Smaller capacity hard drives are more susceptible to failure as they age, study finds

Briefly: A analysis report on exhausting drive failure charges for 2022 confirms the age of a drive is a key indicator for foretelling attainable failure. The report examined 230,921 HDDs, and solely an 8TB Seagate (mannequin: ST8000NM000A) had zero failures.

A fast peek at the newest report from cloud storage supplier Backblaze concludes that bigger drives—12TB, 14TB, and 16TB—fail much less regularly than smaller capability variations. In the course of the previous yr, the annualized failure fee (AFR) for HDDs elevated considerably from 1.01 p.c in 2021 to 1.37 p.c in 2022, based on Andy Klein, chief cloud storage evangelist for Backblaze.

The cloud backup agency had 236,608 HDDs in use on the finish of 2022, together with 4,299 boot drives and 235,608 information drives. Backclaze excluded the boot items and 388 of the information HDDs from the evaluation as a result of they’d both been used for testing or had a fleet measurement of fewer than 60 items. That left a complete of 230,921 HDDs studied.

“In our Q2 2022 and Q3 2022 quarterly Drive Stats studies, we famous a rise within the general AFR from the earlier quarter and attributed it to the growing older fleet of drives, however is that the case?” Klien requested.

It seems the reply is sure.

Klein noticed that each measurement (aside from 16TB drives) confirmed a rise in AFR between 2021 and 2022 when greater capability HDDs—12TB, 14TB, and 16TB—had been in contrast towards smaller ones—4TB, 6TB, 8TB, and 10TB. The AFR for small drives stood at 2.12%, considerably greater than the 1.37% improve for all HDDs in 2022. Moreover, although smaller items solely made up 28.7% of drive days in 2022, they had been answerable for 44.5% of drive failures.

Nevertheless, Klein notes that though smaller drives failed extra regularly final yr, they’re additionally older. The oldest exhausting disc examined, a 6TB Seagate (ST6000DX000), had a median age of 92.5 months. Its AFR in 2021 was 0.11 p.c, whereas in 2022, it was 0.68 p.c.

Backblaze’s desk grouping AFRs by vendor confirmed Seagate and Toshiba as the 2 with the best failure fee. Nevertheless, a lot of the Seagate items had been considerably older than the opposite HDDs examined. The agency expects to interchange the older drives with 16TB and bigger exhausting drives in 2023, which signifies that its 4TB drives and the 6TB Seagate drives are most likely on their manner out.


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