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Smartmontools: Ya Mon!

Last article we introduced the SMART capabilities of hard drives (who knew your drives were SMART?). In this article smartmontools, an application for examining the SMART attributes and trigger self tests, is examined.

As you might recall, SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) is a standard technology for storage devices to provide monitoring data about the device itself. However, the data, called the attributes, is not standard and varies from drive to drive and from manufacturer to manufacturer with values that are defined by the manufacturer. In general the attributes include such information as the temperature of the drive, the number of sectors that have gone bad, reallocation of bad sectors, and so on. In addition to attributes SMART can be used to force the drives to perform self-tests to check for problems and store the information in logs.

All of the features and capabilities of SMART drives sounds great but how does one collect SMART attribute information or control drive self-tests and obtain the logs? Linux has a great tool called smartmontools, that allows you to interact with the storage…

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