Backblaze on cheap hard drives: Buy Hitachi if you can afford ’em

A couple months ago, cloud backup provider Backblaze wrote a blog post detailing the reliability of the consumer hard drives it uses to underpin its service. It turns out they’re seemingly as reliable as enterprise-grade hard drives for Backblaze’s purposes, with most of the 25,000 it had purchased still running and storing about 75 petabytes of data. Now, Backblaze is breaking those drives down by brand.

On Tuesday, the company published a new blog post detailing which models of hard drives last the longest and deliver the most bang for the buck. You’ll want to read the whole thing for all the details, but the gist is this: Hitachi drives last the longest (“If the price were right, we would be buying nothing but Hitachi drives,” CEO Gleb Budman wrote), but Seagate is currently delivering the best performance for the price.

This chart shows just how well the Hitachi drives perform.


As does this one, but it focuses on maintenance time rather than sheer survival rate.


Right now, though, the company is primarily buying 4-terabyte Seagate Desktop HDD.15 drives, Budman explains. It also really like the Western Digital 3TB Red, although Seagate and Western Digital also make the only two drives the company absolutely will not purchase again. The post also notes the hopefully positive ramifications — on both companies — of Western Digital buying Hitachi in 2012.

Tuesday’s blog post is just the latest in series of posts by Backblaze breaking down what’s running its cloud back up service, starting with the release of its open source designs in 2009. If you’re unfamiliar, Google “backblaze storage pod” or search “backblaze” on our site (there, I did it for you) to get the whole story on its open source storage pods. Or, just listen to our podcast with Budman from October, which also includes a fun CIA story.

[soundcloud url=”″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]