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Hard drive failures analyzed

Posted on Saturday, February 24 2007 @ 03:45:37 CET by


Bianca Schroeder of CMU's Parallel Data Lab published a paper about HDD failures in the real world. For her research she looked at 100,000 drives.

Some of the things she founds:
  • Almost no difference in replacement rates between SCSI, FC and SATA HDDs.
  • Failure rate is not constant with age. Rather than a significant infant mortality effect, we see a significant early onset of wear-out degradation.
  • Vendor MTBF reliability figures are mostly wrong. While the datasheet AFRs are between 0.58% and 0.88%, the observed ARRs range from 0.5% to as high as 13.5%. That is, the observed ARRs by dataset and type, are by up to a factor of 15 higher than datasheet AFRs. Most commonly, the observed ARR values are in the 3%range.
  • Drives with a 1 million hour MTBF last only about 300,000 hours in reality, which is still plenty.
  • HDD replacement rates don't enter steady state after the first year o f operation. They seem to steadily increase over time.
  • One array drive failure means a much higher likelihood of another drive failure. The longer since the last failure, the longer to the next failure.



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