In a bid to reduce the costs of hardware failures, IBM has introduced a new technology called Drive Fitness Test (DFT).
The system involves storing microcode on a protected partition of the hard drive which is used to monitor and record the device's behaviour.
The DFT code is entirely independent of the operating system and in the event of a suspected hard disk failure or error the user can initiate the program.
Unlike the current Smart technology which warns the user of an impending failure, DFT will offer four status reports to aid problem resolution.
These are: drive is defective; drive has been damaged by shock; drive will soon fail (using Smart); and drive is operating correctly.
In the majority of cases, reported hard drive failures are incorrect, which results in unnecessary replacement and associated support costs.
The idea behind DFT is that users and support staff will be able to quickly and easily eliminate the hard drive as the source of a problem.
IBM plans to begin building ATA hard drives with DFT support in the near future, and is considering adding the feature to SCSI drives at a later date.
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