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Backblaze probes increased annualized failure rate for its 240,940 HDDs

Interior of hard disk drive

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Backblaze’s quarterly updates on annualized failure rates (AFRs) for its arsenal of hard disk drives (HDDs) have provided unique insight into long-term storage use for over 10 years. Today, the backup and cloud storage company released Q2 2023 data, which explores an intriguing increase in AFRs.

Today’s blog post details data for 240,940 HDDs that Backblaze uses for data storage around the world. There are 31 different models, and Backblaze’s Andy Klein, who authored the blog, estimated in an email to Ars Technica that 15 percent of the HDDs in the dataset, including some of the 4, 6, and 8TB drives, are consumer-grade. The dataset doesn’t include boot drives, drives in commission for testing purposes, or drive models for which Backblaze didn’t have at least 60 units.

One of the biggest revelations from examining the drives from April 1, 2023, through June 30, 2023, was an increase in AFR from Q1 2023 (1.54 percent) to Q2 2023 (2.28 percent). Backblaze’s Q1 dataset examined 237,278 HDDs across 30 models.

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