Wednesday, October 17th 2018

Backblaze Releases Hard Drive Stats for Q3 2018: Less is More

As of September 30, 2018 Backblaze had 99,636 spinning hard drives. Of that number, there were 1,866 boot drives and 97,770 data drives. This review looks at the quarterly and lifetime statistics for the data drive models in operation in our data centers. In addition, we'll say goodbye to the last of our 3TB drives, hello to our new 12TB HGST drives, and we'll explain how we have 584 fewer drives than last quarter, but have added over 40 petabytes of storage.

Hard Drive Reliability Statistics for Q3 2018
At the end of Q3 2018, Backblaze was monitoring 97,770 hard drives used to store data. For our evaluation, we remove from consideration those drives that were used for testing purposes and those drive models for which we did not have at least 45 drives (see why below). This leaves us with 97,600 hard drives. The table below covers what happened in Q3 2018.
Notes and Observations
  • If a drive model has a failure rate of 0%, it only means there were no drive failures of that model during Q3 2018.
  • Quarterly failure rates can be volatile, especially for models that have a small number of drives and/or a small number of Drive Days.
  • There were 170 drives (97,770 minus 97,600) that were not included in the list above because we did not have at least 45 of a given drive model. We use 45 drives of the same model as the minimum number when we report quarterly, yearly, and lifetime drive statistics.
When to Replace a Hard Drive
As noted, at the end of Q3 that we had 584 fewer drives, but over 40 petabytes more storage space. We replaced 3TB, 4TB, and even a handful of 6TB drives with 3,600 new 12TB drives using the very same data center infrastructure, i.e. racks of Storage Pods. The drives we are replacing are about 4 years old. That's plus or minus a few months depending on how much we paid for the drive and a number of other factors. Keeping lower density drives in service when higher density drives are both available and efficiently priced does not make economic sense.
Why Drive Migration Will Continue

Over the next several years, data growth is expected to explode. Hard drives are still expected to store the bulk of that data, meaning cloud storage companies like Backblaze will have to increase capacity by either increasing existing storage density and/or building, or building out, more data centers. Drive manufacturers, like Seagate and Western Digital, are looking at HDD storage densities of 40TB as early as 2023, just 5 years away. It is significantly less expensive to replace lower density operational drives in a data center versus building a new facility or even building out an existing facility to house the higher density drives.

Goodbye 3TB WD Drives
For the last couple of quarters, we had 180 Western Digital 3TB drives (model: WD30EFRX) remaining - the last of our 3TB drives. In early Q3, they were removed and replaced with 12TB drives. These 3TB drives were purchased in the aftermath of the Thailand drive crisis and installed in mid-2014 and were still hard at work when we replaced them. Sometime over the next couple of years we expect to say goodbye to all of our 4TB drives and upgrade them to 14, 16, or even 20TB drives. After that it will be time to "up-density" our 6TB systems, then our 8TB systems, and so on.
Hello 12TB HGST Drives

In Q3 we added 79 HGST 12TB drives (model: HUH721212ALN604) to the farm. While 79 may seem like an unusual number of drives to add, it represents "stage 2" of our drive testing process. Stage 1 uses 20 drives, the number of hard drives in one Backblaze Vault tome. That is, there are are 20 Storage Pods in a Backblaze Vault, and there is one "test" drive in each Storage Pod. This allows us to compare the performance, etc., of the test tome to the remaining 59 production tomes (which are running already-qualified drives). There are 60 tomes in each Backblaze Vault. In stage 2, we fill an entire Storage Pod with the test drives, adding 59 test drives to the one currently being tested in one of the 20 Storage Pods in a Backblaze Vault.

To date, none of the 79 HGST drives have failed, but as of September 30th, they were installed only 9 days. Let's see how they perform over the next few months.

A New Drive Count Leader
For the last 4 years, the drive model we've deployed the most has been the 4TB Seagate drive, model ST4000DM000. In Q3 we had 24,208 of this drive model, which is now only good enough for second place. The 12TB Seagate drive, model ST12000NM0007, became our new drive count leader with 25,101 drives in Q3.

Lifetime Hard Drive Reliability Statistics
While the quarterly chart presented earlier gets a lot of interest, the real test of any drive model is over time. Below is the lifetime failure rate chart for all the hard drive models in operation as of September 30th, 2018. For each model, we compute their reliability starting from when they were first installed.
Notes and Observations
  • The failure rates of all of the larger drives (8, 10, and 12 TB) are very good: 1.21% AFR (Annualized Failure Rate) or less. In particular, the Seagate 10TB drives, which have been in operation for over 1 year now, are performing very nicely with a failure rate of 0.48%.
  • The overall failure rate of 1.71% is the lowest we have ever achieved, besting the previous low of 1.82% from Q2 of 2018.
Source: Backblaze
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17 Comments on Backblaze Releases Hard Drive Stats for Q3 2018: Less is More

#1
Axaion
I really wish they added noise on those lists

While, yes, its nice to have a reliable drive, its also nice for it to not sound like a jet engine
Posted on Reply
#2
Vayra86
And once again a Seagate 4TB leading the pack with almost double the average failrate.

Axaion, post: 3925042, member: 74362"
I really wish they added noise on those lists

While, yes, its nice to have a reliable drive, its also nice for it to not sound like a jet engine
I wouldn't base a purchase off these stats entirely anyway. Its tested in an unconventional environment and usage pattern for most of them.
Posted on Reply
#3
Xx Tek Tip xX
Toshiba kicked ass here, Glad I went with my x300 6tb - flawless and a TANK of read/write speeds for a hard drive, 0 problems with it since purchase.
Posted on Reply
#4
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Yay, more useless information!
Posted on Reply
#5
shilka
newtekie1, post: 3925102, member: 20670"
Yay, more useless information!
Not even going to waste a single second looking at their so called data its useless misleading and a complete waste of time
Posted on Reply
#6
AnarchoPrimitiv
I've got a dozen 12TB HGST drives spinning in my NAS right now and have never had a problem...I've only bought HGST drives for years
Posted on Reply
#7
Static~Charge
Axaion, post: 3925042, member: 74362"
I really wish they added noise on those lists

While, yes, its nice to have a reliable drive, its also nice for it to not sound like a jet engine
A Backblaze Storage Pod holds 60 drives:



Unless a drive actually does sound like a jet engine, noise is not a trackable item for this company.
Posted on Reply
#8
Axaion
Static~Charge, post: 3925184, member: 61342"
A Backblaze Storage Pod holds 60 drives:



Unless a drive actually does sound like a jet engine, noise is not a trackable item for this company.
No, it aint, but it is for a lot of consumers.

Im not saying it aint nice to have reliability, silence is also nice when in a personal pc, or a NAS close by
Posted on Reply
#9
koaschten
Axaion, post: 3927294, member: 74362"
No, it aint, but it is for a lot of consumers.

Im not saying it aint nice to have reliability, silence is also nice when in a personal pc, or a NAS close by
These statistics are not aimed at consumers... they are PR, they are in the mass storage business... the more awesome news you make, the more customers you get.
Posted on Reply
#10
Static~Charge
Axaion, post: 3927294, member: 74362"
No, it aint, but it is for a lot of consumers.

Im not saying it aint nice to have reliability, silence is also nice when in a personal pc, or a NAS close by
Like I said: Backblaze is a company - drive noise doesn't matter to them, so they don't report it.
Posted on Reply
#11
Axaion
koaschten, post: 3928210, member: 102897"
These statistics are not aimed at consumers... they are PR, they are in the mass storage business... the more awesome news you make, the more customers you get.
That does not change the fact that it would be nice, a lot of consumers use base their information on these reports to buy new hdds for personal use

Static~Charge, post: 3928974, member: 61342"
Like I said: Backblaze is a company - drive noise doesn't matter to them, so they don't report it.
Like i said, its nice. - but it would be even nicer if they -did- have noise in the reports.
Posted on Reply
#12
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
I like that the ridiculously high density drives (10+ TB) have consistently had lower failure rates than the 1-4 TB drives. Even when <1 TB drives were common, there was marked trend of the 1-4 TB drives failing more than they should.

10 TB IronWolf is going for $300
12 TB IronWolf is going for $400

My 6 TB is getting full...
Posted on Reply
#13
Xx Tek Tip xX
FordGT90Concept, post: 3930645, member: 60463"
My 6 TB is getting full...
Same, I'm personally looking into another toshiba x300 6tb - best price-performance and it's an amazing drive.
Posted on Reply
#14
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
FordGT90Concept, post: 3930645, member: 60463"
My 6 TB is getting full...
I know the pain. My 12-Bay full of 3TB drives is nearly full, so I just bought another and plan to load it full of probably 8TB drives. I hope that holds me over for many more years...
Posted on Reply
#15
Solaris17
Dainty Moderator
Axaion, post: 3925042, member: 74362"
I really wish they added noise on those lists

While, yes, its nice to have a reliable drive, its also nice for it to not sound like a jet engine
It wouldnt matter. Nothing in the enterprise industry is made with consumers in mind so why would they?

There are two things I bring with me on trips to my DC

A jacket

Earplugs
Posted on Reply
#16
Axaion
Solaris17, post: 3930661, member: 14803"
It wouldnt matter. Nothing in the enterprise industry is made with consumers in mind so why would they?

There are two things I bring with me on trips to my DC

A jacket

Earplugs
theyre using a lot of consumer drives though :)

you dont bring pants.. ?
Posted on Reply
#17
John Naylor
Xx Tek Tip xX, post: 3925092, member: 178884"
Toshiba kicked ass here, Glad I went with my x300 6tb - flawless and a TANK of read/write speeds for a hard drive, 0 problems with it since purchase.
Unless you're running a server against all recommended operating standards, BB data has no value. The very features that make a consumer drive a good consumer drive lead to premature failure of that drive in a server environment. Let's look at some real data using consumer drives in a consumer environment ...

Overall by brand... brand data presents failure rate for two 6 consecutive month periods
  • Seagate 0,72% (contre 0,69%)
  • Toshiba 0,80% (contre 1,15%)
  • Western 1,04% (contre 1,03%)
  • HGST 1,13% (contre 0,60%)
2 TB by model (really should leave off or models w/ 0 failures due to likelihood of poor sampling size)
  • 2,39% Toshiba DT01ACA200
  • 1,25% WD Red Pro WD2001FFSX
  • 1,10% WD Blue WD20EZRZ
  • 0,82% Seagate Barracuda 7200.14
  • 0,81% WD Red WD20EFRX
  • 0,77% Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD ST2000VN0001
  • 0,74% WD Purple WD20PURX
  • 0,72% WD Green WD20EZRX
  • 0,56% Seagate NAS HDD ST2000VN000
  • 0,45% WD Black WD2003FZEX
  • 0,43% Seagate Desktop SSHD ST2000DX001
  • 0,41% Seagate SpinPoint M9T ST2000LM003
  • 0,36% WD Re WD2000FYYZ
  • 0,00% Seagate Surveillance HDD ST2000VX000
  • 0,00% WD SE WD2000F9YZ
  • 0,00% Seagate Enterprise Capacity ST2000NM0033
  • 0,00% Toshiba E300
  • 0,00% Toshiba P300
3 TB by model
  • 3,04% WD Black WD3003FZEX
  • 2,89% Toshiba DT01ACA300
  • 2,29% Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD ST3000VN0001
  • 2,23% WD Red Pro WD3001FFSX
  • 2,18% WD Green WD30EZRX
  • 1,52% Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 ST3000DM001
  • 1,41% Seagate NAS HDD ST3000VN000
  • 0,96% Western Red WD30EFRX
  • 0,75% Seagate Surveillance HDD ST3000VX00
4 TB by model
  • 2,37% WD Purple WD40PURX
  • 2,02% WD Red WD40EFRX
  • 1,89% Seagate Desktop SSHD ST4000DX001
  • 1,53% Seagate Desktop HDD.15 ST4000DM000
  • 1,04% Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000
  • 1,02% WD Blue WD40EZRZ
  • 0,95% WD Green WD40EZRX
  • 0,90% WD RE WD4000FYYZ
  • 0,56% Toshiba MD04ACA40
  • 0,40% Seagate Constellation ES ST4000NM0033
  • 0,39% Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000
  • 0,37% Toshiba X300
  • 0,21% Hitachi Deskstar NAS
  • 0,00% WD Black WD4003FZEX
5 / 6 TB by model
  • 3,42% Toshiba Toshiba X300 5 To
  • 3,37% WD Red WD60EFRX
  • 2,67% WD Green WD60EZRX
  • 1,43% WD Red WD50EFRX
  • 0,87% Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD ST6000VN0001
  • 0,74% Seagate Desktop HDD ST6000DM001
  • [I]0,00% Seagate NAS HDD ST6000VN0021 [/I]
Posted on Reply
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