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Backblaze uncovers the most reliable hard drives

The best way to find out is to run close over 200,000 hard drives and keep an eye on the reliability.
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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

By far the best way to find out which storage drives are the most reliable is to run a couple of hundred thousand of them and keep an eye on reliability.

This is exactly what backup specialists Backblaze have been doing for the past number of years and generating regular reports. This offers an interesting insight into drive reliability.

Over 2021, Backblaze added 40,460 hard drives to its pool of drives, making a total of 206,928 drives in total. Of thee, 3,760 are boot drives and 203,168 are data drives.

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There's a lot of information in the report to look at, but there are two standout parts from the report:

  • The oldest drive is the most reliable: 6TB Seagate drives (model: ST6000DX000) have an average age of 80.4 months (almost seven years) yet incredibly these also have the lowest annualized failure rate (AFR) of 0.11 percent.
  • Newer drives are also doing really well: 16TB WDC drives (model: WUH721816ALE6L0) and 16TB Toshiba drives (model: MG08ACA16TE) were both added in 2021, and have an AFR of 0.14 and 0.91 percent, respectively.

Backblaze had also been experiencing problems with the 14TB Seagate drives (model: ST14000NM0138) in its Dell storage servers. It seems that following a firmware update the reliability of these drives has improved dramatically.

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