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  1. #1
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    HDD Performance and Diags

    Been a while since I've posted, been busy on non-PC projects.

    I'm working on a new project to train techs about storage technologies..check out CompTIA's upcoming Storage+ cert, or SNIA's SCSP cert for an idea of the scope.

    The reason I'm posting today is to get some ideas from pros about HDD performance and troubleshooting tools. I've used HDTune for performance, and Spin-rite for t-shooting many years ago, and others I canít recall right now. Do manufacturers have the best or most comprehensive diags? Is there anything useful in Windows?

    What tools do you use to test and troubleshoot drives?

    Thanks!

    JohnO

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    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Hi John, go to the web site of your HDD manufacturer.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

  3. #3
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    Look at the SMART data. If it says there is a problem replace the drive.

    cheers, Paul

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Hard Drive Monitor v1.4
    (Above) Is a cool little portable app for SMART monitoring and others.
    I still use my SpinRite every now and then, mostly on the raptors, ... those 2TB drives can be a killer-long wait.
    The specific HDD manufacture tools can also be usefull for testing, I also still use the Windows check disk with the "r" switch from a bootdisk too on occasion.

  5. #5
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    Clint, thanks so much.

    Guys...this is a training situation. I will provide a few drives and write a tutorial for students to follow. Step-by-step on using the tools, building a RAID array, checking performance of various configurations, and possibly even a fibre channel SAN system. Is there a way to create a situation that SMART will find? This isn't a one-off deal, I have to supply these to lots of trainers in lots of places.

    Digging around last week, I found a compelling article by George Ou about partitioning (partial-stroke) and drive speeds. This is the kind of experiment and measurement that makes a point, if it really works.

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/ou/how-hig...e_skin;content

  6. #6
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Cool

    It's obvious, that you wouldn't want to have a class run Spinrite on a 2TB drive. That could take a week.
    Even a chkdsk /f /r can get lengthy. So what you'd be looking for is some program that would take a sampling of read-write speed, for instance, and not take more than just a few seconds or minutes.

    A few days back I had to work on an older Compaq computer that had a HD diagnostic in the Bios. It only ran for a few seconds, but still told me there was a problem on the drive. (the MBR was hozed)

    Checking the speed difference between an IDE drive compared to a SATA I and a SATA II drive could be a definite eye opener.

    I think about now, if I were you, I'd be doing some in-depth Googling.

    What you're looking for would not be something in the average Technicians tool kit.

    A neat thing might be a little program like a vbscript or batch file, that would do a series of read/writes to a HD and then time the sequence to its completion.

    I have a similar script to time how long a computer takes to shut down and reboot to the desktop.

    I'm sure a batch file could be written to sample the Real Time Clock (on the motherboard) then do 1000 read/ writes to the HD and when finished, sample the Real Time Clock again. That's an oversimplification, of course, but it could work.
    It would almost HAVE to be done in DOS though, to bypass all the stuff that Windows does with the HD (constantly).

    Please let us know what you find. Eh?

    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  7. #7
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    Doc, you're right about the time to perform experiments. Clint's SSD test is the type of thing I can do, and HDTune can perform some decent tests in a reasonable time. If Spinrite is a an important and useful tool then I can and should at least work with it. I won't supply huge drives, probably the smallest (cheapest) of the type I need.

    I'm guessing the manufacturers have solid diag tools, seems to me that any serious diagnosis of a HDD needs the proprietary stuff. They may offer utilities such as wiping, or the ability to disable the cache.

    The batch file is a good idea, build a big-ass folder full of zip files and move it around, roughly what Clint is doing, but automated with a timer. Working at the command line is a benefit IMO.

    I'm a googling fool the last several days.

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    I'm curious to know who your target trainees are. The certifications you cited are geared toward SANs and NAS devices which is an entirely different world than an individual HDD in a PC or DASD in a server. That being the case, I rely on the software that comes with the device, which is pretty detailed and reliable for trouble shooting. I'm not sure there are any 3rd party tools that can effectively read and diagnose issues on SANs and NAS devices as these are not directly connected to a PC or server.
    Chuck

  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger chowur's Avatar
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    You might want to check out,Hard Disk Sentinel;http://www.hdsentinel.com/
    Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einsten

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  11. #10
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    Doc, right, different worlds. We're looking at exploring drives in general first because they're all the same underneath the data interface. The certs are popular with our customers. A lot of the SANs I'm seeing use SATA drives, so I'll explore them as PC-based systems first, then transition to the fibre channel system.

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