This morning I was thinking about how long hard drives should be used. Seems that the disks spinning 24/7/365 in an array here were purchased in 2006, just under 6 yrs ago. The drives themselves have never caused any issues, though a loose SATA cable was problematic the first 12 months or so. Since then, that array has been working perfectly.
The OS boot HDD was bought a few months before the disks for the array.
Holy CRAP! Almost 6 yrs old! I’m afraid, very afraid.
How Long Is Too Long?
We all know that every HDD will fail. It is like death and taxes. Nobody gets out of here alive. These hard drives will fail. The key is not to be using them when that happens.
The warranty for all the drives was 5 years. They are all Seagates from before Seagate lied. I haven’t purchased another Seagate product since. There are 4 Seagate model ST3320620AS in the array and the boot HDD is a model ST3300620AS. I just used the other one of these 300G in a new XBMC box.
History of the Array
- Array HDDs were purchased from NewEgg in December 2006.
- OS HDD was bought 2-3 months earlier.
- The RAID5 disk array was built around February 2007.
- The array was migrated to a new server around February 2010.
Current Array Status
Grabbed this a few minutes ago.
$ more /proc/mdstat
Personalities : [linear] [multipath] [raid0] [raid1] [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] [ra
md0 : active raid5 sde12 sdc10 sdf11 sdd13
937705728 blocks level 5, 128k chunk, algorithm 2 [4/4] [UUUU]
All is well, it is not full, but well used
/dev/md0 937644140 774953616 162690524 83% /r5
The OS HDD is older by a few months. It has partitions for /home (approx. 260G) and the OS (20G). I’m getting afraid. That box (Core i5) is running Ubuntu Srv 10.04 x64. I’ve been planning an upgrade to 12.04 – actually a fresh install, but looking at the age of the HDDs, perhaps it is time to buy (5) new 1.5G-2G HDDs and rebuild everything? The external disks will be RAID1 this time, not RAID5. The RAID5 hole makes me a little nervous, though I’ve never had any issue with it. About 1TB of storage is cleared off a USB3 HDD to dump all the data from the RAID over. Only data is stored there, not programs, though the virtual machine running Windows7 Media Center does sit there. Running a VM off USB3 storage does make me nervous. I’ve seen queuing issues over USB2 and USB3 storage.
Having some extra room to play with btrfs on unimportant data will be nice too. Just started using EXT4 around here, most storage is on the proven JFS file system. JFS can be booted, which is very important. If XFS was bootable, I’d use that instead. Storage inside Linux VMs is ext2, but the hostOS is either EXT4 or JFS for journaling. EXT2 has a lower overhead and with the hostOS doing the journaling, I’m not worried about data loss.
Questions to You?
- How Long Do You Use Hard Drives?
- When do you migrate old HDDs to some less important purpose? Perhaps as archive media or purely for backups?
- Do you just stop using them completely and sell/give them away?
Please provide your wisdom in the comments.