Best hard drives in the world

Cloud storage and data backup company Backblaze has published its latest Drive Stats report, revealing which of the hard drives used across its four data centres were the most reliable in the second quarter of 2021.

At the end of June 2021, Backblaze was monitoring 178,166 hard drives in its data centres.

To evaluate the reliability of the drives, Backblaze removed from consideration 231 drives used for either testing purposes or as drive models for which it did not have at least 60 drives.

This left it with 177,935 hard drives for the Q2 2021 quarterly report, including models from HGST, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital, ranging in capacities from 4TB to 16TB.

Backblaze measured reliability using an annualised failure rate (AFR) for each drive, calculated using the number of drive failures relative to the number of active drive days for each disk.

Notably, three drive models recorded zero failures during the quarter:

  • 6TB Seagate drive — ST6000DX000
  • 12TB HGST drive — HUH721212ALE600
  • 16TB Western Digital drive — WUH721816ALE6L0

Backblaze stated that the 6TB Seagate drives were ageing quite well, with the average age of these drives being over six years (74 months) and with only one failure in the past year.

“The low number of drives and drive days means there is some variability in the failure rate, but the lifetime failure rate of 0.92% is solid,” it stated.

The company uses 12TB HGST drives in Dell storage servers in its Amsterdam data centre.

“After recording a quarterly high of five failures last quarter, they are back on track with zero failures this quarter and a lifetime failure rate of 0.41%,” Backblaze said.

While the 624 16TB Western Digital drives have only been installed for three months, Backblaze said these drives were off to a good start.

The two drive models with the worst AFRs were the 4TB Toshiba drive and 14TB Seagate drive, with respective failure rates of 4.07% and 5.55%.

For the Toshiba drive, however, Backblaze pointed out this was due to a single drive failure.

“Drive models with low drive days in a given period are subject to wide swings in the AFR. In this case, one less failure during the quarter would result in an AFR of 0%, and one more failure would result in an AFR of over 8.1%,” Backblaze explained.

Backblaze said it was working with Dell to determine the cause of the elevated failure rate of the Seagate 14TB drives installed in Dell’s storage servers about six months ago.

The most reliable hard drives during Q2 2021 are listed in the table below.

Model Drives Drive Days Failures Failure Rate
4TB Hard Drives
HGST HMS5C4040BLE640 12,610 1,158,839 14 0.44%
HGST HMS5C4040ALE640 3,209 291,656 5 0.63%
Seagate ST4000DM000 18,795 1,714,240 91 1.94%
Toshiba MD04ABA400V 98 8,974 1 4.07%
6TB Hard Drives
Seagate ST6000DX000 886 80,626 0 0.00%
8TB Hard Drives
HGST HUH728080ALE600 1,077 98,004 1 0.37%
Seagate ST8000NM0055 14,404 1,310,887 45 1.25%
Seagate ST8000DM002 9,733 885,873 33 1.36%
10TB Hard Drives
Seagate ST10000NM0086 1,199 109,134 3 1.00%
12TB Hard Drives
HGST HUH721212ALE600 2,600 234,416 0 0.00%
HGST HUH721212ALE604 10,754 789,373 3 0.14%
Seagate ST12000NM001G 10,557 894,875 10 0.41%
HGST HUH721212ALN604 10,831 985,447 14 0.52%
Seagate ST12000NM0008 19,970 1,847,092 46 0.91%
Seagate ST12000NM0007 3,552 726,571 41 2.06%
14TB Hard Drives
WDC WUH721414ALE6L4 8,400 751,725 10 0.49%
Toshiba MG07ACA14TA 31,913 2,740,341 55 0.73%
Seagate ST14000NM001G 8,359 601,727 26 1.58%
Toshiba MG07ACA14TEY 424 37,856 2 1.93%
Seagate ST14000NM0138 1,653 151,236 23 5.55%
16TB Hard Drives
WDC WUH721816ALE6LO 624 47,963 0 0.00%
Toshiba MG08ACA16TEY 1,430 103,324 1 0.35%
Seagate ST16000NM001G 4,857 314,266 15 1.74%

Lifetime failure rates

The table below shows the reliability of Backblaze’s hard drive models in service as of 30 June 2021.

The reporting period is from 1 April 2013 through 30 June 2021.

Model Drives Annualized Failure Rate
4TB Hard Drives
HGST HMS5C4040BLE640 12,610 0.41%
HGST HMS5C4040ALE640 3,209 0.50%
Toshiba MD04ABA400V 98 0.76%
Seagate ST4000DM000 18,795 2.47%
6TB Hard Drives
Seagate ST6000DX000 886 0.92%
8TB Hard Drives
HGST HUH728080ALE600 1,077 0.60%
Seagate ST8000DM002 9,733 1.06%
Seagate ST8000NM0055 14,404 1.21%
10TB Hard Drives
Seagate ST10000NM0086 1,199 1.10%
12TB Hard Drives
HGST HUH721212ALE600 2,600 0.41%
HGST HUH721212ALN604 10,831 0.45%
HGST HUH721212ALE604 10,754 0.45%
Seagate ST12000NM001G 10,557 0.67%
Seagate ST12000NM0008 19,970 0.98%
Seagate ST12000NM0007 3,552 1.97%
14TB Hard Drives
Seagate ST14000NM0138 1,653 4.12%
Toshiba MG07ACA14TEY 424 1.47%
WDC WUH721414ALE6L4 8,400 0.47%
Toshiba MG07ACA14TA 31,913 0.78%
Seagate ST14000NM001G 8,359 1.19%
16TB Hard Drives
WDC WUH721816ALE6LO 624 0.00%
Toshiba MG08ACA16TEY 1,430 0.16%
Seagate ST16000NM001G 4,857 1.58%

Now read: Western Digital MyBook network drives hacked, wiped over the Internet

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