I have a HP Microserver N36L edition (one of the first ones) with a couple of 2TB disks mirrored as a backup server. Yesterday one of the drives started to make noises, so after a backup, I checked out what was up.

According to the BIOS RAID utility, the first disk was the failing one, so I removed that. Oddly the AMD RAID controller BIOS utility had no way to repair the array (I could only create or delete). HP’s MicroServer support and downloads page listed a RAID management utility called RAIDXpert (when it actually worked at all), but it was only linked to a page on AMD’s site. This led to a broken link with no downloads. Googling the AMD site for RAIDXpert led to a page with only a PDF instruction manual for RAIDXpert – thanks a lot AMD.

Fortunately more Googling and Softpedia came to the rescue with old copies of the relevant software. Installed and ran; nominated the replacement disk as a spare and the rebuild started. Yay.

The failed disk was a WD20EADS Caviar Green, with a May 2009 date on the label. So it lasted six years – that’s pretty impressive for spinning rust. Checking the SMART data reveals a lot of reallocated sectors, which pretty much what I expected. Interestingly this had a power-on-hours of 49,120. That’s 5.6 years use – almost continual usage since I purchased it.

So a nod to those unsung heroes in the engineering departments of hard disk manufacturers who have created incredibly reliable devices that we so often take for granted.