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SMART Disk Diagnosis

SMART is a monitoring system, included in most modern hard disks, that attempts to diagnose disk health and predict impending drive failure. The smartctl/smartd utility of smartmontools is the standard for Linux/Unix and versions of it are available for Windows as well. DiskCheckup also seems to be a good utility for Windows. Many modern controller and RAID cards will refuse to acknowledge a disk if it reports SMART Failed status.

RAID Levels

This is a summary of standard and nested RAID levels that I might implement either in a small home/office environment or from enterprise vendors. I'm avoiding the rarely-seen levels like 2, 3, and 4 as well as vendor-specific "RAID" implementations like RAID-S or X-RAID. Fortunately, many major vendors like Dell, Supermicro, and Silicon Mechanics are rigorous about following standards. RAID is formally defined in the SNIA Common RAID Disk Data Format specification, latest release March 2009.

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