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Seagate Drives Are Unreliable, Claim Backblaze

The debate over which manufacturer produces the best drives is a hotly contested one. Although there’s probably not one best manufacturer of drives, simply due to the variety in products, it’s an interesting discussion to enter into. Data is, of course, hugely valuable for personal and business reasons – it makes sense to store it all on the most reliable drive you can.

To add to the debate, Backblaze have recently published a blog post asking what the best hard drive is. Rather than just it being an open debate, however, they’ve come armed with statistics that they’ve collected over the years to see which drives have the highest failure rates.

Backblaze is an online backup service that will back up everything on your computer for just $5 a month (or $50 a year). Everything is stored to Backblaze’s servers and is encrypted in transit. The firm prides themselves on offering software that is quick to install and easy to use.

Offering users the ability to store unlimited amounts of data means that Backblaze needs to have the infrastructure to support that. This means they make use of a lot of different hard drives. As of the end of December 2014, the company had 41213 disks spinning in their data centre. That’s an increase from 27134 drives at the end of 2013.

In compiling their hard drive failure rates, Backblaze only included those models that they have 45 or more drives of. This is because 45 is the number of drives that makes up their Storage Pod and it’s a good number to begin getting a useful failure rate if they’ve been running a while.

For Backblaze, a drive is considered a failure if it either doesn’t spin up or connect to the OS, won’t sync or remain synced in a RAID array, or their Smart Stats show values above their thresholds.

The two drives that came out worse, far exceeding all those listed, were the Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 3TB drive and the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB drive. These failed 43.1% and 23.5% of the time respectively.

However, Backblaze like all of the 4TB drives that they used over the past year. In fact, one of their favourites is the Seagate Desktop HDD.15 as it has the best price and has a low 2.6% failure rate. They have over 12 thousand of these drives, which just goes to show that a company can produce varying levels of drives.

The similar HGST drives are priced slightly higher and have a lower failure rate, at 1.4%. This difference isn’t large enough for Backblaze to consider it in their purchasing, though they do have over 12 thousand of them too.

The firm typically skipped using Western Digital 4GB drives simply because the prices they get quoted for their drives are always $15-$20 higher per drive, which isn’t worth paying when Seagate and HGST usually perform reliably.

Backblaze have some 6TB drives, but they haven’t been run long enough to get a true failure rate on them.

For more information about Backblaze’s statistics and to see them in full, be sure to {{|check out their blog post}}.


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