Backblaze is back again with a new SSD report for Q2 2022 (opens in new tab), showcasing the lifespan of its SSD boot drives powering its backup servers since 2018. But this time, Backblaze’s new update confirms that SSDs are more reliable than hard drives.
Backblaze began recording SSD lifespans when it started switching from HDD boot drives to SSD boot drives in its backup servers. However, due to the newness of the drives, it has taken five years for the company to really being seeing any noteworthy differences in overall average SSD lifespan behavior compared to its HDD boot drive lifespans with the same age.
2018 all the way to 2021 sees average SSD lifespan records that are nearly identical to hard drive failure rates. Year 1 by far shows us the lowest failure rates of all, with under a 0.66% failure rate for HDDs and no failure rate at all for SSDs. Year two steps things up in an almost perfectly linear fashion, with HDDs and SSDs seeing a roughly 0.85% increase in failure rates.
This linear increase in failures duplicates itself in year 3 and year 4 as well, with both SSDs and HDDs showing similar failure rate curves — though with SSD’s being lower overall. At year 4, HDDs are hovering around the 1.8% mark while SSDs have barely passed the 1% mark. And then things appear to diverge.
The charts start to change drastically in favor of SSDs at year 5. HDD boot drive lifespan results take a drastic uptick in failure rates, jumping from just under 2% to 3.6% within a year. Meanwhile, Backblaze’s SSDs head in the compete opposite direction, declining from 1.05% to an impressive 0.92% average. That translates into a 3x reliability improvement for SSDs over hard drives.
While this isn’t that surprising, given SSDs have no moving parts, it is good to finally have some hard details based on thousands of drives showing that average SSD life expectancy will far outweigh hard drives, especially once storage starts to get old. It’s still possible for other factors like excessive writes or poorly designed firmware and controllers to cause earlier SSD deaths. However, such exceptions only affect a small number of people.
Backblaze concludes its report by stating, “At this point we can reasonably claim that SSDs are more reliable than HDDs, at least when used as boot drives in our environment. This supports the anecdotal stories and educated guesses made by our readers over the past year or so. Well done.” With five years of data, SSDs are doing very well overall. It will be interesting to see what happens as the drives move into the six, seven, and eight years old range.