No physical storage medium lasts forever, and as you probably already know, hard drives in particular can die rather unexpectedly. But how long can you expect your drive to live? 5 years? 50?
They found that hard drives have three distinct failure rates: in the first year and a half, drives fail at 5.1% per year; in the next year and a half, drives fail less—at about 1.4% per year; but after three years, failure rates skyrocket to 11.8% per year.
The good news is, 80% of hard drives last at least four years. The bad news is 20% of them don’t.