Thanks to the folks over at ExtremeTech for alerting us to the research of Cloud Backup vendor Backblaze. According to Backblaze, hard drive failure rates for disks of the same size and age can differ by as much as 20X. Maybe we should spend a little less time figuring out which lens we get next and a little more time figuring out which storage devices we use to save and edit our precious footage.
This one was a bit of a shocker: the Seagate 3.0 TB Barracuda 7200.14 hard drive has an annual failure rate of 15.7%, compared to just .7% for the Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000.
Made me wonder precisely what is in my 3.0 TB, RAID 1 OWC Guardian Maximus (yes, it really is named thusly. Makes me think of a character in Monty Python's LIFE OF BRIAN. Know which one I mean?).
But this really begs the answer to an even more basic question: should we still be using hard drives at all, and if so, when – and through what interface?
After installing Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test a while ago, I was able to quantify what I already knew at a gut level: just how sub-optimal my editing storage workflow was.
That whopping 2 TB backup disk I was so impressed with, according to the Disk Speed Test, could only muster 13.0 MB/s write speed and 31 MB/s read speed.
Maybe USB 2.0 really wasn’t good enough anymore.
But that USB 3.0 1 TB disk I then bought to actually edit my files so that my internal hard drive stayed relatively uncluttered? Yeah, cool: 56.4MB/s write speed and 60.4 MB/s read speed. Four or five times faster, dude — and cheap!
Except Blackmagic confirmed what I once again immediately experienced: it still wasn’t good enough for editing 1080p24 footage.
Next up? That Guardian Maximus, also running through USB3.0: 165 MB/s write, just about the same — 163 MB/s — read speed.
Blackmagic confirmed what I already saw: this works for editing and backup. But Blackmagic was already sending up the warning signs: this wasn’t going to be fast enough for 2K at 10 bit 4:2:2, let alone 4K.
And I wanted even faster.
That’s when I went solid state AND Thunderbolt: 230 MB/s write speed, 353.4 MB/s read speed. And lower failure rates, due to no moving parts.
Yet not really: Blackmagic tells me that while it’s fast enough for 1080p24 even at 10 bit 4:2:2, it won’t handle 1080p 59.94.
And as my project sizes have grown, I really want even faster edit times.
My personal workflow is evolving to RAID 0 SSD via Thunderbolt for editing and exporting final project files, then archiving to RAID 1 HDD via USB 3.0. This way, I don’t have an all SSD cost, but do have the speed when it counts most: while I’m in front of the screen.
What has been your experience with hard drive failure rates, and what works for you?
Why are some hard drives more reliable than others?
First up, let’s run through Backblaze’s new figures, and try to weed out any erroneous or untrustworthy data that shouldn’t be used to draw any hasty conclusions. Backblaze produced its first set of drive reliability figures at the end of 2013, when it had 27,134 hard drives plugged in. This new set of data, produced at the end of June 2014, tracks how those original hard drives are doing (some of which are now four years old), and the reliability of some newer drives (mostly the 4TB Seagate Desktop HDD.15 and HGST Megascale 4000.B.
The gray bars show the annual failure rates at the end of 2013; the colored bars show the updated annual failure rates as of June 2014. “Annual failure rate” is a slightly odd statistic, but it’s a good way of measuring a large number of drives that come from different manufacturing batches, different vendors, and are of a different age (some of the drives are four years old; some are just a few weeks old). In short, the annual failure rate is the percentage chance of a hard drive dying in a given 12-month window.
Continue reading this article at ExtremeTech “Why are some hard drives more reliable than others?”
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(cover photo credit: snap from ExtremeTech)
And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
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