DISK MAINTENANCE 2021

Hard disks today are different from the disks I first used on a mainframe, They are smaller now than the old mainframe 15″ models but they work the same way.

A while ago drive managed shingled hard disks surfaced in the market without disclosure. People unwittingly stuffed them, in NAS boxes and servers only to discover they do not work so well. A public outcry let to specific models that were shingled so that NAS users could find a suitable model.

Some of the Seagate disks in the studio had to be erased with WD Lifeguard tools to repair logic errors that could not be corrected with CHKDSK. One of the two 4 TB disks and one of the four 8 TB disks had to be erased completely to recover proper functionality. Beware copying a hard disk completely to another hard disk can take 24-72 hours with drive managed shingled disks due to the poor write performance. The experience suggests that disk maintenance is even more important with the drive managed shingled disks.

None of the WD disks experienced any logic errors. None of the Toshiba disks experienced and logic errors either.

Server disks are more expensive but they are designed for a brutal workload so in a consumer box they are pretty much invincible. These disks are ideal for NAS use which is what they are designed for.

The windows disk optimizer can trim SSD but this not really needed. The hard disks however can stand to be optimized. In reality what is being done is for data to ordered together to make loading faster. At the same time indexes are also optimized to allow the disk to be quiet in operation. Games load faster from hard disks that are optimized. Drive managed shingled disks are very much advantaged with the windows disk optimizer which is aware of the drive peculiarities,

The rise of M.2 SSD with Intel Skylake and AMD socket AM4 changed the SSD mentality with new faster high performance devices that could saturate PCIe 4.0 lanes. The NVMe class SSD is very quick to load the operating system. Some people use TRIM on their SSD this is not needed as modern M.2 SSD controllers are very sophisticated and they handle it themselves fine. The SSD TRIM actually causes a drive write which ads to the wear and tear.

Many notice the head movement in hard disks when active. Helium hard disks can have as many as 9 plates so the head assembly is larger and heavier so as it moves back and forth there is sightly more noise. Conventional disks only have 4 plates which does limit capacity somewhat. Most likely the industry will adopt helium for all disks by 2030.

Disk optimization can be a time consuming task so its best to run the program at night. In the morning the disks are in better shape and the day’s work can resume. In an iterative process files that are unstable are migrated to the end of the logical blocks to make consolidation faster over time.

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