[SATLUG] Bittorrent and Hard drive failure

Don Wright satlug at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jul 29 18:28:41 CDT 2009

On Wed, 29 Jul 2009 15:00:10 -0500, MK Davis Jr <gtmo321 at earthlink.net>

>While doing  large bit torrent download, I've had two hard drives to 
>fail during or within days thereof.  I've googled  and there appears to 
>be some concern that a failure maybe caused by excessive  Hdrive usage. 

Hmm, I expected more responses by now. Time to stir the anthill.

Yes, a bittorrent transfer is one of the more stressful uses of a disk
drive. Consumer-grade drives were built with the expectation that disk
access would be infrequent and mostly sequential. Bittorrent transfers
(which by definition are both client and server) involve a lot of random
positioning and continuous operation for hours at a time. They are much
more like a database with random requests from hundreds of users than a
simple file download. 

What can be done? 
1. Install more RAM. Linux can use spare system memory to make disk
access faster and easier on the hardware.
2. Turn off unneeded options. Add noatime to the /etc/fstab entry for
your data drive so every read of a file doesn't cause a write to the
directory. (You _do_ have a separate data drive, yes?)
3. Keep it cool. Running a drive close to the maximum temperature
aggravates the stress on its components.
4. Slow it down. Consider limiting the torrent bandwidth usage and
number of connections. This will reduce the number of read/write
requests per second, allowing the drive some breathing room.
5. Throw technology at it. RAID can spread the workload among multiple
drives and reduce the chance of expensive data loss when a cheap drive
6. Get a bigger truck. Perhaps you should be using server drives that
are built, warranted, and priced for such heavy use.

I like Bittorrent because it spreads the pain around. Unfortunately
there's also more pain to be spread around.  --Don

A computer is a hole in your desk you pour time into.

More information about the SATLUG mailing list