Backblaze publishes average hard drive failure rates for 2021

Over the last few months and years, Backblaze has been publishing different statistics reports and information based on their data center hard drives to give us a little perspective on the endurance of different devices and storage models, and how could it be otherwise, its latest report updates the data for 2021.


The statistical study is carried out based on the error rate of its own infrastructure, with currently more than 200,000 hard drives in operation that work under optimal stress conditions (practically 24/7 throughout the year), adding billions of hours of individual activity.


For this reason, it is a good barometer to verify reliability, although it should be noted that the failure rate recorded in its reports not only includes a direct failure of the units, but also adds up sync failures to RAID arrays or operating values ??above a smart statistics system that uses.


Thus, as the company has shared, its study has focused on units of various capacities and ages from Seagate, Toshiba, HGST and WDC, monitoring the annualized failure rate of each model. The latest report shows that the AFR for all units in operation increased to 1.01% in 2021 from 0.93% in 2020, although they remain significantly below the 1.83% reported in 2019.

Newer, higher capacity drives are largely responsible for this figure, accounting for 69% of total active drives, but only 57% of drive failures.

The most reliable drive operated by Backblaze remains the 6TB Seagate ST6000DX000 with an AFR of just 0.11% at average ages of 80.4 months. While in counterpart, curiously from the same company, we find that the least reliable unit is the 14TB Seagate ST14000NM0138, which rises to an AFR of 4.66% in the fourth quarter of 2021 , improving notably compared to the 6.29% marked in the third quarter of 2021.

While these statistics cannot be used to reliably judge the quality of a particular manufacturer’s drives, they do serve as a good reference for general trends in hard drive reliability. .