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Disclaimer: I work at Backblaze.

> Do BB publish pricing of what they paid for drives? ... a TB/$/Failure rate

Thank you, that is EXACTLY the correct way to look at the failure statistics! So many people seem to sort the list by failure rate and think no matter what the cost, the lowest failure rate wins. For Backblaze, we just feed it back into the cost calculation. For example:

If a drive fails 1% more often but is 2% cheaper in total cost of ownership, we buy that drive. Now, total cost of ownership includes the physical space rental so more dense drives can be more expensive per TByte in raw drive cost because we can make some of that back up in physical space rental. Also, most drives seem to take about the same amount of electricity unrelated to how many TBytes are contained inside, so double the drive density is like saying it takes half as much electricity over its 4 - 5 year lifespan. Electricity is one of our largest datacenter costs, so we keep an eye on that also.

But to answer your very first question, unfortunately we cannot release the price we paid for the drives due to the vendors requesting we don't disclose prices. But don't think we have some magically huge discount or anything. Most of the time we are literally paying about retail, maybe a 3% - 5% discount for buying in bulk orders of over 10,000 drives. But for reasons nobody at Backblaze can figure out, sometimes a bunch of new drives appears randomly at a really good discount price, then returns to the original price the next month. It might be some attempt along the supply chain to boost monthly or quarterly top line at the expense of profits, I don't know.

Cost adjusted by failure rate is definitely the best metric for a RAID. But when it's only one or two disks, and any failure means a giant hassle, it can be worth paying more to improve the odds.

When I'm just buying drives for my home machines, I'd pay much more for a lower failure rate because a dead drive means a lot of time and massive inconvenience plus some research and a trip to the computer store to buy a replacement.

I'd honestly pay double if I could be guaranteed to avoid all that.

There's some other downsides of course, but RAID1 basically gets you exactly that. Double price for much lower failure rate of the storage volume. Go with different manufacturers for the two drives to further reduce the failure rate at the probable cost of a little performance and space.

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