Failing drive detection is one of the core services Watchman Monitoring should provide. Our Disk I/O plugin has saved untold volumes of data from being lost permanently. SMART Reporting can be just as valuable, so long as its done right.
The workhorse in almost all SMART products is smartctl of Smartmontools. The differentiator between products is in the interpretation and reporting of SMART Data. As drives have progressed, we began to suspect a gap our SMART monitoring. Using this theory, that our current tool was passing up unsupported drives, as an acid test, we inspected a number of SMART reporting tools to see how each compared. In the end, it was SMART Utility by Volitans Software which gave the most straightforward results. SMART Utility provided clear reporting of which drives were failing, and plainly reported drives which were not yet supported.
What we’ve found:
- As many as 5% of drives are in early stages of failing. Users of computers with failing drives didn’t know just what was wrong, but knew they weren’t right.
- Another 5% of computers had drives which had recorded an error here or there, but not to the extent they were considered “Failing”.
- There are a number of models of Apple computers which have firmware’s so new and custom that smartmontools hasn’t caught up with. We didn’t consider this a problem, but did want to let that slide by.
The Mac agent 6.4 will contain the SMART Utility based plugin. Subscribers who want to get their hands on this early can visit our Community Forum, where more details have been posted.