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Roberto Ragusa 02-12-2010 10:04 AM

Help Diagnose Slow Disc Access
 
Mike McCarty wrote:

> Can anyone give me advice on how to proceed with diagnostics?

Nothing in /var/log/messages?

What do you get when running hdparm -t a few times? Stable numbers?

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Don Quixote de la Mancha 02-12-2010 10:31 AM

Help Diagnose Slow Disc Access
 
All of the hard drive vendors provide disk drive diagnostic tools,
that are able to access vendor-specific - and undocumented - firmware
in their drives. This diagnostic firmware is able to diagnose drive
hardware problems in a much more thorough way than the vendor-neutral
S.M.A.R.T. is able to.

These utilities are always provided in the form of DOS boot disk
images; one generally has a choice of making a floppy or a CD-ROM.

Some of the vendors also provide diagnostics that can run under
Windows. But the advantage of the DOS boot disks (besides not having
to run Windows), is that you can test your boot drive without having
to disconnect it, and the test is performed on a completely quiescent
system.

The diagnostics are all quite easy to use. Generally there is a
"short test" that just queries the diagnostic firmware, and a "long
test" that does a non-destructive test by reading every sector on your
drive. Some of the diagnostics also include a "drive exerciser" which
tests the drive more rigorously by reading random sectors all over the
drive.

Finally they all have a destructive test, in which the diagnostic
writes zeroes to every sector of the drive.

No matter what, if you think one of your drives might be flaky, back
them both up at once, before doing anything else.

Being fully backed up also gives you the advantage that you can then
run the destructive sector-zeroing test. I feel it's a good thing to
do in any case, just to "exercise the bits".

A while back I downloaded all the diagnostics from all the drive
vendors, and burned a CD for each one. I also keep them around on a
filesystem where I archive all my software installers. They're good
things to have on hand.

I realize that you're using a parallel cable. But a note for anyone
else reading this, who wants to test an SATA drive. Recent versions
of these utilities do support SATA, but they are only able to do so by
embedded device drivers for every SATA controller in existence, in an
executable that starts up from 16-bit DOS.

My experience with the use of these for SATA drives, is that the
diagnostics worked just fine for SATA controllers that were integrated
with the motherboard. But when I tried to use a PCI SATA controller,
the diagnostic couldn't find the drive. The vendor's tech support
just told me that they didn't support PCI SATA controllers, and that I
had to access SATA through the motherboard.

Hope That Help,

Don Quixote
--
Don Quixote de la Mancha
quixote@dulcineatech.com
http://www.dulcineatech.com

Dulcinea Technologies Corporation: Software of Elegance and Beauty.
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Don Quixote de la Mancha 02-12-2010 10:31 AM

Help Diagnose Slow Disc Access
 
All of the hard drive vendors provide disk drive diagnostic tools,
that are able to access vendor-specific - and undocumented - firmware
in their drives. This diagnostic firmware is able to diagnose drive
hardware problems in a much more thorough way than the vendor-neutral
S.M.A.R.T. is able to.

These utilities are always provided in the form of DOS boot disk
images; one generally has a choice of making a floppy or a CD-ROM.

Some of the vendors also provide diagnostics that can run under
Windows. But the advantage of the DOS boot disks (besides not having
to run Windows), is that you can test your boot drive without having
to disconnect it, and the test is performed on a completely quiescent
system.

The diagnostics are all quite easy to use. Generally there is a
"short test" that just queries the diagnostic firmware, and a "long
test" that does a non-destructive test by reading every sector on your
drive. Some of the diagnostics also include a "drive exerciser" which
tests the drive more rigorously by reading random sectors all over the
drive.

Finally they all have a destructive test, in which the diagnostic
writes zeroes to every sector of the drive.

No matter what, if you think one of your drives might be flaky, back
them both up at once, before doing anything else.

Being fully backed up also gives you the advantage that you can then
run the destructive sector-zeroing test. I feel it's a good thing to
do in any case, just to "exercise the bits".

A while back I downloaded all the diagnostics from all the drive
vendors, and burned a CD for each one. I also keep them around on a
filesystem where I archive all my software installers. They're good
things to have on hand.

I realize that you're using a parallel cable. But a note for anyone
else reading this, who wants to test an SATA drive. Recent versions
of these utilities do support SATA, but they are only able to do so by
embedded device drivers for every SATA controller in existence, in an
executable that starts up from 16-bit DOS.

My experience with the use of these for SATA drives, is that the
diagnostics worked just fine for SATA controllers that were integrated
with the motherboard. But when I tried to use a PCI SATA controller,
the diagnostic couldn't find the drive. The vendor's tech support
just told me that they didn't support PCI SATA controllers, and that I
had to access SATA through the motherboard.

Hope That Help,

Don Quixote
--
Don Quixote de la Mancha
quixote@dulcineatech.com
http://www.dulcineatech.com

Dulcinea Technologies Corporation: Software of Elegance and Beauty.
--
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Mike McCarty 02-12-2010 10:40 AM

Help Diagnose Slow Disc Access
 
Roberto Ragusa wrote:
> Mike McCarty wrote:
>
>> Can anyone give me advice on how to proceed with diagnostics?
>
> Nothing in /var/log/messages?
>
> What do you get when running hdparm -t a few times? Stable numbers?

Yes. I tried each disc three times, and here are the values look
consistent with each other.

$ sudo /sbin/hdparm -t /dev/hda

/dev/hda:
Timing buffered disk reads: 110 MB in 3.02 seconds = 36.43 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 112 MB in 3.04 seconds = 36.82 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 112 MB in 3.03 seconds = 37.02 MB/sec

$ sudo /sbin/hdparm -t /dev/hdb

/dev/hdb:
Timing buffered disk reads: 168 MB in 4.06 seconds = 41.42 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 168 MB in 4.03 seconds = 41.65 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 168 MB in 4.12 seconds = 40.80 MB/sec

Here's /var/log/messages

]$ sudo grep hd[ab] /var/log/messages
Feb 12 02:08:07 Presario-1 fsck: /dev/hdb1

[repeats deleted]

Feb 12 03:40:40 Presario-1 smartd[2632]: Device: /dev/hda, opened
Feb 12 03:40:40 Presario-1 smartd[2632]: Device: /dev/hda, not found in
smartd database.
Feb 12 03:40:40 Presario-1 smartd[2632]: Device: /dev/hda, is SMART
capable. Adding to "monitor" list.
Feb 12 03:40:42 Presario-1 kernel: ide0: BM-DMA at 0xfc00-0xfc07,
BIOS settings: hda:DMA, hdb:DMA
Feb 12 03:40:43 Presario-1 kernel: hda: WDC WD400EB-11CPF0, ATA DISK drive
Feb 12 03:40:44 Presario-1 kernel: hdb: WDC WD3200AAJB-00WGA0, ATA DISK
drive
Feb 12 03:40:44 Presario-1 kernel: hda: max request size: 128KiB
Feb 12 03:40:45 Presario-1 kernel: hda: 78165360 sectors (40020 MB)
w/2048KiB Cache, CHS=65535/16/63, UDMA(100)
Feb 12 03:40:47 Presario-1 kernel: hda: hda1 hda2 hda3 hda4 < hda5 hda6 >
Feb 12 03:40:48 Presario-1 kernel: hdb: max request size: 1024KiB
Feb 12 03:40:49 Presario-1 kernel: hdb: 625142448 sectors (320072 MB)
w/8192KiB Cache, CHS=38913/255/63, UDMA(100)
Feb 12 03:40:49 Presario-1 kernel: hdb: hdb1
Feb 12 03:40:50 Presario-1 kernel: EXT3 FS on hda5, internal journal
Feb 12 03:40:50 Presario-1 kernel: Adding 524120k swap on /dev/hda6.
Priority:-1 extents:1
Feb 12 03:40:50 Presario-1 kernel: EXT3 FS on hdb1, internal journal
Feb 12 03:40:50 Presario-1 kernel: EXT3 FS on hda3, internal journal
Feb 12 03:39:51 Presario-1 fsck: /dev/hdb1: 325672/39075840 files (3.5%
non-contiguous), 37874482/78142160 blocks

I deleted repeats in a few places of lines similar to the one
just before "[repeats deleted]"

Mike
--
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Oppose globalization and One World Governments like the UN.
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Alan Cox 02-12-2010 10:40 AM

Help Diagnose Slow Disc Access
 
> /dev/hda5 on / type ext3 (rw)
> /dev/hdb1 on /home type ext3 (rw)
> /dev/hda3 on /boot type ext3 (rw)

That looks like a truely ancient Fedora ?

You also want to avoid two disks on one cable as the IDE interface only
allows one of them to be active at a time so its a good way to cripple
performance.

Alan
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Alan Cox 02-12-2010 10:40 AM

Help Diagnose Slow Disc Access
 
> /dev/hda5 on / type ext3 (rw)
> /dev/hdb1 on /home type ext3 (rw)
> /dev/hda3 on /boot type ext3 (rw)

That looks like a truely ancient Fedora ?

You also want to avoid two disks on one cable as the IDE interface only
allows one of them to be active at a time so its a good way to cripple
performance.

Alan
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Mike McCarty 02-12-2010 10:45 AM

Help Diagnose Slow Disc Access
 
Alan Cox wrote:
>> /dev/hda5 on / type ext3 (rw)
>> /dev/hdb1 on /home type ext3 (rw)
>> /dev/hda3 on /boot type ext3 (rw)
>
> That looks like a truely ancient Fedora ?

Yes.

> You also want to avoid two disks on one cable as the IDE interface only
> allows one of them to be active at a time so its a good way to cripple
> performance.

I'm aware of that. However, since one of them is mounted as /home,
and the other as /, I rarely use both discs at once. Of course,
swap does get involved with that.

Mike
--
p="p=%c%s%c;main(){printf(p,34,p,34);}";main(){pri ntf(p,34,p,34);}
Oppose globalization and One World Governments like the UN.
This message made from 100% recycled bits.
You have found the bank of Larn.
I speak only for myself, and I am unanimous in that!
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