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Study Reveals Hard Drive MTBF Ratings Greatly Exaggerated

25 March 2007

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University took about 100,000 hard drives from a variety of manufacturers to study mean-time before failure (MTBF) ratings or failure rates on hard drives. What the researchers found out was that hard drive manufacturers were exaggerating their (MTBF) ratings on hard drives on average, 15 times the rated MTBFs. The study added that drives were tested in various operating conditions, including real world scenarios.

The study found that the leading cause of drive failures was age. Hard drives "tended to start showing signs of failure after roughly five to seven years of service, after which there was a significant increase in average failure rates (AFR)".

One significant finding which was worth noting was that the failure rates of drives that were in their first year of service or shorter was just as high as those after the seven year mark. This simply means that a new computer has a high probability of crashing as a computer that has put in five to seven years of service. I though that this was scary.

The Carnegie researchers concluded that "backup measures are a necessity with critically important data, no matter what kind of hard drive is being used." This definitely strengthens the case for the regular backup of your computer files whether online or other backup devices.

If you are interested in learning more about this study, you can find this on Neowin.net.

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