Reliability of USB-connected drives

keep in mind that the usb3 hdd’s often aren’t made for 24/7 operation, thus might require some cooling holes and then there is ofc the question of usb stability, but usually that’s the controller and because it’s cheap… i bet lenovo is stable as a rock.

but do check the temp on your drives just to ensure the atleast are within reasonable ranges, as it can lead to early disk failures, ofc it may not be an issue… just saying it’s a common problem.

yes you are right, i am aware of this.

I decided to go cheap and i know what it means. I cant lose a node any time.

My oldest USB drive is 16 month old running H24. I know it is silently slipping to the point it would completely fail. Sadly, you can’t monitor the temp or health on USB disks since they wont respond to S.M.A.R.T commands. Or maybe i did not found the right tool.

A mitigate strategy is to copy datas to a new one with rsync when a disk ages, stop and restart the node with the newest.

And yes, the lenovo X260 is stable as a rock on Ubuntu 20.04, never had a single issue at all.

hmmm the smart usb thing maybe right… but i do know they said the same thing about getting smart data through a raid controller… and thats just a matter of knowing the right commands, but i think one basically uses like a driver or instruction set like thing of the controller which then relay the smart data…

atleast on the raid controller… haven’t really had a need to get it over usb… or i cannot remember having the issue… but been running mainly windows until recently… and lots of difficult stuff is sometime easy in windows… :smiley:

just checked does seem like most usb controllers won’t passthrough smart data… or some people claim… knowing this stuff for sure often requires more time than it maybe worth lol

but then again… most usb sata controllers… which means some will pass smart data…

i can’t believe that in this day and age people wouldn’t have a way to relay smart data over a usb controller… might not be simple tho… but i’m sure its there somewhere…
ofc it may cost money to make it work… in which case its not there lol they going to save every penny they can

Well on linux it highly depends on the controller that’s in the USB enclosure. Some are recognized, and some other aren’t…
In my experience most aren’t though, which is a pain.
Only one of my enclosures (out of 4) has its SMART info readable on Linux (at least with raspbian, but I would expect it to work with other debian-like distributions).

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Hmm all my 3 enclosures respond to SMART commands on windows and linux.

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i guess you didn’t buy the “cheap” version :smiley:
are they the same brand, model or maybe from a particular store that may take such things into account?

i do have a few usb to sata controllers i could run a few tests on, would be interesting to see how many of the 5 + i got access to can actually take to smart… tho one of them is an usb to ide, pata or whatever it’s called think the disks usually have smart tho… but cannot say i’ve paid much attention to it… i guess not all ide hdd’s would have smart as i’m pretty sure i can remember when that was a new thing…

Got Inateck enclosures, those are fine.

apparently better than avg it seems

As this is getting offtopic, maybe somebody split the topic?

I managed to get S.M.A.R.T datas on a USB Toshiba Canvio basic 4TB with this command:

sudo smartctl -d sat --all /dev/sdd


My 2 other disks (Seagate Expansion 4TB) it is not supported because the linux kernel disable SAT ATA PASS-THROUGH for this vendor : . I did not try the workaround.

I have a Seagate Backup Plus HDD Model STDR4000902 (with an ST4000LM024-2AN17V inside). Has been excellent. Has been running 24/7 exclusively for Storj since August 2017. Other than me underpowering the drive for the majority of this time (PSA, use a powered usb hub when running on RPi/rock64/SBCs), which caused a few corruption issues and many avoidable load/unload cycles, it has been very reliable. No problems with the USB stability. This is under Debian on a rock64. No problems accessing the SMART data with smartctl. I think I got lucky on this drive though.

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Since USB drives/ USB enclosures are not made for the use case we do as storage node operators, Maybe we should start a database on what models works / what are the ones to be avoided / SMART available / reasons / etc ? Would be useful for newcommers and if we plan to upgrade/replace disks


thats interesting… saw something about having poor cables to power tools giving them inadequate voltage and thus they would pull more amp’s i think and or heat up the circuits, which could damage or inadversely affect them…

@buchette certainly not a bad idea… tho i would suspect there are almost as many different usb enclosures as there are stars in the night skies… seems like a daunting task to track that… but i suppose it’s as simple as setting up the ability for people to plot data into the database and then just see where it goes.