Hard drive durability or longevity

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Hard drive durability or longevity

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 3:27 pm

Hello, I have 3 Western Digital BLACK 1TB hard drives (WD1001FALS) that I bought about 4 years ago. They came with 5 years warranty.
They are also consistently used every day. They never gave any indication that they are going to crash or break.
I was wondering that the amount of warranty that I got with the hard drives gives an indication when the hard drive is going to crash or start to malfunction.
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Re: Hard drive durability or longevity

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 3:56 pm

No.
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Re: Hard drive durability or longevity

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 4:01 pm

Nope.

The closest you get is looking at the MTBF specification for said drive. That will tell you ON AVERAGE how long one of those drives goes without breaking down.
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Re: Hard drive durability or longevity

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 4:08 pm

Keep us posted when one of them does die, would like a heads up on when my own 'Black might float to the top of the tank :0)
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Re: Hard drive durability or longevity

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 4:39 pm

Otty159 wrote:Hello, I have 3 Western Digital BLACK 1TB hard drives (WD1001FALS) that I bought about 4 years ago. They came with 5 years warranty.
They are also consistently used every day. They never gave any indication that they are going to crash or break.
I was wondering that the amount of warranty that I got with the hard drives gives an indication when the hard drive is going to crash or start to malfunction.


If you are running an OS that reads and reports the drive's SMART values, you can get some predictive failure information. Mainly you can find out when error rates are getting too high or the drive is running low on relocation sectors. That said, you can still get failures with zero warning.

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Re: Hard drive durability or longevity

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 5:17 pm

morphine wrote:Nope.

The closest you get is looking at the MTBF specification for said drive. That will tell you ON AVERAGE how long one of those drives goes without breaking down.


MTBF is just as useless as well. Every single MTBF number is given under the condition that the drive is operating under an ideal environment in regards to temp, altitude, balls on never fluctuating power, duty cycle, etc in lab conditions. Just because a series has a high MTBF rating it by no means reflects real world usage where a drive can die at anytime.

Warranty length is just an indicator of how long the bean counters advertise coverage to entice more sales and without it not hurting the bottom line to badly. A manufacturer may see a 30% failure rate well before the advertised warranty period is up. As time goes on, people are less likely to RMA a device even if it is under warranty as by that time there are newer better products to be had for usually less then their original purchase price.
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Re: Hard drive durability or longevity

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 5:30 pm

Don't care much about warranty length or MTBF stats. In my experience the single determinant of drive life is power cycles. Keep the drive spinning 24/7 (I don't let my drives spin down) and you avoid the two crisis points that occur on every power cycle.
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Re: Hard drive durability or longevity

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 5:58 pm

With occasional exceptions (every manufacturer has a bad run of drives now and then, and you will also get the occasional random one-off defective drive), hard drives will generally last until they are obsolete provided they are treated reasonably well. This means no wide variations in temperature/power/humidity, not subjecting them to mechanical shock, and not power cycling them any more than necessary. Using a non-enterprise rated drive in an application where it gets hammered 24x7 is probably not a good idea either.

MTBF numbers are statistical in nature, and generally meaningless for real world usage unless you're running a large data center. E.g., WD claims a MTBF of 1 million hours for the WD Red series. 1,000,000 hours is over 100 years! Nobody is actually expecting their hard drives to last 100 years; but if you've got a few hundred of them spinning in a server farm, then differences in MTBF could make a meaningful difference in how many of them fail over the lifetime of those servers.

Don't buy models with known hardware/firmware issues, don't expose the drives to environmental extremes, use RAID-1 or -6 if availability or uptime is critical (ECC RAM on the server too if data integrity matters), and -- above all -- back up your important data. Everything else is secondary.
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