Recently, storage provider BackBlaze compiled data from April 2013 to March 2022, aggregating four capacities of 4TB, 8TB, 12TB and 14TB, as well as a variety of Hitachi, Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital hard drives, to demonstrate the reliability of these drives by generating Kaplan-Meier curves.
For the 4TB capacity, BackBlaze selected Seagate’s ST4000DM000 and Hitachi’s HMS5C4040BLE640. 18,495 of the former had 4,581 failures, with an annual failure rate of 2.45% and reliability of only about 81% after six years. The latter has a total of 12,728 pieces, with 343 failures, an annual failure rate of 0.40%, and reliability of about 97% after six years.
Seagate’s hard drives will have a significant drop in reliability within 72 months, and the number of Seagate hard drive replacements over the same time is about 4,200 more than Hitachi’s, averaging about 700 per year. But also take into account the cost factor, the focus of the two manufacturers is not the same, Hitachi’s products are more oriented to the enterprise market, the general reliability will be higher, of course, the average price will also be higher.
At 8TB capacity, both drives come from Seagate, the ST8000DM002 and the ST8000NM0055. the difference is that the former is a consumer-grade product and the latter is an enterprise-grade product. Somewhat surprisingly, the consumer-grade product performed better than the enterprise-grade product, with annual failure rates of 1.13 percent and 1.35 percent for both, and reliability of 95 percent and 93.6 percent for the data analysis time period, respectively.
There are three drives on the 12TB capacity, Hitachi’s HUH721212ALN604, and Seagate’s ST12000NM001G and ST12000NM0008, and all of these enterprise drives have a five-year warranty. The annual failure rates for all three were 0.48 percent, 0.63 percent and 1.12 percent, respectively, with reliability above 97 percent over the time period of data analysis. Overall, however, Hitachi drives still outperformed Seagate’s offerings.
The 14TB capacity is also three hard drives, respectively, Toshiba’s MG07ACA14TA, Seagate’s ST14000NM001G, and Western Digital’s WUH721414ALE6L4. corresponding annual failure rates of 0.83%, 1.00% and 0.33%, respectively, due to the relatively short period of use, reliability are relatively good.
It’s worth noting that Toshiba’s hard drives can have a more significant drop in reliability after two years of use.
BackBlaze said that Western Digital is more popular with consumers than Seagate’s hard drives due to reliability issues, in addition to the impact of cost factors.