Access "Users Need Better Way to Predict Disk Failures"
This article is part of the Vol. 3 No. 8 October 2004 issue of Five cutting-edge storage technologies
All disk drive manufacturers happily publish their products' mean time between failure (MTBF) ratings, numbers like 500,000 hours for desktop-class drives, or 1 million hours for SCSI and Fibre Channel drives. But many users feel that the MTBF metric is largely irrelevant in a real-world storage environment. MTBF "is basically a useless number" from a user's perspective, says Mike Chenery, vice president of advanced product engineering at Fujitsu Computer Products of America, a disk drive manufacturer. "What they really want to know is 'How many of my drives are going to fail?'" Part of the problem with MTBF is that not everyone understands how it is calculated. An MTBF of 1 million hours, for example, does not mean that a drive will fail in 114 years (24*365*114), as some users may conclude. Rather, it's a statistical metric derived from testing of a large number of drives for a number of days, and determining the mean failure rate for the entire group, explains Aloke Guha, CTO at Copan Systems, a startup that makes a disk-based backup system built with ... Access >>>
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