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Backblaze: Hard drive temps don't affect failure rates

hard disk drive

The storage wizards at Backblaze have been analyzing the statistics on drive failures in their huge storage facilities, then posting the results on their blog. Today's stats are rather interesting, taking a look at how drive temperatures affect failure rates. The bottom line? Contrary to the long-standing belief that hot drives fail sooner, their statistics show that only hot-running drives from one manufacturer seem to have a higher than usual failure rate.

Brian Beach of Backblaze took a look at the data, which comprises results from more than 34,000 drives. Their Backblaze Storage Pods use big fans so that the drives are usually quite cool, but the study showed absolutely no correlation between temperature and failure rates for the entire population of varied drives from a number of manufacturers.

It was when the company started looking at individual drive models that a correlation appeared. Beach notes that the average temperatures for drives used in the Storage Pods run from 21.92°C (71.45°F) for the "green" Seagate Barracuda LP drives to a relatively steamy 30.54°C (86.97°F) for Seagate's Barracuda XT drives.

Digging even further, Backblaze was able to show that only one drive model -- the Seagate ST31500541AS 1.5 TB drive -- shows an increase in failure rate as temperatures rise. The overall result was that "As long as you run drives well within their allowed range of operating temperatures, keeping them cooler doesn't matter."

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