How old are those disks, anyway?

The day after the big heat wave, I woke to a dead home server. Not good. Fortunately things eventually recovered enough to bring everything back up, but that got me thinking about the actual age of the spinning rust (the drives) and the likelihood that the consumer/home grade drives were probably due for an upgrade.

A quick check with smartctl shows

$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | grep Hours
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0012 098 098 000 Old_age Always - 18706
$ schettj@schettino:~$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdb | grep Hours
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 051 051 000 Old_age Always - 36017
$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdc | grep Hours
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 082 082 000 Old_age Always - 16016

Checking the old calculator that means the youngest disk has been spinning for 1.8 years, and the oldest for about 4.1 years. Since this system is on 24/7, and is not operated in a rack/cooled server room but rather just in a house on a UPS, I’m thinking it’s time. I’m also thinking (which is a code word for dreading) that it’s time to go for Raid… so likely I’m in for about $400 in disk – one SSD for the boot disk, and three 4TB disks for the Raid array. And, sure, why not… upgrading to Ubuntu 14.04 64bit. That should take a few days, right?

The fun side of this story is I’m old enough to have spent way more than $400 on large, unreliable Shugart hard drives holding 5-30MB of data. You know, in the dark ages. Good times.