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Old Feb 19, 2007, 03:02 PM   #1
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caveman-jim
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Hard Drive Google says heat & use not big factor in HDD deaths

The impact of heavy use and high temperatures on hard disk drive failure may be overstated, says a report by three Google engineers.

The report examined 100,000 commercial hard drives, ranging from 80GB to 400GB in capacity, used at Google since 2001.

The firm uses "off-the-shelf" drives to store cached web pages and services.

"Our data indicate a much weaker correlation between utilisation levels and failures than previous work has suggested," the authors noted.

A wide variety of manufacturers and models were included in the report, but a breakdown was not provided.

There is a widely held belief that hard disks which are subject to heavy use are more likely to fail than those used intermittently. It was also thought that hard drives preferred cool temperatures to hotter environments.

The authors wrote: "We expected to notice a very strong and consistent correlation between high utilisation and higher failure rates.

"However our results appear to paint a more complex picture. First, only very young and very old age groups appear to show the expected behaviour."

A hard disk was described as having "failed" if it needed to be replaced.

Hard drives less than three years old and used a lot are less likely to fail than similarly aged hard drives that are used infrequently, according to the report.

The report said that there was a clear trend showing "that lower temperatures are associated with higher failure rates".

But hard drives which are three years old and older were more likely to suffer a failure when used in warmer environments.


Source - BBC News
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 04:37 PM   #2
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so...
for the first 3 years let your hard drive get warm, and make sure you use it a lot. After 3yrs make sure to keep it cool ?
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 05:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leprechaun View Post
so...
for the first 3 years let your hard drive get warm, and make sure you use it a lot. After 3yrs make sure to keep it cool ?
I think the study is more pointing to.. "Its mechanical, and things break randomly".
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 05:21 PM   #4
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How much longer we got to use hard drives anyway? That technology is old and stagnant.

I assume NAND memory will replace HD's before too much longer?

EDIT: Did some research into using flash memory as a HD replacement.

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Flash memory as a replacement for hard drives

An obvious extension of flash memory would be as a replacement for hard disk drives. Flash memory does not have the mechanical limitations and latencies of hard drives, so the idea of a solid state drive, or SSD, is attractive when considering speed, noise, power consumption, and reliability.

There remain some aspects of flash-based SSD's that make the idea unattractive. For example, the cost per storage ratio of flash memory remains significantly higher than that of platter-based hard drives. Although this ratio is decreasing rapidly for flash memory, it will take some time for flash memory to catch up to the capacities and affordabilities offered by platter-based storage, but as research and development shifts toward the newer technology, this issue might dissolve.

There is also some concern that the finite number of erase/write cycles of flash memory would render flash memory unable to support an operating system. This seems to be a decreasing issue as warranties on flash-based SSD's are trending to equal or exceed those of current hard drives. [3] [4]

As of May 24, 2006, South Korean consumer-electronics manufacturer Samsung Electronics had released the first flash-memory based PCs, the Q1-SSD and Q30-SSD, both of which have 32GB SSDs. [5]

At Las Vegas CES 2007 Summit Taiwanese memory company A-DATA showcased SSD hard disk drives based on Flash technology in capacities of 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB.[1]

Rather than entirely replacing the hard drive, hybrid techniques such as Hybrid drive and ReadyBoost attempt to combine the advantages of both technologies, using flash as a high-speed cache for files on the disk that are often referenced, but rarely modified, such as application and operation system executable files.
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Last edited by monkeydust : Feb 19, 2007 at 06:08 PM.
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 05:48 PM   #5
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I read about this elsewhere too, in that article the major issue was that SMART ...didn't do it's job. I'll have to find it.
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 06:26 PM   #6
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I read the fill white paper produced by Google researchers. Although the contents are interesting, the conclusion explains what every system administrator has known for years: hard drives can fail randomly and without warning, regardless of age, environmental factors, or SMART indicators.
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 06:39 PM   #7
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/me pats my 8gb Fujitsu which still runs on my spare machine!

Its true though, techs should know this type of info already but im actually glad that there's a legit and complete report. In my years ive noticed that most of my HD's fail because of power surges or system hiccups which drive the devices to fail. Very rare do i ever encounter a complete disk failure on its own.

What i want to see is the complete list of HD's manu's and how they rated in this survey.
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by **G.I.BRO** View Post
/me pats my 8gb Fujitsu which still runs on my spare machine!

Its true though, techs should know this type of info already but im actually glad that there's a legit and complete report. In my years ive noticed that most of my HD's fail because of power surges or system hiccups which drive the devices to fail. Very rare do i ever encounter a complete disk failure on its own.

What i want to see is the complete list of HD's manu's and how they rated in this survey.
Ugh, GI, isn't that thing loud? I got some 8GB drive from work and figured I could use it for something...until I plugged it in and it whined so loud I tossed that thing out my front door.

To me, heat is always the PC's worst enemy. The cooler things run the longer they will run.
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:30 PM   #9
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Its not as quiet as todays drives, not at all, but its has its place. The PC is in another room somewhere which i remote into it most of the time. So its a none its a none issue. But yes, it does have that agressive indsutrial sound to it!
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 12:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by **G.I.BRO** View Post
Its not as quiet as todays drives, not at all, but its has its place. The PC is in another room somewhere which i remote into it most of the time. So its a none its a none issue. But yes, it does have that agressive indsutrial sound to it!
Ah, I see. I have a 1U blade server (2.23GHz P4 Northwood, 1GB DDR266, ATA RAID 0, 2x gigabit LAN) that I acquired from work, used to be their old print server. I'd use it but it has 8 40mm high RPM fans in it. The noise is unbearable. Another room wouldn't be enough. I was thinking that the garage might be a nice place for it.
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Old Feb 21, 2007, 03:02 PM   #11
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That's nothing new really.
It's what I was being taught at the university in the first semester

With any electronics, the rate of failure is the highest during the first weeks/months of use.
If it is faulty right from the beginning (manufacturing process, material) it will fail right away (usually, electornic devices are being put into a climate chamber for stress testing under high temperature and high humidity).
That sorts out a big deal of devices already.
Those that survive are naturally less likely to fail any time soon, simply because the usual stress they are exposed to is notably lower than that of the stress testing.

Therefore, the big share of those survivors will live very well up to the end of their prognosed life-span, where the rate of failure will climb up again.

That does not mean, however, there won't be any failures inbetween that period.
As a rule of thumb, an operating temperature increase of 10K halves the prognosed life-span of an electronics device.
Therefore, keeping them cool is never a bad idea actually.

Of course with HDDs you also have a big deal of mechanics involved in the equation. Mechanical devices are always more error prone than pure electronics for obvious reasons (moving parts --> wear).

In any case, speaking from my personal experience, all HDD death I had to mourn about where likely due to high operating temperatures.
Since I employed proper cooling, I have yet a drive to fail on me.
In fact, even before no longer working drives have been successfully put back into action simply by cooling them adequately.
They have no been back into service for some 1.5y.
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Old Feb 25, 2007, 08:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeydust View Post
How much longer we got to use hard drives anyway? That technology is old and stagnant.
When mechanical hard drives get replaced I am going to be sad. I really like the noisy mechanical aspect of today's hard drives
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