Hard disk failure rates and the importance of backups

About hard disks

Anyone who’s been in the IT industry long enough knows hard drive fail.

A typical hard disk drive consists of a motor, spindle, platters, read/write heads, actuator and electronics

It has one or more platters – or disks – and each platter usually has a head on each of its sides.

These are mechanical components rotating at high speeds of 5400 to 15000 rpm, minute after minute, day after day, year after year.

Although generally well made, slight imperfections in the materials or manufacturing mean that over time the platters and other components physically break down.

A google analysis across there huge set of data centre disks show annual disk failure rates of about 2 to 8%. So in any 5 year period the cumulative likelyhood of a disk failure is about 36%.

This is in optimally conditioned data centres. Add to this many office environments with air conditioning that turns off on weekends, dust, undulating power with brown outs or surges and the failure rate heads north of 50% over 5 years.

Therefore having regular and reliable backup systems is critical to avoid loss of your important business data.

We recommend and implement storage craft shadowprotect which provides the ability to automatically upload offsite backup replica’s over the internet, taking away the burden of having to manually swap and take tapes or drives offsite each day.