The hard drive failure rates from Backblaze for the year 2021 have now been published. The figures paint a fairly clear picture of the most and least reliable HDDs on the market, and as usual, these are directly related to the vendor. Western Digital’s high-capacity HDDs were the most reliable, with its 14 TB and 16 TB drives experiencing a failure rate of just 0.43% and 0.14%, respectively. To top it off, Backblaze had a ton of these, with the former coming up to 8,408 units, and the latter adding up to a relatively milder 1,767 drives.
Seagate’s 16 TB offering performed horribly, with 49 drive failures out of a total of 10,861 drives over an average span of 7.74 months. That results in an annualized failure rate (AFR) of 1.11%, considerably worse than WD’s 0.14% (just a single failure) over a period of five months. Seagate’s reliability at lower capacities was even worse. The Seagate ST14000NM0138 14 TB drive had the highest failure rate, with an AFR of 4.79%. Backblaze got a total of 245 drive failures for this SKU over a period of 12 months, from a total drive count of 1,611 units.
In the 4-12 TB segments, HGST (part of Western Digital) drives held up their reputation with a failure rate of under 0.5% for the 12 TB variants. Backblaze employed a total of 26,000 (approx) HGST HDDs in 2021, getting just 85 failed drives. In comparison, Seagate’s most popular 12 TB SKU with 20,000 units reported 218 failed drives.
Last but not the least, Toshiba had a decent year as well. Its 16 TB HDDs managed to keep their annualized failure rates under 1%, with a total of 8,000 drives employed through the year. The 14 TB SKU performed similarly, with 245 failed drives out of a total of 38,214 drives installed. That builds up to a failure rate of 0.77%, once again, much better than Seagate and roughly on par with WD.