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I am considering getting a small NAS as a file server for my home network.

For saving energy I thought it would be a good idea to have a system that shuts down its drives when they aren't used. But I was told that this reduces the lifespan of the drives tremendously.

So my question is: How long can expect a harddrive to live when I let it run all the time and how long when the drive gets turned on and of multiple times of the day?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Drives do suffer more during spin-up and spin-down operations. However, leaving them running 24/7 alro decreases life. Your best bet would be to refer to the drive manufacturer for more information. Find out how they do their testing and extrapolate the numbers from there.

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My hard drives have generally lasted about 7 years, and I never spin them down except for system maintenance.

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My experience of this has been about 3-5 years, but I guess it will vary hugely based on onther criteria such as manufacturer and environment. I'd strongly recommend getting a NAS that includes two drives as a mirrored RAID array. Cheap enough these days and a reasonable insurance against drive loss due to failure. I could say backup diligently, by I doubt many home file servers ever do get fully backup up given the volume of data they hold and the lack of anyone taking an ongoing responsibility for backup. Another alternative would be to use an automated backup tool such as AJCBackup to backup selected data to a second NAS.

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