Preparing For Hard Drive Failure

So you have your company’s SharePoint in-house, hosted on servers within your building.

Well inside those servers are hard drives: mechanical, metal objects used to store the precious, valuable data that your company can’t function without. You take the time, effort, and most importantly, the money to build out your on-premises environment and hope that everything runs smoothly.

Then, it happens – one of your server hard drives fails. And, if your company was not prepared for just such a disaster, you could be sitting there with your head in your hands wondering what options you have left.

So, let’s look at the bad news and the good news when dealing with Hard Drive Failure:


There is really no way to tell how long your server hard drives will last. Maybe they’ll last 50 years. Maybe five years. Maybe five months… No one knows. Hard drives have moving mechanical parts and some times without warning, they can fail on you. Sooner or later it is bound to happen. Hard drives are not meant to last forever. The bright side is that over time, hard drives have gotten extremely reasonably priced to replace. The rain on the parade though is that replacing a hard drive doesn’t do anything for lost data.

light bulbThink about this: Picture a time when suddenly you lost some or all of your data and didn’t have it backed up. Could your business function? Would you have to close your doors, possibly permanently? You never want to sit there and think “I would pay 100 times the cost of a new hard drive just to have my data back…”

According to BackBlaze, hard drives have three very distinct failure rates: one and a half years, three years and after three years. Within the first year and a half, hard drives fail 5.1% of the time. Between the first year and a half and three years, hard drives failed less often at 1.4%. However, after that three year mark, hard drives fail an amazing 11.8% per year. 78% of hard drives last for at least four years. However, that means 22% of them are down and out for the count.


There are a few things you can do to prevent server and data catastrophes from plaguing your company:

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery simply means “how quickly can you recover from a devastating event and have your company back up and running at 100%?” There are a few different options when it comes to DR solutions ranging from Cold, Warm and Hot solutions. In simplistic terms, it comes down to three questions you must ask:

  1. Can you afford to wait for your data backups to be mailed to you so you can load them back onto your server hard drives? (Cold Standby)
  2. Do you need your backups fairly fast and can’t go very long with downtime? (Warm Standby)
  3. Can you afford to have ANY downtime and need things to just work with the flip of a switch? (Hot Standby)

For more information on Disaster Recovery options, check out our Disaster Recovery Webinar

Advanced Monitoring

Another service that can help ease the pain of hard drive failures is Advanced Monitoring & Alerts. This basically gives you an inside look into what processes are happening on your hard drives and if applications are running smoothly, etc. Now, this obviously cannot keep a hard drive from failing, but it might be able to give you insights and identify tell tale signs of a hard drive getting ready to spin its last revolution. Advanced Monitoring is a way to stay on top of things and hopefully keep a slight hiccup from turning into a catastrophe.

The Cloud

Moving your SharePoint (or some of it) to the cloud can provide some aid. There are a great number of benefits to hosting SharePoint environments in the cloud, one of which is simply the fact of “leave it in the hands of the experts”. Experienced SharePoint Hosting Providers have hiccups like this down to a science. Depending on your type of hosting plan and DR solution, you may never even know a server hard drive failed. You can just worry about what’s for lunch rather than how you’re going to get your SharePoint back up and running.


Hard drive failure is something that is inevitable.

It will happen, sooner or later. Maybe to you, maybe to the business down the street. No one knows. All you can do is be prepared. Between the different levels of Disaster Recovery options, utilizing the Cloud for storage, monitoring your systems, and heck, even taking manual backups of your data, you can greatly reduce the negative effects that failing hard drives can have on your business.

2013-12-10T08:20:49+00:00 December 10th, 2013|

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