BackBlaze Reports

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17 hours ago, SSD said:

But unfortunately we can't arrange such a study.

That is a great idea!


It would be a simple plugin to gather, anonymize, and ship the data. I already have a system which tracks millions of drives, so a baby clone of that could be used. It could be frontended with a page showing population statistics.


I wonder how many would opt-in to share drive information from unRAID servers?

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22 hours ago, SSD said:

Would you expect enterprise drives to do better? Yes, you might. Desktops worse? Yes, you might.


The important thing here is that if enterprise disks have an annual failure rate of 0.5% and desktop drives an annual failure rate of 3%, it normally still cheaper to buy desktop drives - assuming that the user has a backup strategy that can handle drive failures without data loss.


If we assume that the economical life span is 5 years, then 2,5% of enterprise drives would have failed after 5 years, and 15% of desktop drives (I'm assuming broken drives gets replaced so the formula would be 5*0.03 and not 1-0.97^5). But 15% failure after 5 years still doesn't represent so much money compared to the premium prices of the enterprise drives.


And this is one of the reasons why BackBlaze is fine with desktop drives - their storage model has enough redundancy that they can handle failures and 15% lost drives after 5 years is still much less money than what they would gain from having a 5-year warranty with enterprise disks. The video puts too much focus on the value of a 5 year warranty and that the buyer should base the disk choice on purchase price per warranty-years.


For a user that ignores backup and only trusts in the parity drive, I would definitely recommend high-end drives with less probability of failures. But since even enterprise disks fails sometimes, it really isn't a recommended route go enterprise disks and ignore backup. A user with triple backup needs really huge amounts of bad luck to not be able to recover if a desktop-class drive in the main server happens to fail.

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but I'll be using one X300 desktop drive and one N300 NAS drive

Just got the first two, which will be used as parities, since they are larger than current ones, will need to do a double parity swap, not surprisingly they look exactly the same, except the sticker, they also weigh the same, was hoping for a small difference to confirm they actually have different internals, obviously weighting the same doesn't prove they don't, also my scale resolution is 5g, so there might be a very small difference unmeasurable by me, I guess time will tell if they have better vibration protection, though Toshiba recommends theses disks for 1 to 8 bays and they will be used on a 21 disk server, but if nothing else they will have an extra year of warranty.


On that note some good news, one of two failed 4TB WD is still under warranty, so not a total loss, before checking the serials I was thinking they were both out of warranty since they were some of the first 4TB disks on that server.



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

July 24th, 2018 report:


I just read it hoping to figure out which drives to get for my server, I'd like to change out my 4tb parity drives for 8tb ones.  I realized their drives are all 7200rpm, I'd still consider slower rpm drives for low heat and noise.


The data suggests Seagate ST8000DM002 ($350, looks like they are phasing out) and ST8000NM0055 ($260) drives have low fail rates.  The 0055 drive has low Newegg reviews (taken with a grain of salt) and Amazon reviews seem to indicate they are OEM and could be return/recertified drives.  And the last 4 Seagates that I have bought have all died within a year, so I'm carrying a bit of a chip on my shoulder about them.


The HGST HUH728080ALE600 ($280) is another contender in the 7200rpm class with better reviews and a few DOA duds noted.


Anyone have input on other drives to consider which might be slower, like NAS, Purple, or the like?

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57 minutes ago, Homerr said:

I'd still consider slower rpm drives for low heat and noise.

Remember that helium drives draws much less energy (so less heat) than older technologies. So you can have 7200 rpm helium drives produce less heat than some 5400 rpm drives. And there isn't a clear rule about amount of noise between 5400 rpm and 7200 rpm drives.

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6 hours ago, Homerr said:

Anyone have input on other drives to consider which might be slower, like NAS, Purple, or the like?


I know that Backblaze drive reports do not often look favorably on the WD Red NAS drives, but, I use them almost exclusively (as do some others in these forums) for data drives and I use 7200 RPM HGST drives for parity.  I have never had one WD Red fail.  My 3TB Reds in the backup server have been in service since early 2012. 


Now, I only buy 8TB (or larger in the future) WD Reds.  These are helium-filled drives.  I just bought another a couple of weeks ago, but, I have three 8TB Reds that have been in service for about 18 months with no issues whatsoever.  This is not a long time, but, the results are good so far.


As you have noted, I have seen more reports in these forums of Seagate drive failures than any other brand, yet, Backblaze rates them highly.  They don't like the WD Reds, yet my experience is the opposite again.  Go figure!  Of course, they are dealing with a much, much larger sample size.

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14 hours ago, Hoopster said:

As you have noted, I have seen more reports in these forums of Seagate drive failures than any other brand, yet, Backblaze rates them highly. 

Backblaze also see failed Seagate drives. But they note that they buy the Seagate drives cheaper than WD Red drives. And since their infrastructure can handle broken disks, it's more profitable with the Seagate disks. If 5 disks in 100 fails, that still only represents 5% of the purchase cost - and if they buy the drives 15% cheaper than WD Red and the WD drives maybe have 3 disks in 100 fail then it's clearly an advantage to select Seagate drives.


For normal home users, it doesn't work well to consider amortized costs like that - we don't have the same routines to maintain redundancy even with multiple broken disks. And we don't have the same routines to restore data to new disks. And we have so few disks, that a single broken disk will represent a significant percentage of the total purchase price of the storage server disks.

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29 minutes ago, Homerr said:

Hoopster, are you using Red or Red Pro?

WD Red (not the Pro model)


Many of us buy the 8TB drives from Best Buy (4TB are also available) in the Easystore enclosures and then remove them from the enclosures to put in the array.  This is a very easy process. 


Lately, white label WD EMAZ drives have been showing up in the Easystore, but, these are still helium-filled WD Red drives mechanically.  WD is just labeling the drives differently for the external enclosures.


Buying the drive in the enclosures saves a lot of money.  Best Buy regularly has the 8TB Easystore on sale for between $150 - $200.  I have paid $180, $160, or $128 for the ones I purchased depending on the sale price at the time (the last had an additional %15 off from an eBay coupon).


There are certainly many other good drives available from the main manufacturers.  I just personally prefer WD Red and HGST NAS drives in my systems.

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I went with 2x HGST Ultrastar He8 HUH728080ALE604, 7200rpm heluim filled drives, $219 each.  I looked at the shucking Easystore drives and will probably do that for basic storage drives as I replace 1, 2, 3, 4tb drives and as sales present themselves.  I wanted 7200rpm for parity drives and the WD Red Pro drives were around $50 more each.  Backblaze has decent reliability ratings of similar HGST drives (although I know specific models can have issues).  It seemed like a good compromise for what I wanted.



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  • 4 months later...
  • 4 years later...

Quoting ArsTechina article at this link use of SMR technology,their existing WD Red branding.



"The company is taking a new branding initiative to clarify the technology used in its NAS drives—in the near future, "WD Red" will exclusively mean disks using Shingled Magnetic Recording technology, and "WD Red Plus" will mean disks using Conventional Magnetic Recording."



"From Red to Red Plus


The use of SMR technology in Western Digital Red is not going away—but moving forward, "Red" will exclusively mean SMR disks. The existing SMR models—WD 20/30/40/60 EFAX—will retain their existing model numbers and will retain their existing WD Red branding. Meanwhile, the CMR disks formerly known as WD Red—in sizes from 1TB to 14TB—get a new "WD Red Plus" branding and label, although their model numbers also remain the same."


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16 minutes ago, Vetteman said:

I said ALL WD Red drives were SMR except for WD Red Plus and WD Red Pro are CMR.

Is this not correct?

No, it's not correct, though it may be for the current lineup, but there are many CMR WD Red models, in fact, originally they were all CMR, then WD decided to have some SMR modes and due to all the backlash, they introduced the Plus line to distinguished them after that.



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But that would be relevant for old stock or used WD Red hard drives. I suspect many are more interested in the current production line up.


if I'm purchasing a new car I am only interested in what the current Chevrolet or Toyota lineup is not the lineup from 5 or 10 years ago.


It seems to me you are convoluting the issue.

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6 hours ago, JorgeB said:

You didn't mention you were purchasing new, also there may still be some new red cmr drives, it's been a while since I checked. 

 You did not mention the article I posted is close to 4 years old - June 2020...So I hardly think there would be any 4 year old WDs in stock at Best Buy, Newegg, etc being sold as new. Maybe on eBay being sold as used.


You seem to believe this rebranding of WD Red drives is a recent occurrence. It is not. It happened in 2020.


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I have no problem agreeing that generally, new RED drives being offered now are SMR, that was not the original question, at least not as I understood it, I though you were asking about RED drives in general, and to your point, took me two minutes to find a couple of examples of new CMR RED drives still being offered for sale: 6TB, 8TB and 10TB




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And if you did your homework  you would find the Amazon WD 10 TB is from 2017. Hardly a new model. I would never purchase a 2017 Ford Mustang or 2017 Toyota Camry as a new 2023 car, regardless of the mileage.


Screen capture is from this link   -


Not sure why are so adamant suggesting WD is still manufacturing WD drives as CMR! This is simply NOT true.


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