Consumer hard drives fail to fail more often than enterprise-level hardware, despite the price difference.
According to data from Backblaze, an online storage company that uses a combination of both types of hard drives.
Last month, the company revealed the average lifespan of a hard drive , asking questions from many, including readers of PC Pro , on the existence of differences in reliability between brands or between business and consumer units.
Backblaze runs most of its storage on consumer drives, but also has a selection of enterprise-class systems from Dell and EMC.
It seems that the failure rate of the consumer unit increases after three years, but the first three years are quite good.
«We also ran a Backblaze storage module, full of enterprise drives that store user-supported files as an experiment to see how they do it. So far, their failure rate has been statistically consistent with units in commercial storage systems, ”said engineer Brian Beach in a blog post .
For four years, Backblaze has tracked 14,719 years of units, which is the number of units it has, multiplied by their lifespan (for consumer-level hardware), finding 613 failures, which represents a failure rate of 4 ,2%.
For enterprise-level units, Backblaze recorded 368 years of units, with 17 failures, a failure rate of 4.6%.
However, he admits that the data only cover the first two years of operation, as the company used only business units during this period.
«It seems that the failure rate of the consumer unit increases after three years, but the first three years are quite good,» he says. «We do not have data on business units older than two years, so we do not know if they will have an increase in the failure rate. The reliability of the business units may start after two years, but since I haven’t seen any reliability in the first two years, I’m skeptical. «
He also mentioned that the use of the units by the company is different because the business units are used more than the consumers. However, he noted that the business units are «protected in well-ventilated rooms with low vibration».
Is it worth the cost?
So is it worth the added cost of business units? «From a perspective of pure reliability, the data we have states that the answer is clear: no.»
However, Beach pointed out one reason why a company might choose business-class units.
«Business units have an advantage: longer warranties. This is an advantage only if the higher price you pay for the longest warranty is less than what you expect to spend to replace the unit. «
«This leads to an obvious conclusion: if you are happy to buy the parts yourself after the warranty expires, buy the cheapest consumer units.»