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Author Topic: Should we pre-emptively retire old hard drives?  (Read 13491 times)
IainB
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« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2012, 07:13:55 PM »

^So what's your take on the programs output, should he draw three, hold, or fold?
Hahaha. Yes, maybe.    Wink
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Renegade
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« Reply #26 on: August 03, 2012, 12:21:24 AM »

Also, a quick mention on SSDs... back up those things even more vigilantly than mechanical drives. Yes, in theory those flash cells should wear out gracefully, and even the MLC variants should last quite a bit longer under normal use than a mechanical disk. Funny thing is, though, that they don't. Or rather, the flash cells don't wear out, but either the firmware goes into retardo-mode (known to happen frequently with SandForce based drives), or other parts of the electronics just go frizzle. And then you're SOL. Really, bigtime SOL. At least with mechanical drives, you can send them off to data recovery services if the data was important enough... much less likely to be able to do that with SSDs, especially with the ones that have hardware encryption.

Me and a classmate had our Vertex2 SSDs die a few weeks apart, after... what, a month or so use? And my Intel X25-E (their ENTERPRISE SLC-based drive) died last month, after a few years of non-intensive use... I'm sure the SLC cells would have several years lifetime left, so it's probably some electronics that went fizzle. Scary that an enterprise drive dies like that :-(



I did some work for Samsung Semiconductor a while back, and they listed their SSDs as 1~2 million hours MTBF, with the enterprise class drives at 2 million hours. Other manufacturers that I'd checked had mostly 1~1.5 MH MTBF (IIRC). I'd also read in several places about people having SSDs die suddenly within a year. Considering there are only 8,760 hours in a year, it really has to make you question things a bit. 1 year is about 0.5% of the rated life. Seems like some seriously bizarre distributions (as in standard deviations and normal distribution) for the "mean". Perhaps MTBF is done with climate math? tongue

I've got my SSD on real-time full backup, but I really would still hate to see it die either way. I just loathe setting up systems, and restoring is still the same thing to me.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2012, 12:53:50 AM »

Good to know. I'll probably wait until the drive actually does, but I'll step up the migration process from "3 years from tomorrow" to beginning to put the pieces in place.
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4wd
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« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2012, 03:50:25 AM »

Other manufacturers that I'd checked had mostly 1~1.5 MH MTBF (IIRC). I'd also read in several places about people having SSDs die suddenly within a year. Considering there are only 8,760 hours in a year, it really has to make you question things a bit. 1 year is about 0.5% of the rated life.

No, it makes perfect sense.

MTBF = Mean Time Between Failures

That means you need to start with at least one failure to have a time "between" failures - so you can be sure you have a useful SSD life of 1000000 hours before you need to get worried again.

 cheesy
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Renegade
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« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2012, 01:30:10 PM »

Other manufacturers that I'd checked had mostly 1~1.5 MH MTBF (IIRC). I'd also read in several places about people having SSDs die suddenly within a year. Considering there are only 8,760 hours in a year, it really has to make you question things a bit. 1 year is about 0.5% of the rated life.

No, it makes perfect sense.

MTBF = Mean Time Between Failures

That means you need to start with at least one failure to have a time "between" failures - so you can be sure you have a useful SSD life of 1000000 hours before you need to get worried again.

 cheesy

So, just buy 2 then? smiley Or 4 for mirrored raid? Wink
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #30 on: August 03, 2012, 02:26:42 PM »

So, just buy 2 then? smiley Or 4 for mirrored raid?

 huh ...A 4 drive (RAID1) mirror? cheesy
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SeraphimLabs
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« Reply #31 on: August 03, 2012, 03:55:11 PM »

MTBF is based on time between any two failures.

Most drives have an initial burst of failures when new, perhaps as much as half of the drive's failures for it's first year of service take place within the first few hours of operation.

But what happens on the SSDs is like conventional drives they on-the-fly reallocate bad sectors. Although they claim an MTBF on par with a conventional drive, the controller is less tolerant. After so many such failures have taken place, the controller panics because it is out of space to remap into.

A conventional drive will keep right on ticking, marking the bad spots and simply responding with a progressively lower capacity until something mechanical fails or the controller burns out. On the other hand the current SSDs tend to just keel over when they reach that condition, being unable to cope with so many failed areas on the media.

Though they are improving, and are quite consistent in their failure rates- as shown by multiple drives under similar conditions failing in quick succession, they still need to make them die gracefully instead of abruptly giving up.
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40hz
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« Reply #32 on: August 03, 2012, 04:32:31 PM »

So, just buy 2 then? smiley Or 4 for mirrored raid?

 huh ...A 4 drive (RAID1) mirror? cheesy

Umm...Maybe Renegade is thinking of a RAID-10 (aka: "striped mirrors") since he's talking four disks? That would give the best performance and reliability since you get the benefits of both striping and mirroring. RAID-10 is used in many mission critical setups, although newer RAID controllers can give it a run for its money on performance using just RAID-5. It does rebuild more quickly than RAID-5 does following a drive replacement however. (I've only seen one in-production RAID-10 in my entire career BTW.)

The really big downside for personal use is that a controller that supports RAID-10 will be on the expensive side - and tends to be very fussy about the drives it uses. This is definitely more of an 'enterprise' level solution.
 Cool.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 04:46:26 PM by 40hz » Logged

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superboyac
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« Reply #33 on: August 03, 2012, 06:43:41 PM »

So, just buy 2 then? smiley Or 4 for mirrored raid?

 huh ...A 4 drive (RAID1) mirror? cheesy

Umm...Maybe Renegade is thinking of a RAID-10 (aka: "striped mirrors") since he's talking four disks? That would give the best performance and reliability since you get the benefits of both striping and mirroring. RAID-10 is used in many mission critical setups, although newer RAID controllers can give it a run for its money on performance using just RAID-5. It does rebuild more quickly than RAID-5 does following a drive replacement however. (I've only seen one in-production RAID-10 in my entire career BTW.)

The really big downside for personal use is that a controller that supports RAID-10 will be on the expensive side - and tends to be very fussy about the drives it uses. This is definitely more of an 'enterprise' level solution.
 Cool.
This is the big struggle I'm in right now.  Given the situation of a personal computer geek which is (like me) we have a bunch of hard drives we've collected over the years.  Different sizes, different manufacturers, etc.  How can we stick all these in a box and divy them up into various pools?  Like 3 drives in one pool of random sizes, another 3 to back that one up, a couple more for dumping stuff into, etc.

But I have a couple of other threads about this, sorry....
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40hz
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« Reply #34 on: August 03, 2012, 07:13:28 PM »

I don't think there's a single anything currently off the shelf that runs on Windows wirkstation that will do all that. But you could mix & match tools to get it. Windows 8 will be including drive pooling and RAID-like features if that's any consolation.  Or so the plan says.
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IainB
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« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2012, 07:17:14 PM »

Quote
Old drives never die, they merely fall to bits.
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superboyac
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« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2012, 07:17:27 PM »

I don't think there's a single anything off the shelf currently on Windows that will do all that. But you could mix & match to get it. Windows 8 will be including drive pooling and RAID-like features if that's any consolation.
I don't think there is either, I've been looking!  In that other thread, someone mentioned 3 programs that would run on a windows server that sounded like it would do what I want.  Also, I read an article of someone talking about the new drive pooling features in windows 8 and server 2012, and saying it's not really up to speed yet.  I forgot the reasons why, but something to do with wasting space in the pooling due to the smallest drive or something like that.  You don't want that.  I'll eventually build my server and show everyone how I went about doing it.
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40hz
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« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2012, 08:39:24 PM »

I'll eventually build my server and show everyone how I went about doing it.

Check out ClearOS Community Edition when/if you decide do a server. Amazing bit of tech. Very powerful free (i.e. community) edition available for download. Good docs too.
 Thmbsup
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superboyac
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« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2012, 09:34:08 PM »

I'll eventually build my server and show everyone how I went about doing it.

Check out ClearOS Community Edition when/if you decide do a server. Amazing bit of tech. Very powerful free (i.e. community) edition available for download. Good docs too.
 Thmbsup
Could you give some bullet points of what makes it stand out?  I just did a few searches and couldn't really figure it out.  If you think it's good for my server project, perhaps I'll make another video of me playing around with it to see what it can do.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2012, 10:12:20 PM »

AFAIK, It has mail, in-house forum system, journal, file manager and few other features.
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superboyac
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« Reply #40 on: August 03, 2012, 10:20:07 PM »

So i now have clearos running on a vmware.  Not sure what to do next, am currently investigating...

Ah!  I see, I install it, then use a regular web browser to manage and configure it.  Pretty nifty, nice on the eyes, and so far easy to use.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2012, 08:38:51 AM »

So, just buy 2 then? smiley Or 4 for mirrored raid?

 huh ...A 4 drive (RAID1) mirror? cheesy

Umm...Maybe Renegade is thinking of a RAID-10 (aka: "striped mirrors") since he's talking four disks?

I Know ... I was just having a spot of evil fun poking him with a stick. We used the same configuration back when I first started where I'm at, but I had to switch it to a RAID5 due to space constraints.

I'm actually thinking of using it on the new rack system/virtualization/private cloud project if it gets off the ground for better redundancy since the performance numbers on RAID6 appear to be a bit (Um...) inflated. Not to mention the whole IOPS/spindle contention bla, bla, bla thing. Plan is to come out of the gate with about 8 or 10 virtual, on 3 physical, with a 3TB SAN...and leave room for an IT lab.
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40hz
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« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2012, 12:35:13 PM »

Ah!  I see, I install it, then use a regular web browser to manage and configure it.  Pretty nifty, nice on the eyes, and so far easy to use.

Aha! I see you've already sussed it out.  Thmbsup (With thanks to mahes2k for getting back to you before I did! smiley )

Couple more to look at:

Zentyal - nice small business oriented server



Amahi Home Server - a "loverly" piece of integration that has everything a home network could possibly use. And then some. Uses Greyhole to allow drive pooling too.
 Cool

 Thmbsup
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 12:40:18 PM by 40hz » Logged

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Curt
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« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2012, 12:41:38 PM »

the timing of this thread is so weird to me. The day before yesterday I ran CrystalDiskInfo, and the thermometer said 42°C. Yesterday it said 48°C, and today it is shouting 58°C (you can cook a roast-beef at this temperature)!! - each time after approx 2 hours from Start. The sun is not even shining, and the front-door is open, so the room temperature is fair. I hope CrystalDiskInfo wasn't made by some hardware manufacturer trying to trick me into purchasing a new computer...

 tellme
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NigelH
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« Reply #44 on: August 04, 2012, 01:13:21 PM »

An alternate tool to monitor SMART info
GSmartControl

Watch out for this though
Using smartctl with Samsung F4 EcoGreen drives may result in data loss


Edit: apologies if previously mentioned in other threads - I didn't check.
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superboyac
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« Reply #45 on: August 04, 2012, 02:39:34 PM »

Amahi server looks really great.  I'm especially attracted to their drive pooling which is advertised front and center.  Ok, testing this one soon...
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4wd
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« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2012, 07:21:48 PM »

There's also NexentaStor Community Edition, (good for up to 18TB).

Quote
NexentaStor was made with a hassled storage admin in mind. Actions are laid out in a simple to understand manner. You'll be at home in no time.

Quote
The current Community Release is version 3.1.3.

  •     Free for up to 18 TB of raw storage capacity
  •     Support for user and group quotas
  •     The ability to automatically expand pools
  •     Copy on write
  •     Checksummed datablocks and metadata for reliability.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 07:29:20 PM by 4wd » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: August 04, 2012, 09:56:33 PM »

I hope CrystalDiskInfo wasn't made by some hardware manufacturer trying to trick me into purchasing a new computer...

I don't think so -- the following gives me the impression the author is an independent developer.  According to:

  http://crystalmark.info/information/index-e.html

and

  http://crystalmark.info/information/digitalsign-e.html

the developer appears to be hiyohiyo of Hokkaido, Japan.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 10:03:44 PM by ewemoa » Logged
Curt
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« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2012, 08:14:36 AM »

(...) Here's a screenshot of one of my favorite tools (CrystalDiskInfo), showing smart data of my oldest drive, (...)






CAN A FAN BREAK DOWN WITHOUT THE USER BEING NOTIFIED?
 tellme

What is this "Current pending sector count"? Something dangerous?
 tellme
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mouser
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« Reply #49 on: August 10, 2012, 08:17:30 AM »

60C is too high for a drive, i would make sure you have good backups of what's on that drive.
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