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Using bootable CDRom to test HDDs on N54L running ESXi5.5


venturis
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Hi Guys,

 

I've been happily running ESXi 5.5 on my N54L for over quite some time now and very happy with the way its' working.

 

I have 4 HDD's as the data drives for various VM's with the VM's running on the 5th SATA port on an SSD and a second SSD running on the ESATA.

 

Everything is working fine but I'm always a little concerned that disk failure might creep up and bite me one day.  With ESXI5.5 its not possible to get disk health information from SMART or do any garbage collection on the SSD so I was wondering if anyone has a method of doing a periodic disk test to check the health of their drives outside of ESXi.

 

I was considering using one of the many free Bootable CD's that contain various testing utilities like Hiren's Boot CD or UBCD.

 

Using the disk I would shut down ESXI once every month or two, fire up the N54L from the bootable CD and run some disk tests on the mechanical and SSD's to check that they are all ok.

 

If anyone has done something similar or can see problems with this approach I'd appreciate hearing from you.

 

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Depending on which SSD you have, the manufacturer may have a testing utility -- Intel does.

 

The other important thing to do is have backup. Of course, your data should be backed up, but I would also have clone images of your boot SSD.

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Hi Guys,

 

I've been happily running ESXi 5.5 on my N54L for over quite some time now and very happy with the way its' working.

 

I have 4 HDD's as the data drives for various VM's with the VM's running on the 5th SATA port on an SSD and a second SSD running on the ESATA.

 

Everything is working fine but I'm always a little concerned that disk failure might creep up and bite me one day.  With ESXI5.5 its not possible to get disk health information from SMART or do any garbage collection on the SSD so I was wondering if anyone has a method of doing a periodic disk test to check the health of their drives outside of ESXi.

 

I was considering using one of the many free Bootable CD's that contain various testing utilities like Hiren's Boot CD or UBCD.

 

Using the disk I would shut down ESXI once every month or two, fire up the N54L from the bootable CD and run some disk tests on the mechanical and SSD's to check that they are all ok.

 

If anyone has done something similar or can see problems with this approach I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Have you tried it yet? Assuming you were able to see what you wanted, run the tests you wanted, the only negative I can think of is remembering to do this periodically. I suppose you could schedule reminders on your phone. 

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Thanks guys. I haven't tried anything yet. I'm still trying to narrow down which of the many bootable cdroms on the internet will do what I want.

 

I have both a Vertex2 and Sandisk SSD of which the Vertex2 does have its own utility but hoping to find something that will do all my disks.

 

I have a good backup routine so not too worried about losing data but it's really about prevention rather than cure. I want to be ahead of a failure happening and save myself hours or days of rebuilding when it's least convenient.

 

I'm looking for a windows based util that will check my mechanical hdds and SSD.

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Some feedback on my findings with the Bootable HDD diagnostics.

 

After trying a couple of options like UBCD I settled on a product called "BootMed" Version 1.1

 

There is both free and paid versions.  I have not used it extensively yet but it gave me the basic tools to check the HDD SMART which incidentally revealed that one of my WD Green drives had clocked up 287,000 load/unload cycle counts in 18 months.

 

I took the opportunity to use WDIDLE3 to turn off the head parking and hopefully save myself an early drive failure.

 

I believe "Parted Magic" which is contained on the BootMed iso allows TRIM command to be executed on SDD drives but I need to wait until the weekend before I have enough time to investigate further.

 

I have the HP Remote Access Card which has been a great time saver for this sort of maintenance activities.  I can leave my N54L untouched in its installed location and use the remote media tools and remote KVM to access the box and run all sorts of bare metal diagnostics from the virtual console without going near the box.  

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You should also check out  Stablebit's Drivescanner program from CoveCube

 

it does provide SMART diagnostics plus more info  real time.  No need to boot into another environment.

 

A fully functional 30 day free trial. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Unlikely that it will RUN on ESXi... (read the first post carefully!)

That's what I thought too until I came across a forum posting on another site claiming to have been able to get SMART data from an RDM mapped HDD in a virtual machine under ESXi.

 

Take a look at my last posting in which I provide the details and link to the associated post.

 

Maybe Al_Borges already knew of this possibility when he posted his comment.

 

I haven't been able to get it working myself but maybe its something I'm doing wrong, hardware dependent or just not possible with WHS2011.

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