How long do disk drives last?

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How long do disk drives last? The short answer is: we don’t know yet, but it’s longer than you might guess.

Why does a company that keeps more than 25,000 disk drives spinning all the time not know how long they last? Backblaze has been providing reliable and unlimited online backup for over five years. For the past four years, we’ve had enough drives to provide good statistics, but 74% 78% of the drives we buy are living longer than four years. So while 26% 22% of drives fail in their first four years, and we have detailed information about the failure rates of drives in their first four years, we don’t yet know what will happen beyond that. So how long do drives last? Keep reading.

Backblaze uses lots of hard drives for storing data. 45 drives are mounted in each Backblaze Storage Pod, and the Storage Pods are mounted in racks in our data centers. As new customers sign up, we buy more disk drives, test them, and deploy them. We are up to 75 petabytes of cloud storage now.

Before being deployed, each Backblaze Storage Pod is tested, including tests on all of the drives in it. Recently, Andy posted about Poor Stephen, a disk drive that failed this testing. His post describes the process Backblaze uses to set up, load test, and deploy a Storage Pod.

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