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Hard Drive Reliability Study Flawed?

samzenpus posted 1 year,1 day | from the on-the-other-hand dept.

Data Storage 237

storagedude writes "A recent study of hard drive reliability by Backblaze was deeply flawed, according to Henry Newman, a longtime HPC storage consultant. Writing in Enterprise Storage Forum, Newman notes that the tested Seagate drives that had a high failure rate were either very old or had known issues. The study also failed to address manufacturer's specifications, drive burn-in and data reliability, among other issues. 'The oldest drive in the list is the Seagate Barracuda 1.5 TB drive from 2006. A drive that is almost 8 years old! Since it is well known in study after study that disk drives last about 5 years and no other drive is that old, I find it pretty disingenuous to leave out that information. Add to this that the Seagate 1.5 TB has a well-known problem that Seagate publicly admitted to, it is no surprise that these old drives are failing.'"

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In all fairness (1, Offtopic)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106033)

Thank you for posting this. I've always used Seagate which have had a high success rate in terms of reliability and quietness (unlike some other makers that I won't mention).

Re:In all fairness (3, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106109)

Back in '99 we used to get factory sealed boxes of Seagate drives DOA, or already having cluster collapse. There's nothing quite like 250-500+ brand new units which are all dead or dying, and then shipping them back. I've only started using Seagate again in the last few years.

Re:In all fairness (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106191)

"Back in '99 we used to get factory sealed boxes of Seagate drives DOA, or already having cluster collapse."

If the entire box is dead, wouldn't that imply mishandling during shipping?

Re:In all fairness (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106243)

Or a bad batch?

Re:In all fairness (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106315)

Or a bad batch?

No, of course not. This is /. It must be that a major hard drive manufacturer that was around 20+ years prior, and is still around 14 years later made nothing but bricks and packaged them as hard drives. That's how they survived when so many of their competitors went bankrupt. Bricks are so much cheaper to produce, so the profit margin is considerably higher. ;-)

Re:In all fairness (5, Interesting)

Swave An deBwoner (907414) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106437)

In mid-December 1987, Miniscribe's management, with Wiles' approval and Schleibaum's assistance, engaged in an extensive cover-up which included recording the shipment of bricks as in-transit inventory. To implement the plan, Miniscribe employees first rented an empty warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, and procured ten, forty-eight foot exclusive-use trailers. They then purchased 26,000 bricks from the Colorado Brick Company.

On Saturday, December 18, 1987, Schleibaum, Taranta, Huff, Lorea and others gathered at the warehouse. Wiles did not attend. From early morning to late afternoon, those present loaded the bricks onto pallets, shrink wrapped the pallets, and boxed them. The weight of each brick pallet approximated the weight of a pallet of disk drives. The brick pallets then were loaded onto the trailers and taken to a farm in Larimer County, Colorado.

Miniscribe's books, however, showed the bricks as in-transit inventory worth approximately $4,000,000. Employees at two of Miniscribe's buyers, CompuAdd and CalAbco, had agreed to refuse fictitious inventory shipments from Miniscribe totaling $4,000,000. Miniscribe then reversed the purported sales and added the fictitious inventory shipments into the company's inventory records.

Find the full text here: http://www.justice.gov/osg/briefs/1996/w961430w.txt [justice.gov]

Now, though, Seagate is not Miniscribe.

Re:In all fairness (1)

Wizel603 (1367631) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106549)

Now, though, Seagate is not Miniscribe.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Seagate absorbed Miniscribe by way of Maxtor. I wouldn't be so sure that 'shipping bricks' isn't in their patent portfolio.

Re:In all fairness (4, Informative)

sribe (304414) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106925)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Seagate absorbed Miniscribe by way of Maxtor. I wouldn't be so sure that 'shipping bricks' isn't in their patent portfolio.

Since most /. folks weren't even alive back then, let me recap a few of Miniscribe's business tactics:

- Set up off-the-books companies to which they "sold" drives that were simply stored in warehouses.

- Claimed the sale of drives which had not yet been delivered to customers. Their outside auditors called them out on the fact that they couldn't claim the income from drives that were still on the boat from China, and made them restate earnings. When it all fell apart, the criminal investigation discovered that the drives had never even existed to begin witth.

- Took returned dead disk drives, tossed them onto a pile in the office which was nicknamed the "dog pile", and when the pile got big enough, packed them up and shipped them out as new orders.

So no, Seagate is nothing at all like Miniscribe ;-)

Re:In all fairness (1)

emag (4640) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106983)

Seeing "CompuAdd" brought back memories. I may still even have a mouse pad from them. Got my first SoundBlaster there, too, with about a year's saved allowance... (Some of us /.ers were alive back then)

Re:In all fairness (4, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106273)

If the entire box is dead, wouldn't that imply mishandling during shipping?

Bad batches during production. Seagate used to be famous for this, and if you look back at their 90's financials you can see that for quite a while they were hanging on from folding by the edge of their teeth.

Re:In all fairness (1)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106369)

If the entire box is dead, wouldn't that imply mishandling during shipping?

Not necessarily. It could also be an awful batch of drives off a production line with really shit quality control.

Re:In all fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106387)

Or just a very bad quality control department that didn't catch that a whole batch of drives off the assembly line were defective.

Re:In all fairness (5, Interesting)

Seta (934439) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106255)

Eh, it depends. I've had plenty of bad luck with Seagate's consumer drives dying pretty quickly. On the other hand, I've yet to have to replace a single enterprise ES (or ES2) series drive. We use Seagate's ES series drives in the arrays we depend on and Western Digital black drives in the arrays we don't care too much about (video editing rigs). Though I said, "Don't care too much about", I at least expected them to last more than a few months. Unfortunately, a few months is a tall order for Western Digital. The black drives die so often that their entire warranty department probably knows me by name...

Re:In all fairness (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106655)

Unfortunately, a few months is a tall order for Western Digital.

That's been my experience as well. I'd have to move to the Middle East and cut off a lot of thieves' hands in order to count the number of WD failures I've seen. Conversely, in two freaking decades, I have never had a single Seagate drive fail. And yet I've known plenty of people who have had the opposite experience. Hell, I know people who curse the black name of Hitachi as a data-eating daemon from the netherworld.

I suspect hard drives are powered by magic or faith. Be nice to your drives' machine spirits, or you will regret it, whatever brand you choose.

Re:In all fairness (2)

locopuyo (1433631) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106833)

I've had similar experience. I've had about 15 Seagate drives and none of them have ever died. I've had 3 WD drives, 2 died within a year and the third one almost made it 2 years.
I haven't met anyone personally that has had problems with Seagate drives, but I have heard people claim it online. Maybe I'm just lucky or something.

Re:In all fairness (2)

sribe (304414) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106945)

Meantime, I had absolutely horrible experiences with the 3TB ES drives. It varies.

Re:In all fairness (5, Interesting)

Drew M. (5831) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106335)

I've got ~170 failed Seagate Enterprise 500G drives sitting here in my cube. That's pretty close to a 50% failure rate after 4 years of that fleet. Sadly Dell who branded them won't warranty them after 1 year. I'm pretty close to playing hard drive dominoes with them and posting that on youtube. Also noteworthy, we have almost as many Western Digital drives of that same generation with just one failure. Due to this, my company refuses to buy any more Seagates until we see things get better.

Re:In all fairness (4, Interesting)

YoungHack (36385) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106533)

This reflects my anecdotal experience of late as well. My Dell server just turned 3 years old (and I had a 3 year service agreement on it). It came with three 1-terabyte drives. All failed before my service period ended and were replaced; the last of the three was replaced this past summer. 100% failure of the original drives in less than 3 years.

Re:In all fairness (2)

Lord_Jeremy (1612839) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106545)

No kidding. My employer has a data recovery division and the guys who run it have some pretty well-informed opinions of which drives blow and which drives don't as much. Bottom line: no matter how awesome your storage is, back it up!

Re: In all fairness (5)

iamhassi (659463) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106883)

Please play hard drive dominos and post to YouTube and /.

Re:In all fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106911)

Pics or you are lying. How many computers do you have around that it took to get 170 failures? You do support and you just bring them to your desk for the last four years and just pile them up? How many monitors, keyboards, and memory dimms do you have stacked on your desk?

Where I work, we have a mix of Western Digital and Seagate in our HP desktops and laptops and neigher one stands out as better than the other. I will say we had a bunch of fujitsu's go bad after about 1.5 years of use about 10 years ago, maybe 1 per day in an office with about 800 desktops.

No shit, there I was (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106037)

watching samzenpus as he finished rimming storagedude.

Meh. fud spam. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106053)

Someones working overtime to make seagate look good.
But the pile of dead seagates at work says otherwise.

Do we ALL needs to put out a paper showing all the different drives we use and how seagate keeps topping the failures list?

"Insert anecdotal evidence from some desktop user that says seagate is the BEST EVER!"

Nope. Wish it all you want. But seagate has long been known to be a high failure cheap drive. Buy them at your own risk.
My personal fav currently is the hitachi deskstar lines. They really cleaned up their mess when the 'deathstar' problems bit them in the ass.
And that's even assuming you want a HD anymore. SSD is getting cheaper and faster every day.

No matter what you buy tho. Keep a backup.

Re:Meh. fud spam. (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106133)

Someones working overtime to make seagate look good.
But the pile of dead seagates at work says otherwise.

Yeah, this guy is essentially saying the pre-known facts validate this research finding so therefore the research was deeply flawed.

It really doesn't matter what the accumulated knowledge over the intervening years says, the facts remain that for this user, Blackblaze, the results were the results, and it happened to match what the industry already knew.

  Their results: Hitachi has the lowest overall failure rate (3.1% over three years). Western Digital has a slightly higher rate (5.2%), but the drives that fail tend to do so very early. Seagate drives fail much more often — 26.5% are dead by the three-year mark."

If anything, this guy just validated Blackblaze's study,

Re:Meh. fud spam. (4, Insightful)

MatthiasF (1853064) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106711)

He seems to be trying his best to find flaws in the study, but his own logic is pretty poor. For instance.

"I’ve noted that we just found that the Seagate 1.5 TB drives are about 8 years old since release, for the failure rate, but the average age of the Seagate drives in use are 1.4 years old. Averages are pretty useless statistic, and if Seagate drives are so bad then why buy so many new drives?"

If the company began rolling out Seagates for 3 years at 5k a year and stopped after three years because of the high failure rate, moving on to Hitachi and such, then the average age even over 8 years could very well be only 1.4 years. Because, let's face it, when it's your ass on the line and you see a particular type of drive putting your servers into a precarious state, you might start migrating away as fast as you can.

Those Seagate drives still running are probably either running in very low IO servers or very low-risk servers (clustered or such), but in such few quantities that their continued lifespans are not increasing the overall average much. The remainder could be shelved to avoid the risk of failing in a critical system and while they are listed in the total number of drives purchased, their age might not be included in the average presented.

Re:Meh. fud spam. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106167)

And that's even assuming you want a HD anymore. SSD is getting cheaper and faster every day.

Oh yeah ? Where can I get a 1TB SSD that costs 100 $ and can run 24hours/24hours for 5 years without any problems ?
Magnetic rotating disks are staying with us for a long long time especially when you need lots of space.

Re:Meh. fud spam. (3, Insightful)

harlequinn (909271) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106339)

Yes. They are getting cheaper and faster. They are already much faster than magnetic rotating discs in read/write/iops.

Don't be facetious, you can't get a 1TB SSD for 100$ yet and you know this. The OP clearly wrote "getting cheaper", he didn't say they have parity on price.

The reliability rate for current generation SSDs is now higher than traditional HDDs. So in regards to " run 24hours/24hours for 5 years without any problems ?", take your pick, they can all do it better than a traditional HDD.

I think traditional HDDs have precious few years left.

Re:Meh. fud spam. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106483)

reliability rate

How is that calculated? in particular do drives that corrupt data silently or worse lock the user out of their data requiring a hard reset to make the drive work again count or do only drives that actually fail permanently and get RMA'd count?

Re:Meh. fud spam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106513)

However HDDs have the advantage that when they do fail, you can almost always get your data off of it. You'll lose all your filenames and if free tools like testdisk don't cut it it'll be expensive, but it's possible. I've recovered from a lot of different types of HDD failures. SSD failures aren't recoverable. It's less of a problem if you keep backups, but I've lost power while making a backup and lost (and then mostly recovered) both HDDs.

Re:Meh. fud spam. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106547)

Totally agree. Just because ST31500341AS drives were introduced 8 years ago doesn't mean that all drives in the study were 8 years old. I see what you tried to do there, Henry.

Re:Meh. fud spam. (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106589)

Right. Nothing against Seagate, but Seagate must have something against me.

Re:Meh. fud spam. (4, Informative)

citizenr (871508) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106789)

SSD is getting cheaper and faster every day.

You know whats getting cheaper? TLC flash, the kind that degrades WHEN YOU READ IT, the kind that has internal read counter and needs to be written again after a certain number of reads to level cell voltages, the kind that has ~300 writes life span. Its designed to DIE no matter what you do with it.

Release Date != Age of Drive (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106065)

Is he saying that 1.5TB drives are all 5 years old? If you look at the table in TFA, it talks about "release date" -- which may well be some time ago, but I'm sure 1.5TB drives may had new, even if the design hasn't changed in a while.

did he actually look at their chart? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106075)

There was a column for 'drive age'

5 years? That's not a given. (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106091)

I have an 80 GB IDE hard drive in my old desktop machine that's still alive and kicking from - I'm not even sure how old it is. At least 10 years, I'd say. I use it for temporary storage.

Re:5 years? That's not a given. (4, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106317)

Install that drive in a server in an online backup company and see how long it lasts.

Re:5 years? That's not a given. (2)

nabsltd (1313397) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106637)

Install that drive in a server in an online backup company and see how long it lasts.

Probably longer, since once the drive is filled with data, it basically just sits there spinning. Sure, there might be a patrol read of the disk every month or so, but no real work.

I expect that almost all my drives in server environments would be running fine at 8-10 years, but most get replaced after about 6 simply because bigger drives are so much cheaper at that point.

Re:5 years? That's not a given. (2)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106847)

Can't give exact numbers as I only worked in an IT role where I was dealing with largish storage for a couple years (2006-2008) ~200TB spinning disk on ~400 disks in a dozen or so raid arrays. Anyways: failures seemed fairly clustered. We'd lose a drive in an array get the replacement then a month later the same chassis would lose another drive. It might have been power supply stressed the drives, it might have been for whatever reason those disks where getting hit harder over time than other arrays, might have been the load of doing the rebuild or just that they were in the same stripe set so getting similar load, similar/same batch of drives since they came together. How knows? Anyways, server load might have a longer MTA but intrachassis failure rates seem to be from my (albeit limited) experience highly correlated.

Re: 5 years? That's not a given. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106835)

I have an 80gb ide deskstar that runs as primary storage for my DNS, key, and SSH jump box for my home network.

Theolder a drive gets, you need to put it into higher positions of authority and privilege due to its years of experience. It inverts the failure rate (which is mainly from burnout and boredom of routine).

Re:5 years? That's not a given. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106331)

I have a 120MB Conner CP30101G - wonder if it still works?
I haven't spun it up in ages, doubt modern hardware knows how to talk to it.

I do have a 20GB laptop drive that does work as a really slow backup device.

Re: 5 years? That's not a given. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106385)

I have a 40 MB IDE Conner... a few years back I connected it and it still worked...

Re: 5 years? That's not a given. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106571)

I was just telling a coworker I have a box of old drives ranging from a couple hundred megs to 120GB that, even having been kept in a cardboard box and no special care taken when moving, all appear to spin up and read/write just fine...

Last about five years? (4, Interesting)

jgotts (2785) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106117)

I've either personally owned or purchased for companies I've worked for dozens of hard drives of all (except ESDI) technologies including MFM/RLL, IDE (parallel and serial), SCSI (original, wide, ultra wide, etc.) of form factors from full height 5.25 inch to 2.5 inch, dating back to 1991, and in my experience most hard drives last until you throw them away after 10 or 15 years because they're too small.

A few hard drives die in the first 6 months, and maybe 5-10% die in 3-5 years. Saying that disk drives last about 5 years just doesn't agree with my experience at all. Hard drives essentially last an infinite amount of time, defined by me as until they're so small that their storage can be replaced for under a dollar.

I do agree with the author's other points. Certain lines of hard drives have more like a 100% failure rate after 5 years. One 250 GB hard drive I purchased was RMA replaced with a 300 GB model because the 250 GB line was essentially faulty.

I think these studies might be looking at 7200 or 10000 RPM SCSI units under extremely high use. That's not how consumers use hard drives.

Re:Last about five years? (4, Funny)

pefisher (774697) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106281)

I agree with you that a lot of drives seem to have very long lifetimes. I used to read that it was important to keep hard drives cool, so I have always built machines in which each drive has a dedicated (low speed) fan blowing across it. These drives don't ever seem to fail. (I guess after a statement like that, I should probably do a backup.)

Re:Last about five years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106373)

Or you could have bought more or less any Samsung drive, and they wouldn't have needed a fan.
They needed so little power and ran so cool they were effectively at room temperature.
Great drives, nearly bombproof.
Until Seagate bought the technology and now you get crap Seagate drives that are branded Samsung.
They even put out their own crap drives with the same ID numbers as the Samsung drives, bait and switch.
No-one with any sense buys Seagate drives.
But yes, lots of drives needed and still need fans or they do die quicker.

Re:Last about five years? (1)

unrtst (777550) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106955)

Agreed. I miss (real) Samsung drives. I started buying them about 6months to a year before seagate bought them. Picked up a couple more after I heard that (cause they'd still be off Samsung's line). They run great, quiet, and very cool compared to the comparable WD and seagate models from the same time and size.
Might have to look into Hitachi next round of purchases... stats and reputation on recent drives looks good.

Re:Last about five years? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106305)

Maybe you don't use them as much as Backblaze.
Just sitting there spinning, with their fluid bearings and pretty much no friction, they'll last forever.
Constantly moving the head and writing data puts extra stress on the drive.

Re:Last about five years? (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106645)

Maybe you don't use them as much as Backblaze. Just sitting there spinning, with their fluid bearings and pretty much no friction, they'll last forever. Constantly moving the head and writing data puts extra stress on the drive.

Backblaze drives are basically just sitting there spinning, at least after the drive is filled up.

I write a lot more than 2TB to each of my 2TB drives over their lifetime, while a Backblaze usage model would have me only writing 2TB.

Re:Last about five years? (5, Interesting)

Nuitari The Wiz (1123889) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106423)

My experience tends to mirror Backblaze, both with my own personnal business and as an employee at 2 different companies.

Seagates would always fail prematurely, but usually in a way that is noticeable through SMART monitoring. Interestingly it matches up with when they acquired Maxtor, which also started going bad when they bought Quantum. With my colocated servers for my side business I used to have to go at least twice a month to replace a failed drive. I eventually gave up on Seagate and replaced all but 1 drive (a spare raid member) with a mix of WD and Hitachi. I'm also really pissed at Seagate to have slipped so much in reliability, especially with their 7200.11 and early 7200.12 drives.

WD would fail sometimes, near when they were new. Where I worked previously, we had a policy of mixing new and old WD drives in a new server. It was a lenghty process but helped avoid losing a simple RAID1 setup.

Hitachi very good and usually inexpensive.

Where I'm working now we're trying out Toshiba and so far one drive failed out of 12, but that sample size is way too small and its not been long enough to truly tell how it will go.

Doesn't match my anecdotes (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106653)

My experience has been pretty different. The only drive to ever fail pretty much beyond recovery for me, was a Western Digital drive (that was about ten years ago).

On the other hand, I've bought a lot of Seagate drives over the years and they have held up really well - only having data issues when a computer crashed at some particularly bad point. They've also generally performed really well.

Hitachi has been OK for me also, but they don't seem to be very performant.

Re:Last about five years? (1)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106915)

"I've either personally owned or purchased for companies I've worked for dozens of hard drives "

Bwahaha... no offence mr low uid, but "dozens" does not make you an expert. I have had thousands of bad drives in my 15 or so years in the business. out of tens to hundreds of thousands of machines. Right now I see about 50-100 bad drives a year supporting a medium sized company as well as the occasional home computer.

Hard drives power supplies and capacitors are the number 1 2 and 3 things that fail on all computers first. Any other failure is an oddity.

3-5 years is most certainly correct as the AVERAGE lifetime of a drive. I have come to my own conclusions about that particular number based on experience, and reading about hard drive failures for many years. Sure many drives last longer, and many many fail by simply getting slower with age. But the main point is that dozens is merely a hobbyist and if you are basing your opinion on such a small sample size, you may not be correct.

As I said before, seagate screwed themselves over bad firmwares a few years ago which is why people hate them so much now (me included). However I am sure WD will fuck up eventually too and ill have to switch back to seagates.

The most important thing for drives is proper cooling and avoiding manufacturing defects (bad batch).

The best tool to use for hard drive diagnosis is 1) your ear and 2) hdtune

Re:Last about five years? (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106923)

I seem to recall it being mentioned in my statistics for managers course that harddrives similar to light bulbs failures follow a logirithmic distribution. A drive is exactly as likely to fail in the 0-1 month interval as the 5yr 5yr1mth interval. What that ends up meaning in practice is the number that fail in the first few years is misleadingly large since it is a half life of a much larger set of drives, what matters is the relative reduction in the population which is approximately constant. As you say the cost ends up replacing most before the failure. Running a 40 drive array of 300GB drives causes about the same as a 40 drive array of 4TB drives but the throughput will go up because of increases in aerial density and nic/FC speeds, eventually either IO performance or total storage requirements will demand something better and given a few year (at least) enterprise wareentee on a raid array you'll probably just opt for a new model once more than a few drives start failing.

Consumer market is different of course. At least in my geek community generally by the time hardware starts failing the "chief geek" wants something newer. They use it as an excuse to buy themselves a new box and maybe scrounge up a spare drive from somewhere to resuscitate the old system which becomes a kids/mother/guest/playing around computer. Even non-geeks I know tend to ditch there 3+ year old computer when it starts to have problems and buy a new $500 model from someone (which breaks/obsoletes early because it is junk to begin with ... and the cycle repeats).

Who cares? (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106169)

Who cares about known issues. If I buy a hard drive and two years from now it has a 'known issue', then I would much rather not buy it in the first place.

Re:Who cares? (1)

thebes (663586) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106363)

This. A failed drive is a failed drive, regardless of who it comes from and whether the issue is known or not and publicly admitted.

I will never again buy seagate (4, Informative)

TheRealQuestor (1750940) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106203)

BS. I have had at least 2/3 of my newer seagates fail. From 500 gigs to 2TB drives. At LEAST 10 in the last 3 years. In the same time I have had 1 of 6 hitachi and 2 of 18 western digital. I will NEVER buy another seagate drive. Just lost my external 1.5TB USB3 drives go last week with 0 warning and TON of my data. I hate seagate with a passion that I feel for no other.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (1)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106325)

I've had the same reliability problem with 1TB Samsung drives and have about a dozen dead ones of those in a cardboard box and three with suspected faults. Previously I had a lot of trouble with WD 1.5TB drives and some seagate 2TB drives.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106581)

samsung 750g drives were even worse.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (2)

jatoo (2393402) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106345)

If you are inconvenienced by a drive failure and have to restore a backup, get angry at the manufacturer.

However, if you lose data from a single drive failure, get angry at yourself for not doing backups.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (2)

rthille (8526) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106609)

The seagate 3TB that just failed on me was my backup drive.

Now, I didn't lose any current data, but all my time-machine backups are gone, poof...

You need to backup repository also. (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106693)

If you wanted to keep your version-cotrolled data you should have backed it up. Time Machine is a backup, but also a version control repository which itself must be backed up... it can fail for other reasons too.

Not to mention you should ALWAYS have at least two duplicates of data, so backing up your backup is just a good idea anyway.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (1)

TheRealQuestor (1750940) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106683)

The USB3 drive WAS my backup drive. Sigh. And only about a year and a half old.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106375)

Check your cables - SATA can loosen and cause problems.
Reseating might make your problem go away as long as the drive spins up when powered.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106391)

I've had similar issues but don't put too much faith in WD. Their externals use an encryption PCB which is just a total pain in the ass when the shit hits the fan. My solution was to back them all up and rip them out of their cases, formatted without the PCB they're fine.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (1)

Swave An deBwoner (907414) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106499)

I encountered this and did the same thing you did once the data was recovered.

But does anyone have a clue as to why WD is using these "encrypting" controllers? The encryption isn't safeguarding the user's data (because so far as they can tell, through the USB interface, the data is in cleartext, duh). And it doesn't look like it's doing anything for WD's reputation either to make it so difficult to recover data when the controller fails. So what's the point?

Re:I will never again buy seagate (3, Interesting)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106429)

BS. I have had at least 2/3 of my newer seagates fail. From 500 gigs to 2TB drives. At LEAST 10 in the last 3 years. In the same time I have had 1 of 6 hitachi and 2 of 18 western digital. I will NEVER buy another seagate drive. Just lost my external 1.5TB USB3 drives go last week with 0 warning and TON of my data. I hate seagate with a passion that I feel for no other.

Hard drive manufacturers are extremely cyclical in quality. I've said it on /. many times, but back in the day they all went from the bottom of the reliability and performance list to the top on a yearly basis. Now that we have fewer drive manufacturers to choose from it's probably closer to every 3-5 years. I have a 500 MB Seagate external that just died that's at 7+ years old. Actually the HDD is fine, the electronics for the USB controller died. I also have a 12GB Maxtor that was in a BSD box that I just retired. It was on that box for 14 or 15 years. I actually had 12 years of up time on that system at one point. I've had plenty WD drives fail from Velociraptors to the consumer grade drives. Seagate seems about on par with all the rest. Most SCSI drives I've had seem to last forever though. If you care about reliable, get some 15K RPM drives. Their fast as hell and usually last forever, or until they get too small for your needs.

Re:I will never again buy seagate (1)

Solandri (704621) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106569)

BS. I have had at least 2/3 of my newer seagates fail. From 500 gigs to 2TB drives. At LEAST 10 in the last 3 years. In the same time I have had 1 of 6 hitachi and 2 of 18 western digital. I will NEVER buy another seagate drive.

The manufacturer who fared best in the Blackblaze report was Hitachi. Hitachi bought their hard drive division from IBM. IBM produced the Deskstar series of hard drives. The 75GXP had such an abysmally high failure rate it was nicknamed the Deathstar. Lots of folks swore they would never buy another IBM drive again.

Hard drive reliability varies a lot by model. The 60GXP which replaced the 75GXP was one of the more reliable drives out there at the time. You're really crippling yourself if you swear to boycott a manufacturer entirely.

Hitachi may be reliable, but performance? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106783)

I am kind of mystified at all of these bad Seagate results, as I've had a number of Seagate drives without problems.

However there is a factor that I wonder makes a difference - generally I've been buying drives that were not the cheapest, but were more on the upper end of the model line - for example my latest drive purchases have been mostly 4TB drives. I'm wondering if buying early runs of newer model HD's brings you a greater success rate.

Also it seems like some models are better than others and perhaps I've just lucked into buying the more durable runs of HD models from Seagate.

I did buy a 4TB Hitachi. It may be reliable. but the performance seems rather poor - using a USB 3.0 dock, from a disk speed test app I was getting 85MB/s read 55.1MB/s (!) write on the 4TB Hitachi, while I was getting 95 MB/s read and 10.8 MB/s write on the Seagate 4TB drive. It could be the Hitachi would last longer, but would I care if I have to live with much worse performance? I'd rather just spend a bit more effort to make sure backups are rigorous and use the faster drive.

I was not aware this was a scientific study. (5, Insightful)

plebeian (910665) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106225)

My understanding based upon reading the originally posted materials was that they published their reliability findings based upon their own experience. I did not see anywhere that they claimed that it was comprehensive research into the reliability of hard drives. We should not crap upon backblaze because people could not be bothered to read the articles and made some faulty assumptions based upon the headlines, to do so would just serve to dissuade others from releasing their experiences. As for the argument about some of the hardware having known faults... If a company does not want bad press they should do more quality control before releasing crappy hardware...

someone got paid (5, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106267)

Sorry, you're full of shit Henry Newman. How many people follow specifications about burn-in on a drive when they buy it wholesale OEM and it comes in nothing more than a plastic bag? How many people only buy drives released recently? If you're like most people and you want a 1.5TB drive you go out and buy the cheapest one that meets your needs. If Seagate still has 8 yr old drives on the market, then it's damned right that their failure rate should be considered. And so what if a drive "has a well-known problem that Seagate publicly admitted to"? As long as Seagate publicly admits all the issues with every drive they release we should then adjust stats to eliminate those flaws? That's ridiculous. This study was about "If you go out and buy a drive off the market, this is the rate you can expect it to fail at." I don't think any consumer that got a Seagate drive, had it fail and lose all their data, would then say "Oh! Well they publicly admitted to a problem! Shit! My bad!"

Sounds like Mr Newman is going to get a nice paycheck soon.

Re:someone got paid (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106987)

My anecdote. I have six of those 1.5 TB Seagate drives. Today 2 of them have failed. That's a 33% failure rate. My next drive purchases will be either Hitachi or Western Digital.

Re:someone got paid (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | 1 year,1 day | (#46107001)

Sadly I've already posted on this thread so can't +1 you. I totally agree: admitting the problem isn't enough. Admitting early XBox360s had a problem wasn't enough. There is a problem what are you going to do about it? The numbers are the numbers if you realize you have a problem you need to yank that crappy 1.5TB drive off the market not throw it into your cheap enclosure and sell it at Walmart for $50 and hope no one notices before your crappy 1yr warranty is up.

Also, I could be wrong here but my guess is that the average consumer is not analyzing the specs of harddrives too much before buying them. They are walking into Best Buy or the equivalent with $200 burning a hole in their pocket and a laptop full of porn. They want to buy as much space for tits as possible with that $200. So they get the Green rather than the Black drive, they get the MyBook external drive because it is on sale rather than the competitors etc. Heck a lot of them don't even know the underlying drive because it is in an enclosure with another name (I'd guess it is about 1:1 internal vs external drive sales, and probably more like 4:1 in favor of external for after market sales) and they are strictly buying on how shinny the box is and how large the number on the front is.

What's the point? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106311)

This article states everything anyone competent already knew. Consumer drives come rated for a lighter workload than enterprise.

Duh? That's the point - it's a cost:reliability tradeoff. With "enterprise" drives being 1.5x+ the expense, for uses like Backblaze where you can survive multiple disk failures with ease it's a no-brainer.

I also got "burned" by these Seagate 1.5TB disks. By *far* the worst drives we have in production (~300 or so these days), and they have had an annual failure rate around 20% since the day they were put into service. Other consumer drives don't even come close to that metric, but are rated similarly.

I actually like Seagate - every disk manufacturer has problematic models from time to time. No big deal, we knew the risks when we bought them. However, the data Backblaze published is completely validated by our own internal data. It's a drive model to avoid when at all possible. Most of our disks have a less than 5% annual failure rate, but this specific model is close to, or over, 20%. That's a major difference.

This article just states the obvious. Consumer drives generally fail earlier under heavy loads. This is not interesting, it's a known tradeoff anyone with a high school degree can figure out for themselves by looking at cycle ratings and MTBF. The only thing I care about for this workload, is if my failure rate exceeds the savings I get from utilizing the lesser drives. The answer has thus far (even with 20% of drives failing each year) been a resounding yes.

There is a difference between consumer drives, data like this is *great* to have published as it can add to your own data and you can compare notes. Will I make a buying decision based off it? Probably not. But it will certainly be one data point of many when it comes time to buy more disk. Known issue? I don't care. All I care about is if the drive works or not, and this particular Seagate model does not. The author of this article completely glances over the fact Seagate admitted to the issue, but did absolutely *nothing* to make it right for their customers essentially blaming them. This fact is what bothers me the most, not the fact they had a problematic drive model - and will likely be the largest factor when it comes to my evaluating Seagate products in the future.

Re:What's the point? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106451)

To continue a bit on his ridiculous rant of "what you should be doing if you release any data on your real-world experiences".

1. The age of the drives as it affects the failure rate of the drive.

Fair enough. Backblaze did this, in the average age metric. Is average the most complete one available? Of course not, but it certainly gives you a starting point.

2. Whether the drives are burned in or not burned in, as it impacts the infant mortality.

Backblaze has stated they perform drive burn-in testing before putting into production. A tiny amount of reading the other blog posts will show you this. Any company using drives in such a manner will do so.

3. How much data will be written to and read from each drive time and if over time the drives in question will hit the limits on the hard error rates.

Duh? All drives in backblaze's pool are generally subjected to "similar" write patterns I'd imagine. Does this author *really* think Backblaze has it out for Seagate and is writing only to those drives to make them fail earlier? What I care about is how long the drives last for my workload. If I know about when to expect a failure, all the better. Specifications are rarely more than a super conservative CYA from the vendor though, and most drives outlive their rating by many multiples.

4. The load and unload cycles and if any of the failures exceed manufacturer specification.

What? How is load/unload cycles remotely relevant to an on-line backup service? Has this guy ever ran anything at all at even close to this scale? You never let drives spin down - both for this cycle rating reason, and software raid in many ways does *not* play nicely with spun down disk. No one operating with 10's of thousands of drives is going to forget this small detail, as they will have inordinate drive failures across the board if they are cycling them constantly.

5. Average age does not tell you anything, and statistics such as standard deviation should be provided.

It tells me quite a bit. Is it as detailed as a scientific study should be? Of course not. This is not a scientific study, it's simply publishing real world data the company in question has experienced. If we're talking percentage differences, this metric will matter a lot. We're not. We're talking 3% to 25%. I don't need things broken down into standard deviation to know there is a big problem. If their intention was to mislead readers, then you might have a point. But I doubt they have something out for Seagate.

6. Information on SMART data monitoring and if any of the drives had exceeded any of the SMART statistics before they are more likely to fail.

Who cares? A failure is a failure. If I replace a drive due to an early SMART warning, I'm still replacing damned drive. It failed. How it failed or the manner it failed in is absolutely irrelevant to me.

7. Information on vibration, heat or other environmental factors as it impacts groups of drives. Will a set of new drives from a vendor get put into an area of the data center that is hotter or have racks with more vibration?

Has this guy ever worked in a datacenter? Or seen what Backblaze even does? There is enough scale here to make these factors inconsequential. We're talking dozens of racks, with many servers. Drives get put into identical chassis, and into identical racks. Will some racks have slightly higher inlet temps? Sure. But unless Backblaze is co-located in some ghetto colo somewhere this is an absolute non-issue. Drives are not nearly as temperature sensitive as the idiots on review sites would lead you to believe. Google published a report on this a long while back if you need scientific evidence of that fact.

This would matter a lot if they were putting drives into different types of systems. They are not. It's all the same chassis. All drives are treated equal.

Ugh this is a bad piece of writing. It's quite clear Backblaze was simply publishing their actual *data* to be interpreted however you like. My data happens to coincide with theirs, and I'm confident in saying these Seagate 1.5TB drives are pieces of shit, that don't even come close to the same reliability as the competing products released at the same time. Like I said - no big deal - every disk manufacturer has bad model runs from time to time. But to try to defend them by stating a company's data wasn't "scientific enough" to publish is just asinine and does not help the state of the industry out in any way whatsoever.

"Known" to whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106333)

If the users at large are not aware of such defects, and Seagate has not proactively sought to inform users AND replace the defective drives at the company's cost, then including such defects in a study is perfectly legitimate, only with the additional takeaway that you should factor likely RMAs into the cost of Seagate products.

(I'd also add that Seagate's warranty does not cover advance replacements, which can only be had with an additional, non-refundable service fee.)

So the irrational fanboi is upset... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106337)

that the garbage company he loves produces garbage. Well, that's why they're know as a garbage company. They employee idiots, rip them off on pay, and steal from supplies by not paying their bills. Of course their products are going to be complete garbage, and this moron is a piece of garbage for trying to defend this garbage company.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106359)

none of his commentary really matters because it clearly shows the failure rates of short-aged drives....

A known flaw does not make the drive more reliable (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106371)

Just because Seagate admitted that they had a flaw in a drive does not automatically negate the unreliability of those drives in the first place. It is, however, a good move to try to appease the people that are angry that they just lost data or ended up with a defective drive and to try to deflect some of the negativity. Which hopefully will try to prevent further erosion of their brand's reliability.

If you have Company A make a product that doesn't fail and Company B that makes a product that also doesn't fail except when there was a manufacturing issue. Company A is still more reliable then company B. In this situation it could be that company A had better quality control then company B. They both came across the same flaw, but company A caught it fixed it before selling the product. In this situation, I would trust company A's goods over company B's goods in the future.

Revisionist History (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106379)

People seem to forget that Seagate denied the issue for almost a year.
I remember.
I was a seagate buyer, before they lied. It was my preferred vendor. We had a number of drives in disk arrays, but when it was time to swap them out, I avoided Seagate as replacements. Never had any data loss due to Seagate drives, but the company was a client of the software my team wrote for enterprise customers, so I did get a view on the edges of the company. Something changed.

Last year, those drives were 6 yrs old and had never gave us any issues, but old drives can't be trusted. The new drives were Hitachi - because I can read reliability reports. I'm still using the old Seagate for unimportant things from time to time. Mainly transporting large amounts of data. No issues and if there are any at this point, the old drives have exceeded expectations.

However, I don't plan to buy another Seagate drive again. They lied! Didn't step up and tell the truth. That is a management issue, not technical, and I remember it. It was a management failure. I will always remember it and were I work (BTW, I'm a CIO) - we will never buy Seagate drives again, if there is a choice.

Life and work is too important to deal with liars.

tall order (2)

Jenos (1255810) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106401)

But this is possibly the worst slashot article in awhile. The study specifically mentioned drive models and ages. In any case i have massive stacks of bad seagate drivea from my datacenter and a much lower number of dead western digital drives. Those are all Enterprise modela, not consumer.

8 Years Old (2)

Macrat (638047) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106419)

'The oldest drive in the list is the Seagate Barracuda 1.5 TB drive from 2006. A drive that is almost 8 years old!

I recently had a 1.5TB drive die and it was still new enough to be under warranty. Seagate shipped a 2TB as a replacement.

in all fairless (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106433)

Pffft... In all fairless I have a Seagate 7200.7 that has 72180 power_on_hours. That is 11 years of power-on time. There is not a single fault on it and I still use that drive daily.

The fact is, the model matters. All manufacturers produce duds. Some drives are better than others, even from the same manufacturer.

"intellectual rigor" (2)

NapalmV (1934294) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106473)

I like it that Newman complains of "lack of intellectual rigor" then mentions a "known problem" as an excuse for eliminating from the study the 1.5TB Seagate drives. Except that according to Seagate, the known problem with this series "does not result in data loss nor does it impact the reliability of the drive". Additionally, the "known problem" was for firmware versions SD15, SD17 & SD18. Did Mr. Newman have the "intellectual rigor" to check if the tested drives were having one of the affected firmware versions?

coming from a storage provider... (4, Informative)

spikestabber (644578) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106489)

We have well over 150 3TB Seagate Barracuda's at work that are halfway into their second year of operation. The first year has been pretty flawless, maybe 1 failure, but the second year, we've had about 15 already get peppered with bad sectors and its continuing to happen at least once per week or so on more drives. This hands a lot of crediblity to Backblazes findings if you ask me. Again these are modern 3TB Barracuda's, (non-XT) I was sad when they discontued the XT line, simply because we have about 30 of the XT 2TB models into their 3rd year and no failures yet. Oh, right, they didn't discontinue the XT at all, rather turned it into the Constellation series and sold it for double the price!

It's all based on luck because I still use 5yrs+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106523)

I still use some of my hard drives that are older than 5yrs old. My seagate external hard drive, while it did go on the fritz this one time after plugging it into linux, it is still alive and well after 8 years of service, and I use it daily. I recently got a new internal drive which my old one was 500gb and was over 5yrs old, my new one is only 1tb but it's not a laptop hard drive which was an accidental buy when i had originally bought it. Yes, I used a crummy laptop hard drive on my PC for over 5years for gaming, development, compiling, and rendering and it still functions perfectly and it's not seagate either but samsung I think. I have some hard drives which I occasionally go back to for old memories which are often less than 1gb in size and they still work great, although they are slow as molasses and make strange sounds they work. At an old work of mine, my boss bought a seagate hard drive, put all his important crap on there and then it died not too long after and he lost hundreds of hours of work plus a lot of other important things that cost a lot of money. I think it's more about luck with what they can dish out than anything no matter what hard drive you get. Sure, some hard drives may be more prone to breaking like Hitachi but I think that overall it's based on how lucky you are. If your hard drive does crash be prepared to cry or fork over thousands for a drive recovery.

Study directly reflects my personal experience (2)

danlor (309557) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106539)

The only thing I found flawed in the study was how many seagate drives actually made it through the warranty period.

My personal experience shows a failure rate of seagate drives at around 300-400%(pool of 20-30 drives). What I am saying is that not only did the original drives fail, but the "refurbished" replacements failed as well, numerous times. Not a single drive got through warranty without the nice green border. The amount I spent on advanced replacements could have bought me quite a few new drivers from another vendor.

I no longer buy seagate drives. I do not have any abnormal failure rates on the other brands I use.

Irrelevant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106559)

The results of this test, accurate or not, do not replace actual experience with these drives. I have had nothing but problems with Seagate drives. The last two I purchased have had lots of problems. Between those two drives, I have had five failures. Four of them were RMA'd. I didn't bother with the fifth because, to be quite frank, even when repaired I simply cannot bring myself to trust it by any stretch of the imagination.

Meanwhile, I put WD drives in place of the Seagates and have had zero failures.

DCO and HPA (Host Protected Area of HDDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106601)

Betteridge's Law (4, Interesting)

Sparohok (318277) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106613)


Henry Newman's response, however, is deeply flawed.

1) Newman complains that average drive age is a "useless statistic." But he seems to prefer "time since product release" which is far worse than useless -- it is an obviously incorrect way to estimate the age of a drive population and is directly contradicted by the average age data reported in the blog post.
2) Newman has questions about Backblaze's burn in. He can find answers by googling "Backblaze burn in" to learn more about the company's remarkably transparent operations. Beach does not go into these details because an effective blog post will focus on its key conclusions rather than discussing every detail of methodology. It is not a research paper.
3) Newman digresses into hard error rate which is unrelated to drive failures. I look forward to a future Backblaze blog post about error rates. In any case since all these drives are consumer drives and all but one have the same specified error rate it is a non-sequiter.
4) Newman points out that Backblaze probably vastly exceeds manufacturer specs for drive throughput. I think this is exactly the point. Is there really enough difference in reliability between commodity and enterprise drives to justify their price difference? Or is it just a form of price discrimination? Does the spec sheet reflect reality or is it a marketing-driven fiction?

Overall this article strikes me as being written by an industry flack: someone who is more interested in parroting jargon and received wisdom rather than indulging in genuine curiosity.

re: drive throughput (3, Informative)

Sangui5 (12317) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106913)

IIRC Backblaze's workload is write once read maybe once (I mean, they are a backup company). So it's quite likely that they are massively under the specs for throughput.

The truly interesting thing about this study is that they name names; previous work in the area (lke Bianca Schroeder's FAST 07 paper, http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bianca/... [cmu.edu] or Google's FAST 07 paper, http://research.google.com/arc... [google.com] , or NetApp's FAST 08 paper http://www.usenix.org/event/fa... [usenix.org] ) doesn't give away vendor names. The Backblaze results broadly agree with the previous results.

Speaking of obsolete tech (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106631)

Does anyone have a magneto-optical disk drive? I've got some old files I'd like to retrieve.

Not scientific, but... (1)

spywhere (824072) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106667)

FWIW (not much), I've bought forty or fifty 2.5" and 3.5" drives a year for the last nine years, mostly for resale in my computer repair business; lately, I pick them up at our local Tiger Direct retail store or order them from Amazon. I have the fewest problems with Seagate drives.

Almost every time I buy another brand, the damn thing takes a crap and I get to do the job again for free. (Thank FSM Maxtor went away: they were the WORST).

I got older drives (1)

Khyber (864651) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106673)

" Since it is well known in study after study that disk drives last about 5 years and no other drive is that old,"

Shit son, I still have 20MB HDDs half the size of a full ATX tower and they work flawlessly. You fuckers can't seem to pick reliable hardware, can you?

My Seagate Experience (1)

shellster_dude (1261444) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106679)

Out of the four harddrive failures I have had in the last ten years (I often replace smaller drives with bigger ones before they fail), 3 of them were Seagate drives and one was a hitachi. I will never by Seagate again. Meanwhile my other Hitachi drives and Western Digital drives still spin on.

I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106689)

In all fairness comments like "is well known in study after study that hard disks only last about 5 years" are unhelpful. I have designed our environment to extract value from hard disks until failure. Sometimes but not often for other reasons (generally cost of power and cooling) we retire gear before it reaches that point. I have a large (for my site) amount of drives from single batches approaching 7 years old and in that timeframe we've lost to complete failure perhaps 2 drives from a single batch. The original Backblaze author had a point to convey and presented some data. I took what was useful to my situation from that data without being terribly concerned about the authors point. If you don't realise that in 6 years the technology changes such that you can't really use past performance as a measure when selecting future equipment then you are in my opinion viewing the world with an optimism you can't really afford when you are responsible for critical data. Some people would equally call me an idiot for using equipment that is well beyond its warranty date in a production environment. To this I say: if you haven't planned for total data loss on any device at any time then its you who are the idiot. So why not repurpose all your equipment (storage in particular) whenever you need to and create hierarchies of reliability from live production data down to hourly change snapshots?

Reliability is not reliable (1)

Tablizer (95088) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106769)

Hard Drive Reliability Study Flawed?

I can't tell, the data was on my hard-drive, which just crashed.

Seagate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106781)

the 7200.11 and 7200.12 drives (some 500gb,s 1tb and 1.5tb) had firmware issues. Seagate Expansion hard drives (which used a SATA to USB adapter) had flawed AC to DC adapters causing the drive to lost power and click when accessed. I have had one of these 500GB 7200.12 drives just lose the firmware and brick itself. I have been seeing a LOT of desktop pc's with the 7200.11 and 7200.12 get bad sectors, some even click. The drives i have had the most luck with is WD. I have a 1.5TB Barracuda LP (5900 rpm) that has been through 2 pc's that have fell over while running, shipped 2 times (sold then i bought it back), I have also had the drive in a few servers as well as regular desktop PC's and let me tell you the drive has yet to get even 1 bad sector. SMART health showing 100% and it has been through HELL!!!!!! I guess with that drive i got lucky. However i had a 2TB green barracuda that was in a PC that fell over and it got 900 bad sectors. After recovering data off of it I took the cover off and swiped a magnet over it and then killed it. I guess i'm lucky?

So exclude hard drives that fail and?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46106867)

This guy is saying the previous hard drive failure study was flawed because the drives they used had flaws. Isn't that well, the purpose of a study. If a drive had no flaws, it would not fail.

Any test of a specific type or model of drive will probably yield a very specific failure profile. That prfile may not be the same as another type of drive or one with different components.

There is a shocker..

Seagates Are So Bad... (2)

Guy From V (1453391) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106877)

A while ago I bought three of their HDDs...and somehow within a month seven of them failed. Not only that, a friend of mine tried to top off a rack of Seagate hybrid SSDs with unleaded and the whole server just burst into flames on the spot.

this is a good realism test (0, Troll)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106881)

If Seagate comes in last, the study is fake. That's my golden rule. If Seagate comes in last by like 10x, the author is actually criminally crooked or technically inept.

my car mp3 drive is still working (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | 1 year,1 day | (#46106989)

granted, its a notebook drive (old ide style, though) but its been in my car for about 10 yrs now and still has not shown any errors, music plays and does not seem glitchy and yet its in the trunk of my car being bounced around during the daily commute every day for nearly 10 years.

drives last only 5 years? really? who said that? that's not at all my experience with home drives or notebook drives. if the drive is not bad by design, I've gotton 10 yrs continuous use from most of mine. 5 yrs seems very conservative to me.

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