Backblaze has revealed the newest storage drive stats report for 2022, with a singular focus on SSDs that the company utilizes for data storage boot drives within their cloud storage systems.
Backblaze 2022 Annual Report: SSD Drive Stats Edition published, showing the current average failure rates for the company’s SSDs
The last report from Backblaze informed its clients and the public about the hard disk drives that maintain customer data on its platform. The company utilized SSDs for boot drive purposes in the last quarter of 2018 and has supported them since. In that aspect, the use of HDD has diminished, and we are seeing a trend of more SSDs as boot drives by Backblaze. The company mentions that outside of booting storage servers, the SSDs “read, write, and delete log and temporary files” from the server as they are produced.
The data compiled by Backblaze covers last year’s and three years’ worth of data and lifetime stats of the SSDs incorporated. The company also introduces into their newest report temperature levels over the last year. This area was not presented before in previous reports and offers a look at the differences between the HDDs and SSDs temperatures to see if the SSDs that are utilized run at a lower temperature than the HDDs currently in use in the same functionality. As well known, temperature is a considerable aspect of the life expectancy of system storage and other components such as processors, graphics cards, motherboards, and more.
At the end of 2022, Backblaze incorporated 2,906 SSDs for boot drives in its data storage servers with 13 distinct models. The drives were considered “consumer-grade” compared to those utilized explicitly for server use or considered “enterprise-grade.” Consumer-grade SSDs allow companies to alleviate overhead costs by purchasing less expensive equipment, such as solid-state drives. It will enable the company to save overall costs, and it is also easier to replace more frequently than a drive that would be much more expensive.
Andy Klien, the current analyst of Principal Cloud Storage at Backblaze, conducts and adds his observations on the data collected by the company. In the ongoing study, he looks at Annualized Failure Rate, or AFR, of the managed SSD models over the last year, three years, and the drive’s lifetime to help give consumers a better idea of what SSDs might grant a longer lifespan than most.
In 2022, Backblaze found seven of thirteen SSD models did not fail during that year. However, six did not have the same time within the server, so any quantitative estimations about the failure would be complex. Dell’s SSD (model DELLBOSS VD) had no losses in 2022, with over 100K drive days. The “BOSS” name for the model stands for “Boot Optimized Storage Solution.” It is an M.2 SSD model installed onto a PCIe-supported card which Backblaze mentions is “half-length and half-height” in its design. The card is used in server deployments and is not available to most.
The remaining three drives from Seagate (model ZA250CM10003), also known as the Seagate BarraCuda 120 SSD, witnessed the lowest failure rate at 0.73%. Still, its other model, the Seagate BarraCuda SSD (model ZA250CM10002), saw the highest failure of the three at 1.98% for 2022. The last drive was from Crucial (model CT250MX500SSD1) and was between the two Seagate drives with an AFR of 1.04%.
Over the three years analyzed (2020 to 2022), the Crucial brand drives mentioned above had a few failures a few years ago but still shined better than the rest. In 2022, the company introduced four new models to its servers and did not have enough data to present in this analysis. The 250 GB Seagate SSDs in operation fluctuated in different directions depending on the model. For instance, model ZA250CM10003 is younger than the ZA250CM10002 in use, and between the two, the newer drive uses fewer milliwatts than the latter drive by about 69mW. This is due to its capability to optimize idle power.
Klein informed Wccftech that “the fact that our SSDs run warmer than the HDDs in the same server is interesting and not what is expected. While well within the temperature limits of operation for an SSD, this will be something to follow going forward.”
For more analysis, Backblaze maintains previous data from the company’s term observing storage drives in its servers on the Drive Stats Test Data webpage. The company mentions that the data does not distinguish between HDDs and SSDs. It suggests that viewers use the current model field to differentiate between drives and only look at information from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the present.
In the next look by Klein and Backblaze, the company is beginning to look at drive temperatures as part of Backblaze’s SMART stats for SSDs. Backblaze’s SSD Smart stats look at various attributes, including the level of wear on the drives, the lifespan, how well it handles over time, the life taken from the drive over time, temperature, and several other attributes.
One focus they chose to look into was drive temperatures, as they can remain somewhat consistent during use and over time. SMART 194 follows the internal temps of the drives at their raw value. This detailed analysis cannot be complete as some companies, such as Dell with their DELLBOSS VD SSD, do not publish “raw or normalized values for SMART 194.” As such, they tested the other SSD drives for which the company could gather information during 2022.
Each month saw an average of 67,764 observations ranging from 57,015 earlier in the year to 77,174 at the end of 2022. What was found was that the average temperatures were altered by a single degree (34.4°C to 35.4°C, with the average for the year at 34.9°C). This was different with Backblaze’s HDD as those drives evaluated over the same period had an average of 29.1°C. Klein feels that one of the reasons that make it appear that SSDs operate at cooler temps than HDDs is the boot drives are located a longer length away from the area that the data drives are, which is near the cool aisle, and why the data drives would have their temperatures lowered initially. Klein informed Wccftech that “the fact that our SSDs run warmer than the HDDs in the same server is interesting and not what is expected. While well within the temperature limits of operation for an SSD, this will be something to follow going forward.”
The report continues discussing the varying temperatures throughout 2022 on all drives (HDDs and SSDs) and found that the fluctuations measured from 20°C to 61°C, which creates, in a line graph, what is referred to as a “bell curve” due to its shape. This culminated all SSDs, except for the Dell drives, which could not be calculated due to the deficient number of failures.
Finally, Klein takes us through the lifetime failure rates of the company’s SSDs. What was revealed was that from 2018, the Lifetime AFR ended at 0.89% in 2022, which happens to be lower than the previous year’s percentage of 1.04%. While there is still limited data, the company feels confident of a 1% or less interval from all SSDs. Out of the drives analyzed, the two Seagate models had a confidence interval of 0.66% and 0.96% lifetime AFR, while the single Dell model had zero percentage lifetime AFR. Klein also explains that consumer drives are suited to the company’s needs for the time. Still, if the new storage server bundles purchased from Supermicro and Dell require enterprise-class SSDs, the company has no problem making the transitions as necessary.