Optimizing Hard Drive Reliability

Hard drives have incredibly low failure rates, despite faithfully storing and retrieving data day after day, year after year. For example, AV/Surveillance-class drives have a specified Annual Failure Rate (AFR) of less than 1%. This assumes perfect handling and shipping, and that the drives are never exposed to any shock, vibration, excess temperature, or any other environmental effect outside of the drives’ specifications. It also assumes that software is not causing it excess stress, and that the drive is not being used in an application for which the manufacturer says it is not recommended.

However, if you are a system manufacturer using drives in your systems, you still want to minimize failures to the extent your pricing model allows. Target the hard drive manufacturer’s AFR specification, given an adjustment for your drives’ specific environmental conditions. Our mission is to help you do this. We help you choose the best drive solution in the first place, and then provide engineering support for your drives and your systems, so that you get the maximum reliability out of each one. This means less returns and more happy customers.

Here are 8 key elements to achieving the best reliability from the hard drives in your systems:

  1. Choose the right drive for the task
  2. Choose components and chassis wisely
  3. Implement proper drive handling practices
  4. Test your system in the ‘worst-case’ use model
  5. Track your drive failure rates
  6. Know your systems’ temperature
  7. Get engineering support from your supplier
  8. Ask your drive supplier for more information

We have many years of experience helping customers get the best reliability out of the hard drives in their systems. This is an important part of how we optimize your hard drive business. Alan Nagl, our Director of Engineering Service, has over 30 years of hard drive engineering experience and has helped hundreds of system manufacturers, including the world’s largest. Let us be your hard drive expert.