19 March 2014

Hitachi drives receive vote of confidence

In a January 2014 blog post, cloud-based backup provider Backblaze says Hitachi and Western Digital drives have been the most reliable of the drives it has used so far. 

Brian Beach, Distinguished Engineer, Backblaze, shared that the annual failure rate of a Seagate 1.5TB drive was about 14% for its data centre, against Hitachi's 2TB drives at roughly 1% and Western Digital 1TB drives, which had a failure rate of 3%. The company uses 3TB drives from all three storage manufacturers, and Seagate had the highest failure rate at about 9%, followed by Western Digital at around 3%, and Hitachi at around 1%. In the 4TB space, Hitachi drives performed more reliably than Seagate drives, while Western Digital 4TB drives were not used.

"If the price were right, we would be buying nothing but Hitachi drives. They have been rock solid, and have had a remarkably low failure rate," he said in his post. 

While the choice may be easy to make on the face of these figures, Beach further explains that older drives are generally failing more, and that some of the Seagate drives which failed were replacements provided as part of warranties, and possibly refurbished drives rather than brand-new. 

The comments for the article are a mixed bag, with no clear support for any one brand and notes that batches of a particular model can turn out 'bad'. Still, it is useful to note which models various users have warned against.
However reliable the hard drive, it is always best to back data up somewhere, whether on cloud storage through a service like Backblaze, manually onto Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive, or onto a separate disk.