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What is the lifetime of a typical hard disk? [closed]

What is the lifetime of a typical hard disk? [closed]

What lifetime can be expected of the typical hard disk? Or are there big differences between different types? And does it make a difference if it is used heavily instead of never being connected to system (for example serving as a backup medium)?

Asked by: Guest | Views: 137
Total answers/comments: 2
Guest [Entry]

"What lifetime can be expected of the typical hard disk?

The correct answer to your question of ""What lifetime can be expected of the typical hard disk?"" is ""Not long enough for you to not have a backup of your data from day 1.""

Seriously, most techies since ages immemorial have felt the sudden urge to run out and buy a replacement hard disk within 3 years. There was a really good Google white paper on the lifetime of consumer-level SATA drives, and it was scary to read, to say the least.

Are there big differences between types?

We have had SCSI, SAS, IDE, SATA, etc. Also, now we have Enterprise models, 24/7-capable, etc etc. Usually, enterprise (SCSI, SAS, Enterprise-models) should have a longer lifespan... however there are still some bad eggs that slip through the gates and hurtle towards the abyss of failure.

Does it make a difference if it is used heavily?

A hard drive that is not often used in theory should last longer than a constantly used drive - however don't take that as the gospel truth.

So what are you trying to say here, you wishy-washy guy?

What I am trying to say is, when it comes to data and data storage, it is never too extravagant to assume your drive will fail tomorrow - and plan according to it."
Guest [Entry]

"What we have is only statistical evidence over a relatively short time period (3 to 5 years at most). We can't necessarily infer the life expectancy of current drives from old ones, or of one particular drive from some other one. Some anecdotes :

I have some 20 years old hard drives (40 to 400 MB) that work perfectly fine today.
one of my customers have a RAID array of 4 320 MB drives running 24/24h since 1993 without any failure so far.
on the other hand, 80% of 1996 vintage Micropolis 9GB drives failed in the first year.

However :

drive technology changed very significantly in the past 15 years. I wouldn't bet that current drives come near to older (and simpler) drives from a durability standpoint, though they may fare better on average.
on a large sample, current drives failure rates is about 0.6 to 1% per year for the 5 years that drive makers are interested in. After those five years, there is very little actual data.

About disk usage :

Most of our storage servers fits in the 0.6% range of annual drive failures (data collected upon about 3000 disks).
but one particular heavily used cluster (total 300 disks) is in the 3 to 5% annual disk failure rate (5 to 10 times worse).

What to do?

Use RAID. Do backups. Keep some backups on some other technology (tape, optical). Do more backups. Then some more. Only the paranoids will survive."