Behind the Curtain of Backblaze Hard Drive Stats

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Andrew Klein, Backblaze

In this video from the MSST 2017 Mass Storage Conference, Andrew Klein from Backblaze presents: Behind the Curtain of Backblaze Hard Drive Stats.

“For the last four years, Backblaze has collected and reported on the failure rates and SMART stats of the hard drives in use in our data centers. Currently we have over 80,000 drives ranging from 3 to 8TB. Let’s take a look at what we learned over the years about hard drives, including failure rates, by model, and the ability to predict drive failure before it happens.”

In his blog post, Andrew Klein writes that the drives in the Backblaze data center come from four manufacturers, with most of them coming from HGST and Seagate.

“Here’s the hard drive failure rates by manufacturer, we’ve combined all of the drives, regardless of size, for a given manufacturer. The results are divided into one-year periods ending on 3/31 of 2014, 2015, and 2016.”

An important item of note is that the Backblaze storage cloud is unusual in that they do not use enterprise-grade hard drives. Instead, their infrastructure is based on cheap consumer drives that have vastly different MTBF ratings.

As you may recall, not everyone agrees with how Backblaze goes about their research. Back in 2014, Henry Newman (now with Seagate Government Solutions) wrote this editorial on Enterprise Storage Forum, saying the “Backblaze studies lack technical rigor.”

We brought the topic up on Radio Free HPC at that time, and you can listen to Henry’s rant here:

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