Average lifespan of a failed mechanical hard drive is only 2.5 years
From time to time, major cloud provider Backblaze publishes reliability reports on the mechanical drives it uses.
Of course, the environment, load and strength of cloud services are far removed from that of the average user and cannot be used as authoritative conclusions, but they can be a reference point.
At the end of Q1 2023, Backblaze had 236,893 mechanical drives under management, excluding those that won't boot, those with incomplete SMART information and those with abnormal data, a cumulative total of 17,155 drives have hung up, and their average lifespan is only 2 years and 6 months, which is less than the 3 year warranty.
Of course, the vast majority of drives last for many years, so the overall average lifespan is much longer than 2 years and 6 months.
The average failure rate for drives used by Backblaze was 1.54% in the first quarter of 2023, up 0.33 percentage points sequentially from the fourth quarter of last year and up 0.32 percentage points year-on-year from the first quarter of last year.
However, the exact cause is not easy to determine and could be a problem with a particular model or batch, or the effect of installation and usage environment.
In terms of brands, Seagate drives had the 'leading' average annual failure rate at 2.28%, followed by HGST at 1.11%, Toshiba at 0.93% and Western Digital at the lowest at 0.31%.
However, Backblaze stresses that these failure rates are acceptable and that even Seagate's means that only 2 out of 100 drives will fail.
In terms of models, excluding those with less than 50 cases, there were 30 frequently failed drives, including 13 Seagate, 7 HGST, 7 Toshiba and 3 Western Digital.
Five of the six drives with the highest failure rates were Seagate, and the top three were all Seagate.
The highest was the ST12000NM0007 12TB with 2,023 damaged units, an average failure rate of 7.46% and an average lifespan of just one year and six months.
Second was the ST1400NM0138 14TB with an average failure rate of 6.23% and third was the ST10000NM0086 10TB with an average failure rate of 4.85%.
This was followed by the HGST HUH728080ALE604 8TB at 4.33%, Seagate ST4000DM000 4TB at 3.80% and Seagate ST8000NM0055 8TB at 3.72%.
Backblaze also found that high capacity drives have an overall lower failure rate than smaller capacity models and have also moved away from smaller capacity drives such as 1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB, 3TB and even 5TB.
Interestingly, previous statistics from data recovery company Secure Data Recovery show that the average life expectancy of a mechanical hard drive is 2 years and 10 months, which is quite close to Backblaze's conclusion.
However, the best brand statistic from Secure Data Recovery is Toshiba with an average lifespan of almost 4 years, the worst is Hitachi with an average lifespan of just 2 years and 1 month, while Seagate and Western Digital have average lifespans of 2 years and 8 months and 2 years and 11 months respectively.
So you don't have to take the above data and your own use to the right place, after all the product coverage, operating status, usage environment, statistics are very different, just for reference.
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