A site of endless curiosity

What you can learn from 100,000 disk drives…

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So, what’s the probability that the 1 Terabyte drive on which you store your digital life will fail… in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years?  What are the factors the decrease the useful life of a disk drive?

If a drive operates in a high temperature environment will that increase the likelihood that the drive will fail?  What about the effect of  Vibration?  Should you leave you drive spinning all the time or shut it down at night?  How does the number of power on/off cycles affect failure rates?  How does a drive fail?

If you had an infrastructure with over 100,000 drives, and you collected self-monitoring signals from each drive, and you analyzed all that data over time, what would you find?

This is exactly what Google did.  What did they find out about failure rates of disk drives?

It is estimated that over 90% of all new information produced in the world is being stored on magnetic media, most of it on hard disk drives. Despite their importance, there is relatively little published work on the failure patterns of disk drives, and the key factors that affect their lifetime. Most available data are either based on extrapolation from accelerated aging experiments or from relatively modest sized field studies. Moreover, larger population studies rarely have the infrastructure in place to collect health signals from components in operation, which is critical information for detailed failure analysis…

We have built an infrastructure that collects vital information about all Google’s systems every few minutes, and a repository that stores these data in timeseries format (essentially forever) for further analysis The information collected includes environmental factors (such as temperatures), activity levels and many of the Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) parameters that are believed to be good indicators of disk drive health. We mine through these data and attempt to find evidence that corroborates or contradicts many of the commonly held beliefs about how various factors can affect disk drive lifetime…

Read the Google study and find out –

Bonus – from a previous posting on this site
The nitty-gritty on hard drives…  “Danger Will Robinson“… This set of videos is for hard core tech folks only…
See the YouTube links in this posting –


Written by frrl

February 2, 2011 at 3:09 am

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