In this day and age of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, hard drive failure almost seems like a thing of the past. Especially since these devices don’t actually use that kind of storage technology. But for gamers, multimedia workers, and backup storage companies, the reliability of the hard drive can make or break their livelihood. That is why every year since 2013, online backup solution providers Backblaze releases a list of its hard drives and their failure rates, basically forming a fame and shame list of which brands and models had the most or least number of failures throughout the year.
Data storage, no matter the technology, are fated to some day fail. With physical media like hard drives however, the chances for it are higher and life times usually shorter. Especially when you perform read and write operations en masse day in and day out. When you’re business actually relies on such operations, you’ll want to know which brands and models to trust and use.
Based on Backblaze’s experience last year, that would be the 4 TB Toshiba MD04ABA400V and the 8 TB HGST HUH728080ALE600. Both drives experienced 0.00% failure rate throughout the whole year. The 8 TB Seagate ST8000DM002 also experienced no failure, but that drive only got released in November, so it doesn’t really count.
As for the worst performers, take it with a grain of salt. WDC’s drives experienced the highest number of failures at 3.88%, followed by Seagate at 2.65%. That said, one must take into account that Backblaze only had 1,626 WDC drives, and only 61 of those failed. It had 45,531 Seagate drives, on the other hand, 1,029 of which had failed in the span of the year.
The numbers come from Backblaze’s observation of the 72,100 drives it used for storing customer data and isn’t the product of rigorous scientific tests and processes. It doesn’t exactly have the time for that. And its use of hard drives probably represents extreme cases and consumers are unlikely to hit those limits in a period of 12 months. Still, if you’re planning to start your own data backup business, at least you’ll know which drives ones to pick.