New data tracks failure rates of 13 SSD models, going back as far as 4 years

Backblaze, a San Mateo, California-based cloud storage and backup company, shared data on Thursday that gives us unique insight into SSD reliability for up to four years of use. Looking at the 2,906 SSDs in its possession, the company tracked the failure rates of most consumer-grade SSDs, which it began using as boot drives in early Q4 2018.

Backblaze has long shared data on hard disk drive (HDD) reliability, but this latest report provides a new perspective on HDD’s faster and more expensive cousins. As detailed in the Backblaze blog post, the company uses SSDs to boot storage servers, as well as to read, write, and delete logs and temporary files created by those storage servers. Backblaze said that all of the SSDs tested have “similar” workloads.

Before we get into Backblaze’s first table, which shows Annualized Failure Rates (AFRs) for 13 different SSD models, it’s important to note the limited sample size of 2,906 drives and the different number of drives for each model. Some units have seen much more active usage than others, with active days ranging from 104 days to 724,240. So while these aren’t apples-to-apples comparisons of SSD models, the table does provide an overview of the reliability of SSDs that the average person can’t replicate on their own.

The Backblaze blog provides several tables representing SSD failure rates, but this one looks at AFRs for as long as Backblaze has used SSDs. The company started using SSDs in 2018, but added most of the drives in the table below in the last three years.

The highest AFR (7.31 percent) comes from a 2TB Seagate drive, but that drive has only been in action for 4,996 days. Looking at drives with at least 100,000 active days, the highest AFR comes from the single Crucial drive. But then again, all of these drives have different drive counts and days of use.

The Backblaze blog also highlighted the large confidence intervals in the table caused by the limited drive days for those SSDs.

“As we accumulate more data, those confidence intervals should become more precise,” the blog said.

Backblaze said he prefers to test models with a confidence interval of 1 percent or less, which leaves us with two consumer Seagate drives, the ZA250CM10003 with an AFR of 0.66 percent and the ZA250CM10002 with an AFR of 0.96. percent. The data for the Dell unit (no failures) also meets Backblaze’s confidence interval standards, but the company says this is one of the few enterprise units in its data set and therefore difficult to obtain for the consumers. Dell’s Boot Optimized Storage VD solution is an M.2 drive mounted on a PCIe card for server deployments.

As you can see above, the drive with the highest AFR in 2022 was Seagate’s 250GB ZA250CM10002 at 1.98 percent. The SSD model had one of the highest number of days of use and, with 554 total drives, it is the second most abundant SSD in Backblaze’s inventory.

Seven SSDs in the table above had no failures in 2022. Backblaze noted, however, that six of them only had 10,000 drive days, so “there is not enough data to make a reliable projection on the failure rates of those models.” Of units”.

Other than Dell, which consumers would be hard-pressed to find, the data for Seagate BarraCuda 120 SSD ZA250CM10003 and BarraCuda SSD ZA250CM10002 and Crucial’s CT250MX500SSD1 are the most useful, having at least 100,000 active days. Among those drives, the Seagate ZA250CM10003 had the lowest AFR, 0.73 percent.

Going one step further, Backblaze also shared 2020, 2021, and 2022 data for its SSDs, including four models Backblaze added last year.

You may notice a high AFR from the 250GB Crucial CT250MX500SSD1, but keep in mind that Backblaze only added the drive in 2021 and it “has bounced back nicely in 2022 after having a couple of early failures in 2021,” according to Backblaze, which expects that trend continue. Early failures of Crucial SSDs match the bathtub curve, which expects device failures to occur early in the release cycle before falling at a steady rate and then increasing as the product ages.

Backblaze also highlighted different AFRs from the Seagate ZA250CM10003 250GB and Seagate ZA250CM10002 250GB.

“The Seagate drive (model: ZA250CM10003) has provided less than 1% AFR for all three years. While the AFR for the Seagate drive (model: ZA250CM10002) has dropped in 2022 to nearly 2%. The ZA250CM10003 is the model the newer of the two by about a year.Otherwise there is little difference except that the ZA250CM10003 uses less idle power, 116mW versus 185mW for the ZA250CM10002.It will be interesting to see how the younger model fares over the next year “said the blog.

Backblaze has previously demonstrated the reliability of SSDs over HDDs over a five-year period, but this recent data gives us a model-by-model breakdown of the AFRs of SSDs in its arsenal over a slightly longer period of time. The longer Backblaze has these SSDs and tests them, the more information it can provide about the reliability of the SSDs.

Backblaze’s full data set is available on their hard drive test data page.

Tech – Ars Technica

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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