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How long would a HDD platter last? Shelf life?

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October 21, 2009 8:42:48 AM

Do we have any tests or records from the r & d departments of hitatchi, samsung, seagate, wd, or toshiba? Their supplier should give them that info so we know how many years we can actually use HDDs in the long run...

We know that a regular cd or dvd can last about 10 years but then after that depending on weather conditions, human error, usage, ect, that they eventually fade out and are unable to be read by laser readers. How long would a platter last if we can find the average time it is used by an average user a day?

a c 127 G Storage
October 21, 2009 11:27:03 AM

There is no reliable prediction on the lifespan of mechanical harddrives. They can fail in a predictable way by SMART data prediction, or they can fail suddenly and swiftly without advance warning.

Generally HDDs are too unreliable to store important information on. That's why you should have multiple copies of the same data (redundancy/backups) to improve reliability.

Note that SSDs don't have this problem and should be extremely reliable for many decades. SSDs have a fully predictable end of lifespan, where is exceeded its maximum write cycles and will refuse to write anything more. In this situation, information should still be readable so data recovery is again no issue here.
October 21, 2009 11:40:24 AM

I still have an 80GB Seagate that is around 5 years old and it is capable. I quit using it because it is just so damn slow compared to today's drives. Luck also has a lot do with hard drives, since it has so many mechanical parts (arm, motor, platter, head) there are a lot of things that could go wrong.
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a c 353 G Storage
October 21, 2009 2:00:54 PM

Concur with sub mesa. Almost all failures of mechanical HDD are due to either a mechanical, or electrical failure. As to how long the platters will retain their date - A long time probably, outlast many DVDs.

I'm still using three 2 gig SCSI drives from 1999. Computers (P-90 w/windows 3.11)was used fro 99 to 2004, then placed in storage until Jan 2009. I was able to boot all three computers (after a gentle tap to get them rotating), and have been using them for testing for the past 10 months.
a c 127 G Storage
October 21, 2009 3:17:17 PM

Its very nice if people don't have HDD failures, even with very old or highly utilized disks. But consider yourself lucky; others aren't so lucky. With an estimated global 1.7% annual failure rate; any HDD stands a reasonable chance to fail within its service life. So either you're lucky, or you're unlucky and lost data.

Personally, i don't want the security of my data to depend on luck; so redundancy and backups come into play. A single HDD is just too unreliable to reliably store data. I would trust an SSD to store exclusive data though, because i believe it cannot fail prematurely in the way HDDs do, without any external influence like power failures.

So for HDD you need backups/redundancy, while for SSD you should only need a backup and no redundancy. The only risk of losing my data here is on the software/filesystem level.
a c 127 G Storage
October 21, 2009 3:17:17 PM

Its very nice if people don't have HDD failures, even with very old or highly utilized disks. But consider yourself lucky; others aren't so lucky. With an estimated global 1.7% annual failure rate; any HDD stands a reasonable chance to fail within its service life. So either you're lucky, or you're unlucky and lost data.

Personally, i don't want the security of my data to depend on luck; so redundancy and backups come into play. A single HDD is just too unreliable to reliably store data. I would trust an SSD to store exclusive data though, because i believe it cannot fail prematurely in the way HDDs do, without any external influence like power failures.

So for HDD you need backups/redundancy, while for SSD you should only need a backup and no redundancy. The only risk of losing my data here is on the software/filesystem level.
a c 353 G Storage
October 21, 2009 11:35:43 PM

^ See if I agree with you next - joking ofcourse.

Dvds were "Suppose" to Last One heck of a long time, half a century, - so they said when they came out. OPPS not so, in fact they can be rather short lived.

You ARE right that "i believe it cannot fail prematurely in the way HDDs do" - But insuffienct data on longevity. I don't think ANYONE will store there DVD collection on SSD anytime soon. Need a awfull high credit card limit.

1.7% annual failure rate. Hmmm - I wonder how much of that is user caused. Since 1990 (Excluding the old MFM and RLL drives), I have only lost 2 HDDs - AND BOTH of them were user caused by the dumb user - opps that was me. PS - I'm not that lucky, at least not in Vegas. Critical back-ups of flight software is HDD that are then placed in a safe.

I don't rush out and by the "New, hot off the assembly line" HDD - ie Seagate -11 (I say seagate, but other name brands have had their NOT so good models.
a c 415 G Storage
October 22, 2009 2:46:18 AM

sub mesa said:
SSDs don't have this problem and should be extremely reliable for many decades.
SSDs store data as a static charge which does dissipate over time. I've seen suggestions that data stored in an SSD may start to become unreadable after around 10 years or so. The exact lifetime depends on how the drive is used because rewriting data in a flash memory block will re-establish the static charges for it (but at a cost of reducing the write lifetime of the block that gets written to).

There is no perfect media - even stone tablets get accidentally crushed sometimes. The only really safe way to retain data is to have multiple copies stored at multiple sites with a program in place to migrate it at intervals to newer media.
October 27, 2009 4:58:25 AM

RetiredChief said:
Concur with sub mesa. Almost all failures of mechanical HDD are due to either a mechanical, or electrical failure. As to how long the platters will retain their date - A long time probably, outlast many DVDs.

I'm still using three 2 gig SCSI drives from 1999. Computers (P-90 w/windows 3.11)was used fro 99 to 2004, then placed in storage until Jan 2009. I was able to boot all three computers (after a gentle tap to get them rotating), and have been using them for testing for the past 10 months.



yeah but you cant run anything newer than Windows XP... XP wont even fit with a 2GB HDD.... Windows ME would probably be the last OS that you could use with those drives
October 28, 2009 9:08:48 AM

liquidsnake718 said:
yeah but you cant run anything newer than Windows XP... XP wont even fit with a 2GB HDD.... Windows ME would probably be the last OS that you could use with those drives


Tiny XP, my friend. They say it consumes only 400MB, uses 40MB ram on boot-up.

Though the legality of it all is up to your conscience.
November 4, 2009 6:09:00 AM

amnotanoobie said:
Tiny XP, my friend. They say it consumes only 400MB, uses 40MB ram on boot-up.

Though the legality of it all is up to your conscience.



OK, didnt know that... wow 400mb only.... wait I forgot, did XP come in a CD or DVD? Mine was a DVD.... that has to be more than 700mb worth of software in XP.... I guess they shrunk it and created Tiny Xp then?
November 4, 2009 8:13:35 AM

liquidsnake718 said:
OK, didnt know that... wow 400mb only.... wait I forgot, did XP come in a CD or DVD? Mine was a DVD.... that has to be more than 700mb worth of software in XP.... I guess they shrunk it and created Tiny Xp then?


I believe they just didn't install most of the features/apps that weren't really used and turned off most of the services.

I believe there is also a tiny vista floating around.

* I checked at some of the ..... sites, and it seems that tiny xp is still 700MB.
a c 127 G Storage
November 4, 2009 9:31:08 AM

That's a coincidence, right now i'm installing FreeBSD to a tiny 256MB flash SSD; appears only about 166MB is strictly required for this OS. Okay its text-based; but still its not liked any special stripped down version its a full fledged kernel with lots of bells and whistles. :D 
a c 353 G Storage
November 4, 2009 3:30:07 PM

No problem with storage space on my 2 gig SCSI Drives as they are in a system using 3 computers all running WINDOWS 3.11!!!! No laughing allowed.
Estimated cost to upgrade >$100K, which we will do if we find a ride for the satellite, until then I am stuck maintaining this "slightly" old GSE.
a c 127 G Storage
November 4, 2009 3:41:54 PM

*forces lips closed trying to prevent laughing*

:D 

arrr i couldn't!!
!