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Data Storage

Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives? 444

Hamsterdan writes "Backblaze, the cloud backup company who open sourced their Storage Pod a few years ago, is now providing information on drive failure rates. They currently have over 27,000 consumer grade drives spinning in Backblaze storage pods. There are over 12,000 drives each from Seagate and Hitachi, and close to 3,000 from Western Digital (plus a too-small-for-statistical-reporting smattering of Toshiba and Samsung drives). One cool thing: Backblaze buys drives the way you and I do: they get the cheapest consumer-grade drives that will work. Their workload is almost one hundred percent write. Because they spread the incoming writes over several drives, their workload isn't overly performance intensive, either. 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."
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Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?

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  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:00PM (#46030353) Homepage Journal

    I remember when WD caviar drives were the most replaced component on systems I serviced. Seagate was the top contender with their SCSI 10krpm drives.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:01PM (#46030371)

    I built a new gaming rig the weekend after Black Friday and had to comparison shop all the consumer hard drives on the market (read: offered by Newegg). From the reviews, Hitachi is a relative unknown, Seagates tend to last just until their three year warranty is up, and Western Digital offers a five year warranty (and a price premium to match). I ended up grabbing the WD Black. Struck by how crap seek times are on 7200 RPM TB+ sized drives.

  • by ZenMatrix ( 1299517 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:04PM (#46030407)
    Seagate drives are terrible drives now. I've had three of there external drives not last more then a year.
  • by Dan Askme ( 2895283 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:08PM (#46030429) Homepage

    After all this research, Backblaze still pick the highest failing drive.

    "What Drives Is Backblaze Buying Now?
    We are focusing on 4TB drives for new pods. For these, our current favorite is the Seagate Desktop HDD.15 (ST4000DM000)"

    So what was the point in this advert again?

  • by Jamu ( 852752 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:22PM (#46030547)

    I'm currently running a WD Green with an old Samsung SSD 830 as cache. I get the occasional pause if a game loads in something that isn't on the SSD. Overall though it's very fast with that combination and seek times, in particular, aren't an issue except for the first time you play a new game. A WD Black with an SSD as cache should be even better.

    My statistical insignificant experience with HDDs: WD: Old WD Caviar died, but the replacement lasted years. Two WD Greens still working. IBM (Now Hitachi): Had one die, two others still work. Samsung: Both still working. Seagate: Never had any.

  • by gigne ( 990887 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:28PM (#46030605) Homepage Journal

    I only have a couple of home servers with a total of 24 disks, 50% WD, the rest seagate. Never had to send a WD back. Those Seagate drives fail all the damn time. I have replaced 25% of them in 1.5 years. Sometimes the brand new replacement (as in a new retail drive) fails very quickly; 1-4 months.
    I also refuse to use any of their RMA replacement drives as they seem to go bad within 6 months. Not a single RMA's drive has lasted more than 1 year.
    At this point I am actively migrating data off those RAID arrays onto the new WD drives. I have no faith in seagate.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@nOspAm.world3.net> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:34PM (#46030659) Homepage Journal

    Maybe it's a canny strategy. Seagate drives are slightly cheaper because they are significantly less reliable, but tend to fail within the warranty period so they can return them for a referb that has at least been fully tested and maybe lasts another year or two.

  • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:44PM (#46030761) Homepage
    I'm just kind of amazed that Seagate is still around. I remember some years back, there was a huge fraud scandal where they were claiming huge volumes of unsold inventory to be sold in order to keep their stock price up. They were storing the drives in 18-wheelers and, at night, they were backing the trucks up against each other so that if an investigator wanted to break in, they had to physically move the truck, giving them time to respond. It was crazy.
  • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:51PM (#46030851)

    This is why you just buy whatever is cheap and rig up a RAID 5. A drive craps out and you throw another one in and keep on going.

    That's exactly what I did...note I did not claim to have lost any data when the drives failed. The point is that when you have a 66% failure rate on brand new drives within a year, you start reconsidering your choice of vendor, no?

  • You are purchasing STORAGE-TIME. Not just storage. Storage that disappears is useless.

    1 terabyte of storage that lasts 2 years is twice as useful as 1 terabyte of storage that lasts 1 year.

    Always buy whatever drive is warranted for 5 years. I pay 50% more for this! It's worth every penny. My terabyte-years are the cheapest.

    I have a 20TB LAN spread out over 3-4 computers (depending on the year). The only major crashes I've had on anything under 5 years old was, ironically, the 2 WD Cavier Green's I accidentally bought (meant to buy black; got a little slaphappy with the shopping cart one afternoon). They both died within 6 months.

    The choice now is: Western Digital Cavier Black. The study posted in this article will not acknowledge this as they bought the cheapest drives possible. It may make business sense with redundancy, but i do not RAID. Too expensive. (Ironic?)

  • Size matters? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tim99 ( 984437 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @08:44PM (#46031351)
    A few years back a rep told me that 2.5" drives were generally more reliable than 3.5" because 2.5" were designed for laptops, were they would be expected to have a hard life, and 3.5" were generally used in desktops where they would be less likely to be knocked and dropped. He said that the smaller drives reliability was was still better even when based on relative capacity (say 2x 500GB 2.5" vs 1x 1000GB). Obviously the cost differential for large amounts of storage is not favourable (except to the rep), but for home use or where reliability is important it might be worth thinking about - YMMV based on how careful you are?
  • by elbonia ( 2452474 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:55PM (#46032571)

    It was MiniScribe, from the court documents: [leagle.com]

    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 totalling $4,000,000. Miniscribe then reversed the purported sales and added the fictitious inventory shipments into the company's inventory records.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie