Google Study: Failure Trends in a Large Disk Population
The folks at Google have just published an interesting paper looking at failure trends in a large disk drive population. Surprisingly, the study says that heat is less of a factor in hard drive problems then other characteristics such as age, model or manufacturer. It also appears that SMART features in most drives are less reliable than we might think, often not reporting imminent failures when needed.
Our analysis identifies several parameters from the drive's self monitoring facility (SMART) that correlate highly with failures. Despite this high correlation, we conclude that models based on SMART parameters alone are unlikely to be useful for predicting individual drive failures. Surprisingly, we found that temperature and activity levels were much less correlated with drive failures than previously reported.
Failure Trends in a Large Disk Population (PDF)