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How many years to keep HDDs inside NAS before preventive replacement?

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The proper approach is to keep backups of your data. Replace drives when they fail, begin to malfunction or become technologically obsolete. Don't swap out working drives just because they are old, drive failure can occur at any age though failure rates are highest in very new and very old drives.

Yeah, just make sure you have a good back up plan and run the drives till they fail.

I used to keep everything in triplicate (three disks) and rotated one drive out every couple of years. I now have a pile of no longer in use drives.

My experience of the past 15 Years of operating a NAS the failure rate goes through the roof after 5 Years.

There is no hard and fast rule. It depends on the drive, the environment, how much the drives get used and sometimes a little bit of luck.

I've had 8x Hitachi Ultrastar drives running in my NAS 24/7 for the past 9 or 10 years and they are still working perfectly fine. One of them developed a bad sector a few years ago but the problem hasn't impacted data or become worse so I haven't replaced it yet.

I use ZFS which protects against data corruption and do regular scrubs of the data.

Some might say I'm living on the edge a bit, but I'm basically waiting for the cost of higher capacity SSDs to come down before I replace my array.


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