Non Linux question about hard drive lifespan

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Re: Non Linux question about hard drive lifespan

Post by flatiron » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:12 pm

How do you tell if a hard drive or SSD is going out? And how do you add multiple drives such that if one fails the system still works?

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Jim Hauser
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Re: Non Linux question about hard drive lifespan

Post by Jim Hauser » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:26 pm

I use GSmart Control on a weekly basis to check my drives overall health. I also monitor the drive temperatures with Conky and keep an ear out for strange noises. It should also be noted that my system is not portable and is never moved.

For the past year I have been using four Seagate HDDs with a striped LVM for my system. I use Redo to make separate backups for each LVM member (4) once per week. I do not know how well a member can be restored to a new (different) drive. I might have to re-create the stripes on each drive if one fails and is replaced. If one drive goes out, the whole system goes down until the drive is replaced and the striped LVM is re-created or restored from backup. I could also stripe only 3 (or 2) drives or use a standard setup on a single drive but striped LVM with less then 4 drives gains no speed benefit on my system.

The key for me is a good backup/restore policy. Once per week all LVM members are backed up with a copy of the backup put on a second drive. I also copy my Home folder manually (twice) to two drives. Virtual Box systems are also dual exported on a regular basis. And just to be safe copies of the backups are put on an offsite drive. The couple of hours per week is well worth it in the long run. For me, restoring (1.5 hours) or re-installing the system (1 day or less) are both good options. I have considered RAID mirroring but have found nothing to suit my needs as of yet.

At the very least I always have two working drives at all times. I have found that is impossible to predict exactly when a drive will fail but it is much easier to prepare for a drive failure.

I have had no experience at all with SSDs at this point in time. I am still researching how well they do and what kind of problems they could have (or what kinds of benefits they could provide.) Call me old if you want but my first hard drive was a 40 megabyte (yes megabyte) LT. Kernal for my C-64. I had to get a bank loan to purchase it and it lasted 5 years.

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