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HDD Vibration affecting performance: not just a myth

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So, I always thought this was a load of crap... until this week.

I recently upgraded from 1TB drives to 2TB drives in my pool. After the migration was complete I ran a simple dd benchmark to make sure things were good and saw this:
Code:
extended device statistics
    r/s    w/s   kr/s   kw/s wait actv wsvc_t asvc_t  %w  %b device
    0.0  125.6    0.0 13686.5  1.4  0.2   11.1    1.3  18  16 c6t0d0
    0.0  126.2    0.0 13835.3  1.4  0.2   11.3    1.3  18  16 c6t2d0
    0.0  125.0    0.0 13688.1  1.4  0.2   11.1    1.3  18  16 c6t3d0
    0.0  108.6    0.0 11309.7  0.0  7.5    0.0   69.4   0  82 c6t7d0  <------- Yikes!!!
    0.0  126.0    0.0 13834.5  0.0  1.6    0.0   12.4   1  18 c7t0d0
    0.0  128.8    0.0 13840.9  0.0  1.5    0.1   12.0   1  18 c7t2d0
    0.0  124.0    0.0 13684.1  0.0  2.3    0.0   18.2   0  24 c7t3d0
    0.0  127.0    0.0 13835.3  1.3  0.1   10.0    1.1  17  14 c7t4d0
    0.0  125.6    0.0 13685.7  1.3  0.2   10.6    1.3  17  16 c6t1d0
    0.0  123.2    0.0 13684.9  0.0  2.1    0.0   16.8   0  24 c7t1d0

I replaced the cable, same thing. The power connector, same thing. So then I replaced the drive and it got better. But once I put the new drive in the same slot as the old drive things got bad again. Very puzzling. Then I remembered the youtube video of (I think it was Brandon Gregg) literally shouting at hard drives and making service times spike during I/O ops. So I pulled the drive cage out, and sure enough one of the screws holding the drive had not been tightened enough. I pulled all four drives out their cage and put them back in a different order and make sure they were nice and tight. That alone literally solved the problem:

Before:
Code:
# ./dd_bench mp2
+ dd if=/dev/zero of=//mp2/dd.tst bs=1024000 count=10000
10000+0 records in
10000+0 records out
10240000000 bytes (10 GB) copied, 68.8307 s, 149 MB/s

real    1m8.84s
user    0m0.04s
sys     0m14.70s
+ dd if=//mp2/dd.tst of=/dev/null bs=1024000
10000+0 records in
10000+0 records out
10240000000 bytes (10 GB) copied, 20.8435 s, 491 MB/s

real    0m20.86s
user    0m0.04s
sys     0m10.88s

After:
Code:
# ./dd_bench mp2
+ dd if=/dev/zero of=//mp2/dd.tst bs=1024000 count=10000
10000+0 records in
10000+0 records out
10240000000 bytes (10 GB) copied, 22.0691 s, 464 MB/s

real    0m22.13s
user    0m0.04s
sys     0m15.53s
+ dd if=//mp2/dd.tst of=/dev/null bs=1024000
10000+0 records in
10000+0 records out
10240000000 bytes (10 GB) copied, 18.0732 s, 567 MB/s

real    0m18.08s
user    0m0.04s
sys     0m10.61s
post #2 of 10
Wow, i rarely use all the screws on a HDD. Its such a pain sometimes when you're dealing with multiple hard drives and those tiny screws. I never thought it would have an adverse impact on performance though. Thanks for taking the time to research and post this.
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Numba1Stunna
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post #3 of 10
Rep to OP for this scientific discovery.
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Here is the video I saw back in '08:
post #5 of 10
I believe it without question. The heads are riding on a cushion of air, start adding waves into that cushion...you have issues.
    
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post #6 of 10
Good job OP. A friend of mine ran into a similar problem, except his drives were being physically damaged and had to be RMA'ed. His were left on a table (it was a crazy long project, so they were laying around for months) that was apparently vibrating really hard. He RMA'd two of them before he realized it, then switched to an SSD which worked flawlessly, then finally made a rigid structure with foam dampening for an HDD again. No problems since then.

I am still shocked, there must have been some nasty vibrations at work. Or he was doing something stupid and didn't tell me.
    
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post #7 of 10
Good read.
    
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post #8 of 10
I'd always been conscious that vibration can not only affect performance, but also the life span of mechanical drives. However rep's to the OP for highlighting this and providing some stats to back up his personal experiences. smile.gif
post #9 of 10
So you're saying that the drive being loose was causing the issue? What about vibration even when the drives are all securely mounted with tight screws? You still get a ton of vibrations in certain cases and sometimes that pulsing resonance effect. In my FT02 case (really horrible HDD mounts) with 5 HDDs I could hear this slow pulsing drone; vwooOOOoomvwooOOOoomvwooOOOoomvwooOOOoom.

And what about 'soft' mounted drives (rubber grommets) or suspended drives?

What about cases with crappy HDD mounts that put the HDD in a plastic cradle which then slides into the case, and the cradle itself is sometimes slightly loose in the case?
Edited by Oubadah - 7/21/12 at 6:30pm
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubadah View Post

So you're saying that the drive being loose was causing the issue? What about vibration even when the drives are all securely mounted with tight screws? You still get a ton of vibrations in certain cases and sometimes that pulsing resonance effect. In my FT02 case (really horrible HDD mounts) with 5 HDDs I could hear this slow pulsing drone; vwooOOOoomvwooOOOoomvwooOOOoomvwooOOOoom.
And what about 'soft' mounted drives (rubber grommets) or suspended drives?
What about cases with crappy HDD mounts that put the HDD in a plastic cradle which then slides into the case, and the cradle itself is sometimes slightly loose in the case?

Convenience has a cost.
    
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