Backup and cloud storage company Backblaze has released data comparing the long-term reliability of solid-state drives and traditional spinning hard drives in its data center. Based on data collected since the company started using SSDs as bootable drives in late 2018, Backblaze cloud storage evangelist Andy Klein released a report yesterday showing that the company’s SSDs fail significantly less than its hard drives as drives age. ArsTechnica: Backblaze has been publishing disk failure statistics (and related comments) for years; Hard Drive Reports tracks the behavior of tens of thousands of storage and boot drives from most major manufacturers. The reports are comprehensive enough that we can draw at least some conclusions about which companies make the most (and least) reliable drives. The sample size for this SSD data is much smaller, both in number and variety of drives tested – mostly 2.5″ drives from Crucial, Seagate and Dell, with a small representation of Western Digital/SanDisk and no data from Samsung drives at all . This makes the data less useful for comparing relative reliability between companies, but it can still be useful for comparing the overall reliability of hard drives with that of SSDs doing the same job.

Backblaze uses solid-state drives as boot drives for its servers, not data storage, and its data compares those drives to hard drives that were also used as boot drives. The company claims that these drives handle the storage of logs, temporary files, SMART statistics and other data in addition to loading – they don’t write terabytes of data every day, but they don’t just sit and do nothing when the server shuts down and is also loaded. In the first four years of operation, SSDs fail less frequently than hard drives in general, but the curve looks basically the same – a few failures in year one, a spike in year two, a slight dip in year three, and another increase in year four. But once you hit year five, the hard drive failure rate starts to rise rapidly, from 1.83 percent failures in year four to 3.55 percent in year five. Backblaze SSDs, on the other hand, continued to fail at about the same 1 percent rate as last year.

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