Checking Hard Disk Sanity With Smartmontools (Debian & Ubuntu)

2e1ax_nomad_entry_smartmontools

This guide shows how to install and use the smartmontools package on Debian Etch and Ubuntu 7.10. The smartmontools package provides utilities to check hard disks for disk degradation and failure, using the Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology System (SMART) built into most modern ATA and SCSI hard disks.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!
1 Installing Smartmontools

In order to install smartmontools, all we have to do is run:

apt-get install smartmontools

The smartmontools package comes with two utilities, smartctl which you can use to check your hard drives on the command line, and smartd, a daemon that checks your hard disks at a specified interval and logs warnings/errors to the syslog and can also send warnings and errors to a specified email address (usually the admin of the system).
2 Using Smartctl

Before we can use smartctl, we must find out how our hard disks are named. You can do this, for example, by running:

df -h

or

fdisk -l

server1:~# fdisk -l

Disk /dev/hda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 * 1 19269 154778211 83 Linux
/dev/hda2 19270 19457 1510110 5 Extended
/dev/hda5 19270 19457 1510078+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
server1:~#

As you see, my hard disk is called /dev/hda.

Now that we know the name of our hard drive, we can run smartctl as follows:

smartctl -a /dev/hda

If you run it for the first time, you’ll probably see something like this:

server1:~# smartctl -a /dev/hda
smartctl version 5.36 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-6 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model: ST3160022ACE
Serial Number: 5JS3XTZX
Firmware Version: 9.01
User Capacity: 160,041,885,696 bytes
Device is: Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is: 6
ATA Standard is: ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 2
Local Time is: Tue Apr 8 18:58:44 2008 CEST
SMART support is: Available – device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Disabled

SMART Disabled. Use option -s with argument ‘on’ to enable it.
server1:~#

So SMART is disabled, to enable it, we need to run that command again with the -s on switch:

smartctl -s on -a /dev/hda

Now we get more output, including all errors that are in the SMART log (if any):

server1:~# smartctl -s on -a /dev/hda
smartctl version 5.36 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-6 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model: ST3160022ACE
Serial Number: 5JS3XTZX
Firmware Version: 9.01
User Capacity: 160,041,885,696 bytes
Device is: Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is: 6
ATA Standard is: ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 2
Local Time is: Tue Apr 8 18:59:14 2008 CEST
SMART support is: Available – device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Disabled

=== START OF ENABLE/DISABLE COMMANDS SECTION ===
SMART Enabled.

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status: (0x82) Offline data collection activity
was completed without error.
Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status: ( 0) The previous self-test routine completed
without error or no self-test has ever
been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection: (15556) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities: (0x5b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
Suspend Offline collection upon new
command.
Offline surface scan supported.
Self-test supported.
No Conveyance Self-test supported.
Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities: (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
power-saving mode.
Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability: (0x01) Error logging supported.
General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time: ( 1) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time: ( 111) minutes.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME FLAG VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE UPDATED WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate 0x000f 059 056 006 Pre-fail Always – 163692057
3 Spin_Up_Time 0x0003 096 096 000 Pre-fail Always – 0
4 Start_Stop_Count 0x0032 100 100 020 Old_age Always – 0
5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0033 100 100 036 Pre-fail Always – 0
7 Seek_Error_Rate 0x000f 100 253 030 Pre-fail Always – 722959
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always – 55
10 Spin_Retry_Count 0x0013 100 100 097 Pre-fail Always – 0
12 Power_Cycle_Count 0x0032 100 100 020 Old_age Always – 37
194 Temperature_Celsius 0x0022 039 046 000 Old_age Always – 39
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered 0x001a 059 056 000 Old_age Always – 163692057
197 Current_Pending_Sector 0x0012 100 100 000 Old_age Always – 0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable 0x0010 100 100 000 Old_age Offline – 0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count 0x003e 200 199 000 Old_age Always – 1
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate 0x0000 100 253 000 Old_age Offline – 0
202 TA_Increase_Count 0x0032 100 253 000 Old_age Always – 0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
ATA Error Count: 1
CR = Command Register [HEX]
FR = Features Register [HEX]
SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
ER = Error register [HEX]
ST = Status register [HEX]
Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It “wraps” after 49.710 days.

Error 1 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 28 hours (1 days + 4 hours)
When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

After command completion occurred, registers were:
ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
— — — — — — —
84 51 00 5d 4c 85 e0 Error: ICRC, ABRT at LBA = 0x00854c5d = 8735837

Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC Powered_Up_Time Command/Feature_Name
— — — — — — — — —————- ——————–
25 00 00 5d 4c 85 e0 00 05:05:31.855 READ DMA EXT
25 00 00 5d 4b 85 e0 00 05:05:31.810 READ DMA EXT
25 00 00 5d 4a 85 e0 00 05:05:31.773 READ DMA EXT
25 00 00 5d 49 85 e0 00 05:05:31.737 READ DMA EXT
25 00 00 5d 48 85 e0 00 05:05:31.651 READ DMA EXT

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
# 1 Short offline Completed without error 00% 54 –
# 2 Short offline Aborted by host 80% 54 –
# 3 Short offline Completed without error 00% 54 –

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
SPAN MIN_LBA MAX_LBA CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
1 0 0 Not_testing
2 0 0 Not_testing
3 0 0 Not_testing
4 0 0 Not_testing
5 0 0 Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

server1:~#

Now that SMART is enabled, we don’t need the -s on switch anymore, which means that you can now call smartctl as in the first example.

 

To learn more about smartctl and how it can be used, take a look at the smartctl man page:

man smartctl
3 Using Smartd

Smartctl is a nice tool, but you have to run it manually. Of course, it would be nice to have some daemon that monitors our hard disk at specified intervals and logs and/or emails us if something is wrong with the hard disk so that we can react before it fails completely. Smartd is just what we need.

To use smartd, we have to modify /etc/default/smartmontools first and uncomment the start_smartd=yes and smartd_opts=”–interval=1800″ lines (set the monitoring interval to whatever value (in seconds) you prefer; 1800 means 30 minutes):

vi /etc/default/smartmontools

# Defaults for smartmontools initscript (/etc/init.d/smartmontools)
# This is a POSIX shell fragment

# List of devices you want to explicitly enable S.M.A.R.T. for
# Not needed (and not recommended) if the device is monitored by smartd
#enable_smart=”/dev/hda /dev/hdb”

# uncomment to start smartd on system startup
start_smartd=yes

# uncomment to pass additional options to smartd on startup
smartd_opts=”–interval=1800″

 

Next we must configure the smartd configuration file, /etc/smartd.conf. You should take a look at

man smartd

to learn more about the available configuration options and also check out the examples that are in /etc/smartd.conf.

vi /etc/smartd.conf

For the beginning the following configuration is fine:

DEVICESCAN -m root -M exec /usr/share/smartmontools/smartd-runner

 

DEVICESCAN means that smartd will monitor all hard drives it can find. The -m switch specifies the user or email address that smartd will send warnings/errors to. For example, to monitor only /dev/hda and send warnings/errors to admin@example.com, you’d use the following configuration instead:

 

/dev/hda -m admin@example.com -M exec /usr/share/smartmontools/smartd-runner

 

Afterwards we start smartd:

/etc/init.d/smartmontools start

Now if you take a look at /var/log/syslog, you should find the startup messages of smartd there:

tail -n50 /var/log/syslog

[…]
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: smartd version 5.36 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-6 Bruce Allen
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Opened configuration file /etc/smartd.conf
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Drive: DEVICESCAN, implied ‘-a’ Directive on line 22 of file /etc/smartd.conf
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Configuration file /etc/smartd.conf was parsed, found DEVICESCAN, scanning devices
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Problem creating device name scan list
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Device: /dev/hda, opened
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Device: /dev/hda, not found in smartd database.
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Device: /dev/hda, is SMART capable. Adding to “monitor” list.
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Device: /dev/hdc, opened
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Device: /dev/hdc, packet devices [this device CD/DVD] not SMART capable
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3731]: Monitoring 1 ATA and 0 SCSI devices
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3733]: smartd has fork()ed into background mode. New PID=3733.
Apr 8 19:12:17 server1 smartd[3733]: file /var/run/smartd.pid written containing PID 3733
[…]

If smartd finds something interesting about your hard disk or errors/warnings, it will also log these events, e.g.:

Apr 8 19:36:01 server2 smartd[13160]: Device: /dev/hda, SMART Usage Attribute: 194 Temperature_Celsius changed from 36 to 37

(This is of course no error or warning, just something interesting.)

Errors and warnings will also be sent to a user/email address if you told smartd to do so.

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