Hard Drives Fail - Here Are 5 Stats that Prove Why You Need Backup!

Posted by Mary McCoy on Aug 13, 2015 6:00:00 AM


"Failure is not an option." - Apollo 13

When the livelihood of your business depends on the profitability of your clients' businesses, you can't afford to leave anything to chance. Sadly, you're gambling with the integrity of their data if you think hard drive storage is sufficient for web hosting. Hard drives fail. It's inevitable. 

Cloud backup provider Backblaze recently compared hard drive failure for the January-June 2015 period against their data for 2014, across various models and sizes. While their research findings help hosting providers determine which hard drives are most likely to endure over time, they also serve to remind us that while choosing the right hardware may lessen the pain, you always need backups in place to prevent data loss. 

Just how reliable are hard drives?

For their tests, Backblaze categorizes a failed hard drive as one that will not spin up or connect to the OS or will not sync or stay synced in a RAID array. How often did their hardware fail? See the graph below. 


image source: https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-stats-for-q2-2015/

This year has seen increased hard drive failure from a variety of different models ranging in size from 1.5TB to 8.0TB. We'll examine each size more closely and share failure rates. 

1.5TB and 2TB Drive Stats

Best choice: HGST (model HDS722020ALA330)

If you're using the Seagate model, you may want to explore other options. After running for an average of five years, Backblaze has decided to pull the plug on these drives. 

  • Seagate 1.5TB - current annual failure rate over 10%

What then might you switch to? The cloud backup provider has been satisfied with the HGST HDS722020ALA330 model, which has been running for over four years. 

  • HGST 2.0TB - cumulative failure rate of 1.9%

3TB Drive Stats

Best choice: HGST (model HDS723030ALA640)

Seagate also hasn't held up well for this size hard drive, and Backblaze suggests switching to the cost-efficient HGST, preferably model HDS723030ALA640.

  • HGST 3TB - current failure rate of 1.83%

4 TB Drive Stats

Best choice: Either Seagate or HGST

If you're using either a Seagate or HGST 4TB drive, you're in pretty good shape. According to Backblaze's findings, like a fine wine, these drives tend to age well after a year of running. Deciding between the two is a matter of price.

  • Seagate 4TB - $131.58 each on Amazon, current cumulative failure rate of 3%
  • HGST 4TB - $174.99 each, current cumulative failure rate of 1.18%

What about Toshiba and Western Digital? Although Backblaze included them in their study, the results were inconclusive due to a low sample size. 

What about 6 TB and 8TB Drives?

With less than a full year of service, the volatility in the 6TB numbers indicate that the hard drives need to be tested longer. Similarly, the company needs to extend the testing period and sample size for 8TB drives in order to provide any real recommendations. 

...But Hard Drives Still Fail!

While some sizes and models fail less than others, the point is that they still fail period! You can't solely rely on your hard drive to keep you covered like a business-grade backup solution. If your hard drive fails and you haven't backed up your clients' website data that's stored on it, those customers will suffer. Business continuity is the number one defense against downtime and data loss. Those of you who recognize this have packaged this service into your hosting offering. If you're still struggling to sell backup, use these stats around hardware failure to substantiate your claim that clients need your backup solution as a fail-safe! Then, back up (heh) this promise with a platform that can deliver premium data security - one with fast block-level backups and Continuous Data Protection (CDP) technology. 

Looking to learn more about how you can maximize your ROI with the right backup solution? Attend our webinar, What Does Your Backup Service Look Like?!  

Register for the webinar! | August 25, 2015 11 AM - 12 PM EST

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Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is Continuum’s resident Inbound Marketing Specialist and social media enthusiast. She recently graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.

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Topics: Backups, Webhosting, hosting industry

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