[svlug] HD SMART question

Luke S Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Mon May 18 12:40:26 PDT 2009

David Rosenstrauch <darose at darose.net> writes:

> Been having some drive problems recently, and I'm trying to grok the 
> current situation.  Anyone who knows SMART reasonably well who can help?
> Bought a new drive from NewEgg a while back, a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
> ST3500320AS.  Drive started to show problems and I RMA'ed it back to 
> NewEgg for a new one.  I figured that was end of story.

Personally, I don't buy drives from newegg anymore.  I buy CPUs, and I 
buy chassis (there are two supermicro 2 in 1u systems in the mail headed
towards me right now that were ordered from newegg, though I guess
those are usually drop-shipped from ingram micro)  but not hard drives;
too many times I recieved a big box full of 5 or 10 loose bare drives
protected by nothing but a thin layer of bubble wrap, and more importantly,
not packed tightly.  usually the bubble wrap on one side of the drives was
popped from ramming into other drives, and my failure rate for those
drives was through the roof.

(fortunately they usually failed during burn-in, and both seagate and 
samsung have excelent and easy to use warranty service) 

so yeah, what I'd do is I'd just burn it in for a while.   something like

while true; do dd if=/dev/zero bs=64K of=/dev/sdX; done

where X is your drive, of course.  leave that going for a week or so.

the thing with the smart numbers is that they are often mislabeled.
the parts of the smart output I look at are the 'SMART error log'
(if there is anything in there that says 'unrecoverable' I return
the drive for warranty service.  One read error is enough to get it 
kicked out of a raid (or loose data if not in a raid)  so why should
I be any more gentle in burn-in or with my software raids?)  and the self 
tests.  if it fails any of the self-tests I send it back for warranty 

If the drive is out of warranty and even looks at me funny, I replace it 
with something modern.  

Everything I do is mirrored.  single drives only make sense if you 
have an automatic provisioning system and if the data is auto-generated.

If you install by hand, it makes sense to mirror unless your time is free.
Compare the time it takes to rebuild your workstation to the cost of another
sata drive.  

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