Google did a very thorough study on hard drive failures which found that a significant portion of hard drives fail within the first 3 months of heavy usage.
My coworkers and I are thinking we could implement a burn-in process for all our new hard drives that could potentially save us some heartache from losing time on new, untested drives. But before we implement a burn-in process, we would like to get some insight from others who are more experienced:
- How important is it to burn in a hard drive before you start using it?
- How do you implement a burn-in process?
- How long do you burn in a hard drive?
- What software do you use to burn in drives?
- How much stress is too much for a burn-in process?
EDIT: Due to the nature of the business, RAIDs are impossible to use most of the time. We have to rely on single drives that get mailed across the nation quite frequently. We back up drives as soon as we can, but we still encounter failure here and there before we get an opportunity to back up data.
My company has implemented a burn-in process for a while now, and it has proven to be extremely useful. We immediately burn in all new drives that we get in stock, allowing us to find many errors before the warranty expires and before installing them into new computer systems. It has also proven useful to verify that a drive has gone bad. When one of our computers starts encountering errors and a hard drive is the main suspect, we'll rerun the burn-in process on that drive and look at any errors to make sure the drive actually was the problem before starting the RMA process or throwing it in the trash.
Our burn-in process is simple. We have a designated Ubuntu system with lots of SATA ports, and we run badblocks in read/write mode with 4 passes on each drive. To simplify things, we wrote a script that prints a "DATA WILL BE DELETED FROM ALL YOUR DRIVES" warning and then runs badblocks on every drive except the system drive.