Massive 8TB+ hard drives are just as reliable as smaller drives, BackBlaze data shows

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You know that feeling you get when a hard drive fails, taking your data down with it? The resulting gut punch is directly proportional to how many files you end up losing, and the bigger the drive, the greater potential for devastation. The good news is, larger capacity drives don't appear to be any less reliable than smaller HDDs, even though there are typically more platters and moving parts inside.

That's according to the latest HDD reliability report from Backblaze, a cloud backup firm that frequently publishes detailed stats on its arsenal of drives. The latest report reflects results for the first quarter of 2018. Here's a look:

Data and chart from Backblaze. Click for original.

The above chart doesn't include drives that Backblaze used for testing purposes or ones that were employed for less than 45 days. That left the company with a little over 98,000 drives in all, ranging in size from 3TB all the way up to 12TB.

As we've seen in Backblaze's previous reports, the larger capacity models are able to hold their own, in terms of reliability. For example, Seagate's 12TB drive had an annualized failure rate of less than 1 percent, while none of the 10TB drives have failed yet.

The results aren't changed much when looking slightly longer term, though Backblaze hasn't been using higher capacity HDDs for a super long time.

"The failure rates of all of the larger drives (8TB, 10TB, and 12TB) are very good, 1.2 percent AFR (Annualized Failure Rate) or less. Many of these drives were deployed in the last year, so there is some volatility in the data, but you can use the Confidence Interval to get a sense of the failure percentage range," Backblaze said.

It's still early, but so far things continue to look good for higher capacity drives. That's not to say you should stuff all of your important data on a single drive and call it a day. Whether using a larger capacity drive or several smaller ones, having backups is still a good practice, and multiple backups for the really important data.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).