products, they'd have gone the way of the dodo.

To the best of my knowledge, only two of the drive manufacturers went out of business because their drives were actually bad, those being IBM and Kalok. IBM gave up and sold its DeskStar (read: DeathStar) drive division to Hitachi. Quantum still exists as a company but sold its hard drive division to Maxtor in 2000 because they didn't consider it profitable enough. In turn, Maxtor got bought out by Seagate in 2006 because they had made too many acquisitions that didn't bear fruit and pushed themselves towards bankruptcy. MicropΩlis went under in 1997 because of securities fraud committed by some members of upper management. Kalok was the shortest-lived drive manufacturer who went under in 1994. Even then, I did own a Kalok 20MB MFM drive and it lasted for many years so it's not like even Kalok was totally bad.

To see almost six years of Data Centre operation out of a consumer-grade spinning drive (that wasn't even an expensive model) is just amazing. Even more amazing is the fact that the 6TB versions have been running for even longer and none have failed.

Strap yourselves in because while the advancements in tech over the past 20 years have been nothing short of astonishing, we ain't seen nothin' yet! At the current accelerating pace of technological advancement, we'll be (quite literally) 1,000,000x more advanced in 20 years than we are now:
speed-technological-advancement_20years.jpg

 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 6,537   +4,928
So out of 439 drives on the Q2 2021 report, some of which are over 6-years old, 4.39 drives failed. To me, that is an impressive failure rate and nothing to justify comments like "Seagate is Crap".

I've been using Seagate for a long, long, long, time, and I find their mechanical drives to be very reliable. In fact, I have had other drives fail from other manufacturers - I don't remember the manufacturers because I simply do not buy anything other than Seagate due to experiencing various problems with drives from other manufacturers.

One other reason that I won't touch other manufacturers drives - from my personal experience - is that Seagate is the coolest running of the drives I have had. One drive, from another manufacturer, it was so hot that I could probably have fried eggs on it. :rolleyes:

YMMV, but my experience with Seagate mechanical drives has been outstanding - particularly their video drives.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,537   +4,928
Why did you buy Green tho? Green is for storage on a PC, not built for 24/7 and NAS/Server operation at all. Mine was never meant for 24/7 but ended up as a Temp/Download drive in my NAS many years ago.
<...>
I mainly use Red's. I have 16 in my server/NAS and none of them failed yet, 8+ years and counting for the first 8 drives, and 5+ years for the remaining 8 drives. Fast and quiet operation. Rock solid and zero smart errors.
I always consider the environment and application of the drive before I purchase. IMO, it is a must in order to buy a drive that is the most appropriate for my application.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 883   +1,678
Funny, all my WD greens failed fairly quickly.
Even funnier, at work, I was replacing at a minimum, one Red per month in our NAS devices.

But what made me stop buying was the fact that WD accused me of buying counterfeit drives and refused to RMA some of them.

Provided no proof, neither a spare.

I started buying IronWolfs instead and I still havent had to replace one.
 

Bawlsdeep

Posts: 141   +153
Even funnier, at work, I was replacing at a minimum, one Red per month in our NAS devices.

But what made me stop buying was the fact that WD accused me of buying counterfeit drives and refused to RMA some of them.

Provided no proof, neither a spare.

I started buying IronWolfs instead and I still havent had to replace one.

IronWolfs haha, I replaced at least 50 of those this year. They barely last 6 months on average in a high read/write environment.

Maybe you should look at Backblaze numbers. Seagate tops the failure rates.

Thousands of failed drives. Seagate always tops Backblaze for failed drives. The reason they keep using them, is because they are cheap and they just replace them. They can afford to loose drives.

For a regular consomer tho, loosing drives can be fatal and this is why Seagate is pure garbage. Way too unreliable. They are cheaper for a reason.

A regular consumer that can't afford to loose several drives before volume is gone.

There's a reason why WD stock went up 1500% in the last 5 years.
 
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NeoMorpheus

Posts: 883   +1,678
IronWolfs haha, I replaced at least 50 of those this year. They barely last 6 months on average in a high read/write environment.

Maybe you should look at Backblaze numbers. Seagate tops the failure rates.

Thousands of failed drives. Seagate always tops Backblaze for failed drives. The reason they keep using them, is because they are cheap and they just replace them. They can afford to loose drives.

For a regular consomer tho, loosing drives can be fatal and this is why Seagate is pure garbage. Way too unreliable. They are cheaper for a reason.

A regular consumer that can't afford to loose several drives before volume is gone.

There's a reason why WD stock went up 1500% in the last 5 years.

Perhaps my experience means nothing to you, but it means everything to me.

Meanwhile you believe whatever you want to believe, I have yet to replace one of those IronWolfs.

What I wasnt expecting was a hardcore WD fanboi that somehow ignored the whole post with valid information just to push his favorite corp.
 

Bawlsdeep

Posts: 141   +153
Perhaps my experience means nothing to you, but it means everything to me.

Meanwhile you believe whatever you want to believe, I have yet to replace one of those IronWolfs.

What I wasnt expecting was a hardcore WD fanboi that somehow ignored the whole post with valid information just to push his favorite corp.

Fanboy? Simply look at Backblaze failure rates as I said. Seagate tops it. Thousands of failed drives.

Nuff said. I could not care less about what other people use, not my data.
 
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NeoMorpheus

Posts: 883   +1,678
Fanboy? Simply look at Backblaze failure rates as I said. Seagate tops it. Thousands of failed drives.

Nuff said. I could not care less about what other people use, not my data.
Yeah, I read it and I added my experience.

But lets review:

Seagate's 4TB HDD led the pack with 91 units out of a total of 439 failing drives.

One particular model, I have seen that happen before.

Interestingly, the company's 6TB HDD was among the three HDD models that recorded zero failures in Backblaze's Q2 2021 reliability report.

Matches my current experience.
 

Bawlsdeep

Posts: 141   +153
Yeah, it's a real solid move by them. The thing is, all that we've learnt from it is that older drives fail more than newer drives.

You don't need a degree from Waterloo to figure that out! :laughing:
We also learned that Seagate generally lasts way less than Hitachi, WD and HGST tho. Tons of Seagate drives does not even last one year.

However, what Backblaze does, does not really reflect what home users does. Backblaze has tons of read/write all day every day. Very few consumers runs their drives this hard.

Always fun to see tho.

I usually buy enterprise drives for heavy read/write scenarios. Not consumer drives.
 

HardReset

Posts: 1,264   +926
Fanboy? Simply look at Backblaze failure rates as I said. Seagate tops it. Thousands of failed drives.

Nuff said. I could not care less about what other people use, not my data.
Making any kind of conclusions from Backblaze data is invalid. Drives have:

- Different usage before Backblaze got them, some new, some used
- Different usage scenarios on Backblaze (read/write loads, idle times etc)
- Different condition on Backblaze (temperature, that is very important)

Therefore it's' impossible to make any valid conclusions from Backblaze statistics.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,800   +2,155
TechSpot Elite
Perfect wisdom condensed into four letters.
Fanboy? Simply look at Backblaze failure rates as I said. Seagate tops it. Thousands of failed drives.
Yeah, Seagate tops the list alright. The funny thing is that someone with at least ½ a brain would also notice that they're the only ones that have been in operation for anywhere NEAR as long as they have. Are you seriously trying to compare drives with 20 months of operation to drives with 68.3 months of operation? I see Toshiba there too with that level of up time and there's a 1% failure rate. Meanwhile, the failure rate of the "trash" Seagate drives is 0.4% and the 6TB "trash" Seagate drives (with the most hours of operation of all) have a failure rate of ZERO.

By your "logic", if a 20 year-old Toyota kicks the bucket before a 5 year-old Chevrolet, that's proof that Toyota is trash, eh? Give us a break. It's quite clear by your reactions that your "opinion" is based more on emotion than logic because the very numbers released completely defy your assertions.

People who say things like "Seagate is trash" are one of three things:

1) They could be clueless but want to sound cool and knowledgeable so they call something "trash" or "crap" or they believed the word of someone else who is clueless and is trying to hide it. Of course, the problem is that a statement like that only betrays their lack of knowledge (or lack of ability to analyse numbers) to people who are actually competent in that area.
2) That they're so arrogant that they think nobody else could possibly have had a different or better experience with a product than they did, thinking that their hilariously small slice of ownership is an exact representation of the entire industry. Then they argue with people whose experience with that brand may have been 100% different from theirs, as if the experiences of others aren't as valid as their own.
3) They have a vested interest in one of the brands doing better than the others and attack the main rival with a pantload of FUD but are careful to only attack the main rival (or even praise smaller competitors that aren't a threat) so people don't suspect anything.

Your original post has some properties from all three examples. So, assuming that you're not a blend of all of them, which of these three is you?
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,800   +2,155
TechSpot Elite
Making any kind of conclusions from Backblaze data is invalid. Drives have:

- Different usage before Backblaze got them, some new, some used
- Different usage scenarios on Backblaze (read/write loads, idle times etc)
- Different condition on Backblaze (temperature, that is very important)

Therefore it's' impossible to make any valid conclusions from Backblaze statistics.
+1 to you!
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,948   +2,253
TechSpot Elite
Seagate always tops Backblaze for failed drives. The reason they keep using them, is because they are cheap and they just replace them. They can afford to loose drives.

Yup, my backup system is pretty much a match of theirs. Buy whatever's cheapest, replace if one dies: usually an external in a case, shuck it, RAID0 it, clone from one of the others. I keep 3 copies of my data in cheap cases (one in an external dual drive dock nowadays). Lemme see what I have:

4x 5TB Seagates (primary, on 24/7)
2x 10TB WDs (backup 1)
2x 8TB Seagates (backup 2, don't backup a small amt of least useful data to make it fit)

I'll get rid of the 5TB setup and replace with 2x~12TB when one of the drives dies. All Seagates are 4-6 years old, the WDs are about 1.5 years. I think one of the original 5TB Seagates died after about a year and I replaced it with a new one.

IIRC, in the bad old Seagate days I had a bunch of the 1.5TB AS Seagate drives which had an awful failure rate for Backblaze and I had 3 of 8 fail. Not all at the same time and once again, I just bought replacements, popped them in the case and cloned over. It would probably not be a good idea to use all the same make of drive in order to avoid manufacturing defects in a particular run.
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,272   +3,491
Hmmm... I totally think we should take a few people's personal experiences over a company that takes hundreds and runs them for months solely to publish reports on their reliability...

Yep, Seagate must be crap despite their failure rate being pretty awesome...

Well, here's my personal experience... I have 6 Seagate Iron Wolf 16TB running in my NAS and none have failed... have some WD drives (6, 8 and 12TB) and they haven't failed either.

NAS has been running 24/7 for over 18 months now - and the WD drives running virtually 24/7 as well for 7 years...

Guess what conclusions I can draw? NONE!!!
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,724   +4,258
When I built my first RAID array, I used HGST laptop drives, based on backblaze at the time saying HGST has the lowest failure rate across the board. It was a 4x2.5 to 1x5.25 RAID box.

three of the 4 failed within 6 months, two of the three replacements failed 4 months later. The WD blacks I replaced them with worked perfectly fine.

OTOH, the seagate ironwolf drives in my NAS have been working perfectly fine since I built it. Many terrabytes written with 0 issues.

The only thing that could be drawn is that seagate's drives start to spike in failure cases after 5 years. Whether that is better then WD or toshiba is impossible to determine because backblaze's drives are not as old. and still 98.9% of the seagate drives still worked fine.