For the longest time, hard disk manufacturers have promised users that their enterprise-level hard disk drives are designed to offer more endurance and are much more reliable as compared to their "regular" consumer-level hard disk drives. How true is that? Well, Brian Beach, an engineer at Backblaze, an online backup service provider, decided to find out.
As Brian documented last month, consumer drives are actually pretty hardy and reliable. In his analysis of over 25,000 consumer drives that his company uses, he found that 78% of the drives were still healthy after four years of heavy usage. This translates to an annual failure rate of 4.2%.
The company does not use as many enterprise drives in their operation and only started using them for the past two years, even so, the numbers of enterprise drives used are close to 200, so the findings should still be meaningful.
Looking at the data, Brian found that in two years, 17 out of 184 drives were replaced, giving us an annual failure rate of 4.6%. So clearly, enterprise drives are not any more reliable than consumer drives.
That said, enterprise drives are not without their merits, and Brian concludes by saying:
From a pure reliability perspective, the data we have says the answer is clear: No.
Enterprise drives do have one advantage: longer warranties. That’s a benefit only if the higher price you pay for the longer warranty is less than what you expect to spend on replacing the drive.
This leads to an obvious conclusion: If you’re OK with buying the replacements yourself after the warranty is up, then buy the cheaper consumer drives.
If you wish to read about the findings in detail, hit the link below.