Tuesday, April 30th 2019

Backblaze Releases Hard Drive Stats for Q1 2019

As of March 31, 2019, Backblaze had 106,238 spinning hard drives in our cloud storage ecosystem spread across three data centers. Of that number, there were 1,913 boot drives and 104,325 data drives. This review looks at the Q1 2019 and lifetime hard drive failure rates of the data drive models currently in operation in our data centers and provides a handful of insights and observations along the way.

Hard Drive Failure Stats for Q1 2019
At the end of Q1 2019, Backblaze was using 104,325 hard drives 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 104,130 hard drives. The table below covers what happened in Q1 2019.
Notes and Observations
If a drive model has a failure rate of 0%, it means there were no drive failures of that model during Q1 2019. The two drives listed with zero failures in Q1 were the 4 TB and 5 TB Toshiba models. Neither has a large enough number of drive days to be statistically significant, but in the case of the 5 TB model, you have to go back to Q2 2016 to find the last drive failure we had of that model.

There were 195 drives (104,325 minus 104,130) that were not included in the list above because they were used as testing drives or 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. The use of 45 drives is historical in nature as that was the number of drives in our original Storage Pods. Beginning next quarter that threshold will change; we'll get to that shortly.

The Annualized Failure Rate (AFR) for Q1 is 1.56%. That's as high as the quarterly rate has been since Q4 2017 and its part of an overall upward trend we've seen in the quarterly failure rates over the last few quarters. Let's take a closer look.
Quarterly Trends

We noted in previous reports that using the quarterly reports is useful in spotting trends about a particular drive or even a manufacturer. Still, you need to have enough data (drive count and drive days) in each observed period (quarter) to make any analysis valid. To that end the chart below uses quarterly data from Seagate and HGST drives while leaving out Toshiba and WDC drives as we don't have enough drives from those manufacturers over the course of the last three years.
Over the last three years, the trend for both Seagate and HGST annualized failure rates had improved, i.e. gone down. While Seagate has reduced their failure rate over 50% during that time, the upward trend over the last three quarters requires some consideration. We'll take a look at this and let you know if we find anything interesting in a future post.
Changing the Qualification Threshold

As reported over the last several quarters, we've been migrating from lower density drives, 2, 3, and 4 TB drives, to larger 10, 12, and 14 TB hard drives. At the same time, we have been replacing our stand-alone 45-drive Storage Pods with 60-drive Storage Pods arranged into the Backblaze Vault configuration of 20 Storage Pods per vault. In Q1, the last stand-alone 45-drive Storage Pod was retired. Therefore, using 45 drives as the threshold for qualification to our quarterly report seems antiquated. This is a good time to switch to using Drive Days as the qualification criteria. In reviewing our data, we have decided to use 5,000 Drive Days as the threshold going forward. The exception, any current drives we are reporting, such as the Toshiba 5 TB model with about 4,000 hours each quarter, will continue to be included in our Hard Drive Stats reports.
Fewer Drives = More Data

Those of you who follow our quarterly reports might have observed that the total number of hard drives in service decreased in Q1 by 648 drives compared to Q4 2018, yet we added nearly 60 petabytes of storage. You can see what changed in the chart below.
Lifetime Hard Drive Stats
The table below shows the lifetime failure rates for the hard drive models we had in service as of March 31, 2019. This is over the period beginning in April 2013 and ending March 31, 2019.
Source: Backblaze
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30 Comments on Backblaze Releases Hard Drive Stats for Q1 2019

What does that even mean?
What he means is that Backblaze's stats are useless because nobody except Backblaze uses (or should I say mis-uses) consumer grade HDDs in that way, yet every time they release their useless stats there are always big arguments over body the validity of them and what drives are best.
Posted on Reply
Lets make garage quality servers throw desktop drives in them.

Write a report and claim we are experts.
Posted on Reply
Write a report and claim we are experts.
Please show me where they claimed this?
Posted on Reply
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Chloe Price
Heey hold on a minute, I have a Seagate drive on my PS2 and it works..

These stats just mean that I wouldn'd be buying these or recommending to my friends.
I have two WD drives in my computer, both are fine, which means that 100% of WD drives are fine. Zero percent failure rate for at least five years. So i recommend they buy WD.

Posted on Reply
John Naylor
Title of backblaze report should be ... pick one

"Here is a bunch of reliability information based upon user installing HDs in direct conflict with manufacturer's recommendations"

"Reliability information as to what happens if you are dumb enough install consumer HDs in a Sever environment"

"Server farm installs consumer drives whereby the very features that protect consumer drives cause premature failure in server environment"

Latest real data (August 2017) available from be hardware:

HDs (See note a) below)
HGST 0,82%
Seagate 0,93%
Toshiba 1,06%
Western 1,26%

Samsung 0,17%
Intel 0,19%
Crucial 0,31%
Sandisk 0,31%
Corsair 0,36% (contre 1,67%)
Kingston 0,44%

GFX Cards
Zotac 1,13%
EVGA 1,19%
Gigabyte 1,19%
MSI 1,29%
ASUS 1,30%
Palit/Gainward 1,49%
Inno3D 1,56%
Sapphire 2,90%

Kingston 0,30%
Crucial 0,35%
G.Skill 0,63%
Corsair 0,77%

MoBos (See note b) below)
Gigabyte 1,48%
ASRock 1,55%
ASUS 1,59%
MSI 1,63%

There are several things to keep in mind here .... and while I used two specific examples with HDs and MoBos, it pretty much applies across the board.

a) These represent snapshot in time over 6 months. So for example where HGST finished 1st for the respective 6 month period, For the previous 6 month reporting period,

HGST was 1,13% for a combined 0.975%
Seagate was 0,72% for a combined 0.825%

For SSDs ... Corsair did great for the current period in SSD with 0,36%but last period wa 1,67%

b) I generally don't look at the brand data cause most of the time, it's statistically insignificant. Look for the specific models ... If I see more than 2% say on MoBos, i will avoid those

5,71% ASUS Z170I-PRO Gaming
5,59% ASUS X99 Strix Gaming
4,70% MSI B150M PRO-VDH D3
3,81% ASRock FM2A58M-VG3+
3,45% MSI X99A Gaming 7
3,17% ASUS X99-A II
2,23% MSI Z170A Gaming M3
2,19% ASUS Z170-A

Unfortunately it's a French site and they stopped publishing the data ... I don't speak enough french to do on and ask why :)
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