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Exactly one year ago today I published an article titled Selecting a Disk Drive: How Not to Do Research. This article took Backblaze to task for a lack of intellectual rigor in their disk drive studies. Their latest study raised my ire enough to write today’s blog – even though I said I was retired from writing. Let me take you through a few points I made in last year’s article.
Here’s my first point from a year ago:
“Let’s talk about the release data first. The oldest drive in the list is the Seagate Barracuda 1.5 TB drive from 2006. A drive that is almost 8 years old! Since it is well known in study after study that disk drives last about 5 years and no other drive is that old, I find it pretty disingenuous to leave out that information. Add to this that the Seagate 1.5 TB has a well-known problem that Seagate publicly admitted to, and it is no surprise that these old drives are failing.”
Well these drives are still being used and still being reported on by Backblaze. One has to wonder why, if the drives are so bad, they are still being used and reported on year after year.
And another main point from a year ago:
“One of the definitions of consumer drives as compared to enterprise drives is that hard error rate is 1 bit in 10E14 bits for consumer drives and 1 bit in 10E15 bits for enterprise drives. The following table shows how many bits are moved before the storage vendors say there will be an error on the drive. So move about 11.3 TiB of data on a consumer drive and expect a failure.”
With a known lower hard error rate, why would Backblaze use consumer drives for an enterprise application? Maybe they do not think their users’ backup data is that important and believe that all that is needed is consumer drives. Nothing has changed from last year; there is no comparison of consumer and enterprise drives. There seems to be a belief, with no supporting evidence, that enterprise drives are more expensive with no benefit.
The Backblaze approach seems to be that they don’t want real research to get in the way of their opinions. Maybe they should join the Flat Earth Society while they’re at it.
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