When working with video, enormous amounts of data are generated, especially when using uncompressed formats and high resolutions up to 8K. Most of this data is stored on mechanical hard drives - at least in the long term for archiving - so data on their reliability is extremely important. An excellent source for such data is the cloud storage service Backblaze, which publishes failure statistics of its hard disks every year, which allows relatively reliable statements about the failure rate of different models due to the large number of hard disks considered.
Backblaze 2020 analyzed the data of 162,299 hard disks with capacities of 4 to 18 TB from the manufacturers HGST, Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. For each hard disk model, the number of devices in use, how long and how many failures there were are indicated. However, only the models that have been in use for a longer period of time and in larger numbers can provide real information about the failure frequency.
Annual probability of failure 2020
The 6TB Seagate ST6000DX000 with an annualized failure rate (AFR) of 0.23% as well as several models from HGST with 4/8 and 12TB are the front runners in reliability for these hard disks, which isn&t surprising since HGST has always occupied top positions in Blackblaze&s statistics in the past years. The extremely high failure rate of the new 18TB Seagate stands out negatively, which had a failure rate of 12.5% with an average age of just over three months - however, this could simply be a bad batch, since only 60 of them were used.
The data of the Western Digital and Toshiba models, which have only been in use for a short time, hardly allow any statements about the long-term reliability, but no failures in the first two months at least speak for a hopeful start - real statements will be made in the 2021 statistics next year.
The almost halving of the failure probability in 2020 compared to the previous year is striking in the comparison of the years - Backblaze attributes this to the increased reliability of entire model groups of hard disks, which had considerably fewer failures overall - a hopeful development.
The following statistic is also interesting, which shows the annual failure probability of the various hard drive models over their entire lifetime. Here HGST is the clear front-runner with an annual failure probability of models that have been in use for several years with an average AFR of just under 0.5%.
Annual probability of failure over entire lifetime
However, as always, it is important to note the very special use of the hard drives at Backblaze - they are in constant use (unlike most home or office archive drives) due to their use as cloud storage.