Anyone else experiencing lots of drive failures?

I’m used to about ONE or TWO drive failures per year among the people I support. But I have experienced an extraordinary number of drive failures in the last six weeks:

My mothers 2011 iMac 1TB HD
My 2007 24in iMac 2 TB HD
My father-in-law’s external 1 TB 2.5in HD backup
A 2TB HD in my brother’s QNAP 412
and this week
A 4 TB HD in my Synology NAS DS412
A 500 GB SSD in my 2010 MacBook Pro
and just now a 2x2 TB Buffalo NAS at my parents is flagging red

That’s about half of the Macs in my family.

Anyone else experiencing such problems?

We are either extraordinary unlucky or something screwy is going on.

I haven’t seen any fail recently, but a few years ago I had 4 drives go bad in just a few months. The thing with spinning hard drives is alway WHEN will they fail not IF they will fail.

Forgot to say: the affected hard disks seem completely dead, they aren’t even shown in Disk Utility or in the terminal.

One of the mirror drives in my Synology NAS is reporting bad sector errors multiple times a day (up from once every few months)… and the drive in my Video Security System just went belly up… so that is two drive failures in the last month… but then both those drives basically had been running 24/7 for a few years (each)

I have a client with 8 256GB SSD drives in a RAID 10 array. I’m changing drives every few months (sometimes replacing replaced drives).

Yes, I just had an AirPort Extreme drive stop working.

I am not seeing an uptick in drive failures. I only really seem to find failures in regular HDs and not SSDs.

Now if you use an SSD in a poor manor, you can wear them out faster than expected.

In my experience all hard drives fail, even SSDs have a life span. Some are a lot shorter than others.

That being said, all the HDDs that are branded from a certain Korean manufacturer or their subsideries have died on my just outside of their warranty period. I now choose the cheap as chips Taiwan made drives because they get at least double their warranty period. Ironically the drives made by said Korean company, yet branded by others seem to last a lot longer than their own branded drives. Which is stupid IMHO.

mechanical hard drives are really more faulty these days.
to prevent this, I :

  • only buy at minimum a drive with a 3 years warranty (hopping it will last 3 years 1/2)
  • install SSD’s anywhere I can
  • use 5 years warranty drives in customer’s NAS (so drives labelled 24/7 or NS)
    I avoid the most possible bargain drives with one year warranty, they almost don’t last 6 months.
    also in professionnal environment, plan to change a drive every 5 years even if it still works…

I went through this a few years ago and the only thing that seemed to remedy it was to rearrange my office… and before you laugh, I later noticed that the wall where my desk resided was the same wall where the power meter for the house is. My only thought is that it’s the electromagnetic fields.

What is your power situation? Are these devices connected to some sort of UPS/Power filter? My company works with disk drives at an enterprise level (to the order of 10K plus drives every 6 months) and all of our units include power management as part of the install. We have arrays out there with 48 drives in a single chassis for more than 6 years with no failures.

On the other hand, we have the same drives connected via desk docks where the power swings from 101VAC to 121VAC and, even though they all have power bricks converting the AC to DC, we see hard failures quite regularly.

We only use Seagate Constellation and the new Helium drives.

I accidently recently viewed a few interesting Youtube video’s of data-recovery on hard drives.

Newer “common” models have a larger capacity, not by increasing the number of platters/heads
but by increasing the density of the individual bits on the magnetic media. Also, the distance
between head(s) and platter(s) has to become ridiculously small, increasing the risc of read/write-errors
and head-crash etc.

So I now understand why my old 1/2 TB (Toshiba) drive in an 8 yr old Sony hd-recorder is still fully
functional, as I mentioned (to many’s surprise) in an older post.

Also, some brands, which I will not mention here (look at the video’s) have a bad record for their
newer drives, so be careful.

The drives in HD recorders (Tivo/Sky boxes) are worth salvaging. They run and run.

Three locations are affected, so I can exclude a power issue. The common factor is me doing the maintenance on all these devices, plugging in USB sticks or external hard drives. I’ve been doing it since 1997, never much of a problem … except in the last few weeks when hard disks and SSDs seemed to drop like flies left and right.

A few years ago, I had a rash of Firewire 400 port failures on multiple Macs (mine, and coworkers). I thought it was just coincidence, until accidentally discovering that I had one firewire 400 drive enclosure which had a bad connector and was shorting out firewire ports. Could there be some common hardware factor in your situation?

that could cause early failures on drives… Server MANUFACTURE spend a lot of R&D time/money on the placement of power vs drives.

SSDs are a little more resilient to electromagnetic fields via power fields… just a little.

[quote=348995:@scott boss]that could cause early failures on drives… Server MANUFACTURE spend a lot of R&D time/money on the placement of power vs drives.

SSDs are a little more resilient to electromagnetic fields via power fields… just a little.[/quote]
So far the manufacturers have always come through with a replacement drive.

I also have a blog entry from a couple of years back that is still appropriate for modern spinning disks. More about larger arrays, but still something to think about if you’re using low cost drives:

Unexpected Disk Failures In Disk Arrays