He’s Dead, Jim

Well, we’ve had our first redshirt moment:

It was the reallocated sectors that did him in, Captain.

Despite passing the initial week-long HDD stress test, one of out 3TB Toshiba NAS drives began to throw SMART errors, despite being left idle after deployment. So what did all this mean? Warranty claims, but of course — and also lit bit of mdadm hot-swap RAID fun.

First, we’ve got to tell our NAS box its disk has failed. With a one-liner, the disk is marked as failed and removed from the RAID array. With a flick of a handle, out slides the drive from the new, convenient hot-swap trays. Take that, old and inexplicably locked-up Apple Xserve RAID!

Hotswap = life made easier when it comes to repairs

Luckily, NCIX is a little better with warranty claims than Canada Computers, which is one of the reasons they were chosen as our HDD supply source. Within 10 minutes, they had my RMA approved with Toshiba, and I was given a new disk and was on my way — no waiting around for 2 weeks for a mail-in replacement.

In a few minutes of being back at the data closet, the new drive is slid into its enclosure and into the NAS, and another two commands partition, then re-add the drive to the RAID array. Ah, life’s good.

What’s this say about Toshiba 3TB drives, though? Well, not much. One out of 6 disks failing might seem like a lot, but this is too small a sample size to draw any conclusions. Even in Blackblaze’s blog, they do a breakdown for the same DTO1ACA300 disks EngSoc uses, and note that even 58 disks is too small a sample size to draw conclusions.  One thing is certain though — as of June 2016, Toshiba drives undercut every other supplier on their cost per GB of storage!



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