Who makes the most reliable hard drives
A few months ago we asked and answered one of computing oldest questions: How long do hard drives actually last? That story missed one vital piece of information, though who makes the most reliable hard drives? Well, we can now answer that question too.
Just like last time, this information comes from Backblaze, an all you can eat online backup company. Backblaze currently has around 28,000 hard drives powered up and constantly spinning, storing a total of around 80,000 terabytes (80 petabytes) of user data. As you can imagine, it is very much in Backblaze interests to ensure that it buys reliable hard drives. Every time a drive fails, it takes considerable time and effort to pull the drive, slot in a new one, and rebuild the RAID array.
Which hard drive manufacturer is the most reliable?Backblaze breaks down its data in two ways by manufacturer, and by specific drive. The data is fairly complex, but we try to break it down into morsels of easy to digest, actionable information. (Read: How a hard drive works.)
As of the end of December 2013, Backblaze had 12,765 Seagate drives, 12,956 Hitachi drives, and 2,838 Western Digital drives. These drives are not all the same age some are almost four years old, while many were installed in the past year. The odd numbers are because Backblaze basically buys whatever drive offers the most competitive dollar per gigabyte ratio, with reliability being a secondary factor. For most of the last four years, Seagate and Hitachi have offered the best price per gig, with Western Digital Red drives only now becoming a viable option for Backblaze.
Hard drive annual failure rate, broken down by maker (Hitachi, Seagate, Western Digital) and size
As you can see from the graph above, Hitachi drives are by far the most reliable. Even tho ferragamo ugh most of Backblaze Hitachi drives are now older than two years, they only have an annual failure rate of around 1%.
Western Digital is slightly worse, but still impressive: After three years of operation, 94.8% of Western Digital drives are still running. Backblaze lists the annual failure rate of the WD drives at around 3% (I don think the nu ferragamo mbers quite add up, but I could be wrong).
Seagate drives are not very reliable at all. As you can see in the second graph below, Seagate drives are fine for the first year, but failures quickly start building up after 18 months. By the end of the third year, just 73.5% of Backblaze Seagate drives are still running. This equates to an annual failure rate of 8 9%.
Hard drive failure rate, plotted by month
In Backblaze words: the price were right, we would be buying nothing but Hitachi drives. They have beenrock solid, and have had a remarkably low failure rate. single hard drive is the most reliable? (And which is the least?)In general, then, if you want a reliable hard drive you should go for a Hitachi or Western Digital. If you looking for a specific drive modelthat has ferragamo good longevity, the numbers break down interestingly.
The two best drives, with 0.9% annual failure rate over more than two years, are the Hitachi GST Deskstar 5K3000, and Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000.
As far as poor reliability goes, Seagate has some nasty offenders. T ferragamo he 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 (an old drive now) has a very high chance of failing after three or four years. Even the newer 3TB Seagate Barracuda has a pretty high failure rate, at 9.8% per year.
Backblaze also notes that some drives (the Western Digital Green 3TB and Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB) start producing errors as soon as they slotted into a storage pod. They think this is due to the large amounts of vibration caused by thousands of other hard drives. (They also think that their aggressive spin down setting, which is ostensibly to save power, causes a lot of wear to the drive.)
Hit up Backblaze website for a full list of hard drives and their statistics.
Samsung and ToshibaUnfortunately, Backblaze doesn have a statistically significant number of Samsung or Toshiba drives installed. Even so, because Samsung hard drive division was acquired by Seagate in 2011, it hard to say if an older, pre acquisition Samsung drive would be more or less reliable than a post acquisition drive. Toshiba/Fujitsu still have a reasonable wedge (10%) of the market share pie, but unfortunately we have to wait for another study to see how they compare to Seagate, Western Digital, and Hitachi.
On the topic of acquisitions, you may also remember that Western Digital acquired Hitachi GST almost two years ago. If we compare Hitachi drives from before and after the acquisition, the annual failure rate seems to stay the same (around 1%). It would seem that Western Digital and Hitachi have the reliable hard drive business sewn up and this is before we had a chance to see what WD/HGST helium filled hard drive can do!
Tagged InGood info. I wish more companies would share this kind of info. Large companies often buy hardware by the thousands, which provides much better statistics than an internet poster saying his two hard drives died in the first month.
Seagate obviously needs to improve their quality. Hopefully bad numbers like this will force them to improve their products. I always bought drives for the best $/GB, but now I will specifically exclude Seagate. I look forward to seeing a new chart in a few years with better numbers. I give Seagate another try then.
I meant exactly what i said based on experience. Ive personally owned18 20 of them, mostly the Spinpoint F1 1TB HD103UJ drives, all have been ran 5+ years before being decommissioned and given away to family and friends or sold on ebay, a friend of mine has 8 in a server still and going on 7 years. They played very well in RAID arrays unlike many other drives in the 2006 2007 era. I also ran a computer shop and we had 16 rental machines with Samsung drives, and sold a few dozen in custom built boxes and I have yet to see a single problem or error, let alone a failure. Ive only seen, touched, or used about 75 of them all said in done between everything, but still, they did well for me in the 160GB to 1TB range.
Indeed. I had awful results from so called Barebones/OEM drives from all retailers, which is why I only buy retail kits now, though they are not necessarily easy to find or the best price. But who cares about ten bucks more when your client loses all of their data six months after you install one of these and it goes tits up? I think amazon, newegg and the rest just dump these things in big bins on the pick lines like they were pieces of firewood, and if a picker accidentally drops one on the floor every once in a while, oh well.
I too am very shocked. I gone away from IBMHitachi back in the day because they all failed. I had a WD 2 Gig drive that lasted like 15+ years and may still be running somewhere donated original Gateway to Salvation Army. I been strictly a Seagate Hard Drive owner though and I can almost agree they fail regularly and usually right after warranty or close to end of warranty. I may have to change my PC building ways and go back to Western Digital or even Hitachi. What a few years and an acquisition makes IBM to Hitachi. Talk about a complete 180
The numbers mirror my experience with all the desktops and servers I had ever put together. I only tried Seagate drives maybe three times and after 9 months the PC crapped out. After that I always ONLY ordered Western Digital. And once the thing has been installed, I don have to worry about it for about 7 years.
And every once in a while, if I made a large order from Newegg, I get a FREE Seagate harddrive out of nowhere. I threw that thing out still wrapped in its antistatic bag. If it came for free, it was garanteed to be filled with gremlin eggs.
Hitachi were always generally beyond my budget limits.
I used to have a dell computer with a 3 year warranty. (6 7+ years ago)
A failure of the mobo but esp. the hdd were very common occurences maybe like every 6 8 months.
Needless to say, dell provided seagate drives. However, I think it was that system because I pulled a drive (WD Blue) that was in that system and it been running for 5 years now, in RAID 0 no less (in a Silverstone Raven 3)