How long do disk drives last?

Backblaze is a data backup service that offers an excellent price along with great customer service on data backup services.  They have truly developed their own technology to help protect your data and you need to go over and check out their stories on disk drives and how they make their servers.  Backblaze just released a blog on their study of how long disk drives last at their organization (see the link below).

Interestingly enough, they break down the information and it almost matches what we have seen over several years as far as our servers’ disk drives (we use standard consumer grade drives and build our own servers).   While our servers have ran 7 days a week,  I can’t imagine the use that Backblaze disk drives go through.

While we can’t compare our network or servers to backblaze, here’s a few of our statistics.   Our annual fail rate is around 1% on server drives (Like I said, we can’t possibly move as much data as they do) and at the 4+ year mark, we begin to see close to the same number which is around 10%.   Our numbers are lower because of our type of use.  The school’s disk drives usually have service time of an average of 4-7 years as far as our servers are concerned.   The fail rate at that time isn’t truly known at our school because of upgrades or preventative maintenance upgrades depending on the server’s role.

We also see around two disk drives fail per hundred annually on workstations.   This fail rate usually falls back to around 1% or less  from the second to the  fourth year.    After the fourth year, we generally see an increase in the fifth or sixth year that can appear to become problematic and appear to be an epidemic when we may see 5+%. Oddly enough if the drive makes it beyond the sixth year, the older drives usually will continue to live until these machines are taken out of service.  Remember that workstations are not used the way servers are – generally.     The school has several older computers in shop areas that are on their 8th or 10th anniversary with their original drive.

It is rare for computers to not be replaced on schedule.  Our IT Department usually upgrades or replaces computers every three to four years.   Upgrades and replacements of course depends on technology.   We recycle computers into other departments and save money as much as possible.

Backblaze gives an exceptional example of monitoring and keeping up with their information and infrastructure.

Other articles (SSD Drives)-


Tom’s Hardware

About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
This entry was posted in Apple, Computer hardware, Computers, Information Technology, Linux, Technology, Windows and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s