Why Enterprise Hard Drives Might Not Be Worth the Cost

An important consideration for many small to medium businesses is how to store and backup their data. There are basically two choices available; consumer hard drives or enterprise hardware. Generally businesses tend to opt for enterprise hardware as this has been developed with company servers in mind. Although these are generally considered more reliable, new research from online storage firm Backblaze provides some interesting reading.

How Long Do Hard Drives Last

Have you ever wondered how long a hard disk drive will actually last? The data you store as a business is likely to be of the utmost importance and therefore you’re going to want to know your best option to minimise damage if your hard drive was to fail.

This is where Backblaze’s research comes into play. As a company they are responsible for storing 75 petabytes of data across 25,000 disks. To give you an idea of scale, 50 petabytes is equivalent to 997 years of HD video. With this volume of data, you’d expect them to be using some pretty specialist solutions, right? Wrong, they store all that data on consumer-grade hard disks.

They discovered that 78% of their hard drives had survived more than four years, whilst 22% failed in this time. As the table below shows, for the first 18 months failure rate hovers around 5% before rising substantially at the three year mark. This experiment is ongoing and Backblaze hope to be able to track how long each of their drives lasts in total.

How Do Enterprise Drives Compare?

Backblaze also own a number of enterprise drives and have been closely monitoring their performance over the last two years. In doing this, they have been able to establish enterprise drives have a failure rate of 4.6%. Using the same calculations, their consumer-grade hard drives had a failure rate of 4.2%. Therefore it appears that consumer hard drives are more reliable and enterprise drives may not be worth the extra cost.

Considering enterprise drives can generally cost twice as much, their research suggests they may not be worth the extra outlay if you’re going for reliability alone. The one thing to bear in mind is that enterprise-class drives tend to have longer warranties.

Still feeling confused?

Still not sure which will be best for your business? We can help. With years of practical experience, our Microsoft-qualified engineers have the skills and knowledge to help your systems perform at their very best. We always explain things clearly to help you make informed choices – with your best interests in mind. Please call us if you would like more information..