Study: Hitachi hard drives are the most reliable

Backblaze, a cloud backup service provider, has published a study on consumer hard drive reliability. Hitachi drives are the most reliable, according to statistics, while Seagate drives perform poorly.

The American company Backblaze says it buys hard drives for the consumer market at the best possible price. In addition, the storage company first buys a small amount of disks to test them in a raid setup. If these prove reliable and fast enough, Backblaze buys a larger amount of drives to deploy them in the production environment.

At the end of 2013, Backblaze had 27,134 hard drives from five brands. Samsung and Toshiba were not included in the study, because the number of drives from these brands was too small. However, more than 12,000 drives from both Seagate and Hitachi were included and 2,838 drives from Western Digital.

Backblaze’s statistics show that Hitachi hard drives, in sizes from 2 to 4 TB, are the most reliable over several years: after three years of 24/7 operation, 96.9 percent of Hitachi drives still work. WD scores slightly less with 94.8 percent of the hard drives that are still operational after three years. Seagate scores poorly: Statistics show that after 18 months, the number of failed drives is increasing rapidly. After three years, only 73.5 percent of Seagate drives were still in operation.

Backblaze has also made a list of favorite hard drives: the Hitachi GST Deskstar 5K3000 and the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 are said to be the most reliable with a failure rate of 0.9 percent. The 4TB version in the form of the Deskstar 5K4000 is also said to be more reliable than comparable versions from WD and Seagate. The company is also pleased with the Western Digital 3TB Red. The most unreliable drive, according to Backblaze, is the relatively old 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11. The energy-efficient Western Digital Green 3TB and Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB would also be problem children because they could not withstand vibrations and choose spindowns too quickly in the firmware.