News Backblaze Data Shows SSDs Failing Almost as Often as Hard Drives

Alvar "Miles" Udell

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And that's why there's something called a "warranty" because anything can break no matter how well built. As they say, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and in electronics, there's a large number of links.
 

Don Frenser

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These are rates. How old are your drives? That's 1% per year. And they tend to get worse as the age, dramatically so for HDDs.

I have 2 HDD die on me in 35 years. I have had 2 SSD drives die on me in 8 years.

Of both I hav 1 from and in the vey first machine I ever bought with said drives.

My VERY first computer runs a piece of machinery that is perfect with that computer and drive.. As I say an old IDE drive I mean an old bigfoot. Still running regularly.
 
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Zerk2012

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Right from the article.

It's not clear what make and model SSDs Backblaze is using. Some may have budget controllers and/or NAND flash, or perhaps other factors are at play

I have 6 SSD's in PC's at my house 1 WD, 2 PNY, 3 Samsung dating back to the 830 series none have failed.
 

USAFRet

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These are rates. How old are your drives? That's 1% per year. And they tend to get worse as the age, dramatically so for HDDs.
Of the dozen or so SSDs in my house, the eldest SSD in circulation is from July 2012.
120GB SanDisk.

1 SSD died, suddenly, unknown reason. 3 years, 33 days old. 33 days past the 3 yr warranty, but SanDisk gave me a new one anyway.
1 HDD, of the more than 15 or so, died. 36 hours from great to dead. 5 weeks old.

Warranty replacement in both cases, backups recovered 100% of the data.
 
I'm curious how the data stacks up by SSD brand. Really in SSD quality in general. Such as the memory controller used or type of memory used.

In general. I'd expect SSD quality and reliability to suffer. As it's gone from a premium product to a commodity priced product. Still I'd expect enterprise units have a lower failure rate than budget units.

Heck HDD failure rates can be misleading too. It's been a while since I looked at Backblaze statistics. But I recall some models being under 1% and others being north of 5%. So, build quality does matter.
 

USAFRet

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Heck HDD failure rates can be misleading too. It's been a while since I looked at Backblaze statistics. But I recall some models being under 1% and others being north of 5%. So, build quality does matter.
There were a couple of outliers in massive fail rates.

IIRC, some 3TB Seagates(?) a couple of years ago.

Most all others, hovering around 1%.

And of course, the BackBlaze use is not normal consumer use.

Still I'd expect enterprise units have a lower failure rate than budget units.
BB mostly uses normal consumer drives.
 

vern72

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My guess to the high failure rates in SSDs are those TLC and QLC memory modules that are in use today. It's so hard finding an MLC (2-bit) drive these days.

I've had only one SSD fail on me only because it was DOA. My oldest SSD that's still around (512GB Samsung 950 Pro) is still kicking (it's in my mom's computer and she definitely would call if it ever failed). A few hard drives have failed but at least there is some warning sign that something is about to go wrong (funny noises/vibrations).
 

spongiemaster

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And still down around the 1% range.

If you and 99 of your friends bought one, a grand total of ONE of you is going to cry.
The average age of their SSD's is only 14 months. No one would expect high failure rates in the first year. The oldest SSD's they have are 33 months. Still pretty young. When comparing to the failure rates of mechanical drives, year 4 is where the failure rates start to take off. From the article:

By the way, we’ll be publishing a post in a couple of weeks on how well drive failure rates fit the bathtub curve; SPOILER ALERT: old drives fail a lot.
Their mechanical boot drives are currently seeing an AFR over 6%.
 

spongiemaster

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BB mostly uses normal consumer drives.
Depends on your definition of consumer. A large percentage of their drives are Seagate Exos and WD Ultrastar Data Center drives which are enterprise targeted, though they are readily available for consumers to purchase from many online retailers. The drives they use have to be rated for 24x7 use and able to function in chassis with dozens of drives which almost no consumer grade SATA drives are rated for.
 

Dr3ams

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Since 1995 I've had at least 7 HDDs bite the bullet, including a couple of external drives. At the rate the industry releases higher capacity SSDs (M.2) and me buying them just as fast, I don't give any SSD enough time to croak on me.
 
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JBJohnson

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Right from the article.

It's not clear what make and model SSDs Backblaze is using. Some may have budget controllers and/or NAND flash, or perhaps other factors are at play

I have 6 SSD's in PC's at my house 1 WD, 2 PNY, 3 Samsung dating back to the 830 series none have failed.
I've had a Patriot and a PNY fail. Never had a Samsung EVO fail, and my oldest Samsung is about 6 years now, I think.

I wonder if the M.2 card drives are more (or less) reliable than a standard SSD from equivalent tech from the same manufacturer? I'd hazard a guess that not being inside a case, they have better heat dissipation and could be more reliable.
 

Zerk2012

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I've had a Patriot and a PNY fail. Never had a Samsung EVO fail, and my oldest Samsung is about 6 years now, I think.

I wonder if the M.2 card drives are more (or less) reliable than a standard SSD from equivalent tech from the same manufacturer? I'd hazard a guess that not being inside a case, they have better heat dissipation and could be more reliable.
I've seen 2 m.2 drives fail one actually melted (Samsung)
 

Chung Leong

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Basically, HDDs don't fail too often when you let them spin continuously in a stable environment. Holy <Mod Edit>, what a revelation!
 
I'm curious how the data stacks up by SSD brand. Really in SSD quality in general. Such as the memory controller used or type of memory used.
Going by brand might not provide a fair comparison, as they may only be buying certain models within each brand's lineup, which might not be indicative of a given lineup as a whole. And even if they listed the drives out by model number, it's been becoming increasingly common for manufacturers to swap out the controller, memory chips or other components without giving a drive a new name.

I wonder if the M.2 card drives are more (or less) reliable than a standard SSD from equivalent tech from the same manufacturer? I'd hazard a guess that not being inside a case, they have better heat dissipation and could be more reliable.
On the other hand, M.2 NVMe drives will generally be transferring data faster, which can result in higher temperatures. And those not fully-covered in heat-sinks may be subject to dust-buildup on their components over time. As far as temperatures go, a lot of that may depend on where the drive is installed in a case too. A SATA SSD wedged behind the motherboard with little to no airflow will experience higher temperatures than the same drive in a standard hard drive rack with air circulating over it, and M.2 drives can also potentially experience differing temperatures depending on whether they are installed in a slot behind a graphics card or out in the open. Of course, one drive operating at a higher temperature is not necessarily indicative of something that would affect durability, as long as the components are not operating near their temperature limits.

We also lack details about what sort of operating conditions these drives are under, and how comparable those conditions might be to a typical desktop system. Both in terms of things like temperatures, as well as what sort of write loads they are undergoing on a daily basis.
 

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