A common question we are asked, especially after suffering a hard disk drive failure, is who manufacturers the best drives. As the vast majority of hard disk drives we see are either failed or in the process of failing, we get a distorted view, which even if we wanted to give any guidance makes it difficult to judge the quality of one manufacturers products over another.
It is important for us to remain as impartial as possible. Another issue with attempting to extrapolate any failures is that we do not know under what conditions any hard disk drive has been operating before it arrives at our laboratory for the purposes of data recovery.
Factors Affecting Reliability
There are many factors which can affect the reliability of even the best quality hard disk drive. One of the most common reasons for a failure to occur is due to the hard disk drive operating at high temperature, a condition which can cause a failure of many of the different components, but as the motor spindle and the electronics on the controller board.
Impacts and vibration can also have a deleterious effect upon a hard disk drive. Impacts particular if the drive is running, can damage the spindle motor and the read/write heads. Vibrations can lead to either damage to connections on the controller board, or set up a resonance inside the drive, which if allowed to build up could lead to the read/write heads bouncing off the surface of the disk platters, which will destroy the magnetic recording media.
Do NOT Take Risks
It is also important to choose the correct model of hard disk drive, as they are designed for specific uses. Hard disk drives from the eco range, which are in general cheaper, may be very tempting, but to use them for a high dependency server would be an unnecessary risk.
It is also important that hard disk drives, no matter how reliable, fall into two classes, those that have failed and those that will fail. It is therefore essential that you have a backup strategy and disaster recovery plan, should a failure occur. For companies business continuity is of the utmost important, as a loss of data will in many cases will have disastrous consequences for its long term prospects.
Check Reviews and Current Issues
While we see the result of a failure arriving for data recovery, we are unable to determine in most cases if it is a problem with the drive manufacturing, handling errors or an operational environment issue. We are therefore loathe to give guidance but recommend checking reviews and reading any articles providing information about an issue with a particular drive.
None of the drive manufacturers are immune manufacturing the occasional model which has an inherent problem which will lead to a failure. These are however usually quickly identified and rectified, but there are often many drives of the same model still being sold from stock.