Hard Drive Reliability Update Q1 2016: Seagate Makes a Comeback
Just one operational quarter can make a huge difference in hard disk drive reliability rates. According to a study performed by the Cloud Storage experts at BackBlaze, all four major hard drive manufacturers are making more reliable devices, with Seagate seeing incredible improvements. Seagate’s previously reported reliability woes appear to have stemmed from a faulty generation of HDD models, for which the company faces a class action lawsuit. The substantial results over last year’s widely cited reliability report could easily change your IT department’s purchasing decisions. This data is applicable to data centers that are using consumer HDDs, local servers using consumer HDDs, and workstation replacement HDDs.
- HGST: HGST, or Hitachi, leads the pack with an annual failure rate of just 1.03%. This supremely low failure rate makes HGST drives the best option for data centers that need to avoid HDD crashes at all costs. While it is still necessary to have data redundancy with any failure rate, the unlikelihood of a HGST drive failing means service interruptions will be less frequent and hardware replacement costs won’t be as substantial.
- Toshiba: Toshiba comes in second place with an improved failure rate that dropped from 4.23 percent to 3.06 percent annually. Depending on upfront and anticipated replacement cost estimates, Toshiba drives may be a more economical option for your data center.
- Seagate: Seagate had an abysmal 2015 with failure rates topping out at 10.68 percent. According to BackBlaze’s new data, Seagates new devices are posting much more reliable results, with failure rates plummeting to a much more reasonable 3.48%.
- Western Digital: WD also owns HGST and is probably feeling pretty good about its acquisition right about now. The brand’s failure rates improved from 7.75% to 6.55%, but are the worst of the four.
Removal of the Lawsuit Drives and Methodology Conflicts
The BackBlaze study no longer features data from the Seagate HDD models in question from the class action lawsuit, which makes the data more representative of the devices consumers and businesses are likely to purchase. According to PC World, BackBlaze’s data isn’t perfect: the company’s changing storage pod designs creates variables when comparing reliability data between setups. Additionally, BackBlaze is using a much larger data sample for Seagate and HGST devices versus Toshiba and Western Digital counterparts, coming in at 22,731, 36,863, 238 and 1,691 devices respectively. On top of that, the study features consumer drives being used under data center conditions, which could affect the lifespan differently when compared to personal computer use loads.
The take away from the study is that the Seagate HDDs currently on store shelves are back within the industry’s expected reliability rates. HDD reliability rates are better than ever and continued high-reliability scores can only help mend damaged reputations.
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