path: root/Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt
diff options
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt')
1 files changed, 149 insertions, 0 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt b/Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt
new file mode 100644
index 00000000..0e6ba266
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,149 @@
+Hard disk shock protection
+Author: Elias Oltmanns <eo@nebensachen.de>
+Last modified: 2008-10-03
+0. Contents
+1. Intro
+2. The interface
+3. References
+1. Intro
+ATA/ATAPI-7 specifies the IDLE IMMEDIATE command with unload feature.
+Issuing this command should cause the drive to switch to idle mode and
+unload disk heads. This feature is being used in modern laptops in
+conjunction with accelerometers and appropriate software to implement
+a shock protection facility. The idea is to stop all I/O operations on
+the internal hard drive and park its heads on the ramp when critical
+situations are anticipated. The desire to have such a feature
+available on GNU/Linux systems has been the original motivation to
+implement a generic disk head parking interface in the Linux kernel.
+Please note, however, that other components have to be set up on your
+system in order to get disk shock protection working (see
+section 3. References below for pointers to more information about
+2. The interface
+For each ATA device, the kernel exports the file
+block/*/device/unload_heads in sysfs (here assumed to be mounted under
+/sys). Access to /sys/block/*/device/unload_heads is denied with
+-EOPNOTSUPP if the device does not support the unload feature.
+Otherwise, writing an integer value to this file will take the heads
+of the respective drive off the platter and block all I/O operations
+for the specified number of milliseconds. When the timeout expires and
+no further disk head park request has been issued in the meantime,
+normal operation will be resumed. The maximal value accepted for a
+timeout is 30000 milliseconds. Exceeding this limit will return
+-EOVERFLOW, but heads will be parked anyway and the timeout will be
+set to 30 seconds. However, you can always change a timeout to any
+value between 0 and 30000 by issuing a subsequent head park request
+before the timeout of the previous one has expired. In particular, the
+total timeout can exceed 30 seconds and, more importantly, you can
+cancel a previously set timeout and resume normal operation
+immediately by specifying a timeout of 0. Values below -2 are rejected
+with -EINVAL (see below for the special meaning of -1 and -2). If the
+timeout specified for a recent head park request has not yet expired,
+reading from /sys/block/*/device/unload_heads will report the number
+of milliseconds remaining until normal operation will be resumed;
+otherwise, reading the unload_heads attribute will return 0.
+For example, do the following in order to park the heads of drive
+/dev/sda and stop all I/O operations for five seconds:
+# echo 5000 > /sys/block/sda/device/unload_heads
+A simple
+# cat /sys/block/sda/device/unload_heads
+will show you how many milliseconds are left before normal operation
+will be resumed.
+A word of caution: The fact that the interface operates on a basis of
+milliseconds may raise expectations that cannot be satisfied in
+reality. In fact, the ATA specs clearly state that the time for an
+unload operation to complete is vendor specific. The hint in ATA-7
+that this will typically be within 500 milliseconds apparently has
+been dropped in ATA-8.
+There is a technical detail of this implementation that may cause some
+confusion and should be discussed here. When a head park request has
+been issued to a device successfully, all I/O operations on the
+controller port this device is attached to will be deferred. That is
+to say, any other device that may be connected to the same port will
+be affected too. The only exception is that a subsequent head unload
+request to that other device will be executed immediately. Further
+operations on that port will be deferred until the timeout specified
+for either device on the port has expired. As far as PATA (old style
+IDE) configurations are concerned, there can only be two devices
+attached to any single port. In SATA world we have port multipliers
+which means that a user-issued head parking request to one device may
+actually result in stopping I/O to a whole bunch of devices. However,
+since this feature is supposed to be used on laptops and does not seem
+to be very useful in any other environment, there will be mostly one
+device per port. Even if the CD/DVD writer happens to be connected to
+the same port as the hard drive, it generally *should* recover just
+fine from the occasional buffer under-run incurred by a head park
+request to the HD. Actually, when you are using an ide driver rather
+than its libata counterpart (i.e. your disk is called /dev/hda
+instead of /dev/sda), then parking the heads of one drive (drive X)
+will generally not affect the mode of operation of another drive
+(drive Y) on the same port as described above. It is only when a port
+reset is required to recover from an exception on drive Y that further
+I/O operations on that drive (and the reset itself) will be delayed
+until drive X is no longer in the parked state.
+Finally, there are some hard drives that only comply with an earlier
+version of the ATA standard than ATA-7, but do support the unload
+feature nonetheless. Unfortunately, there is no safe way Linux can
+detect these devices, so you won't be able to write to the
+unload_heads attribute. If you know that your device really does
+support the unload feature (for instance, because the vendor of your
+laptop or the hard drive itself told you so), then you can tell the
+kernel to enable the usage of this feature for that drive by writing
+the special value -1 to the unload_heads attribute:
+# echo -1 > /sys/block/sda/device/unload_heads
+will enable the feature for /dev/sda, and giving -2 instead of -1 will
+disable it again.
+3. References
+There are several laptops from different vendors featuring shock
+protection capabilities. As manufacturers have refused to support open
+source development of the required software components so far, Linux
+support for shock protection varies considerably between different
+hardware implementations. Ideally, this section should contain a list
+of pointers at different projects aiming at an implementation of shock
+protection on different systems. Unfortunately, I only know of a
+single project which, although still considered experimental, is fit
+for use. Please feel free to add projects that have been the victims
+of my ignorance.
+- http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/HDAPS
+ See this page for information about Linux support of the hard disk
+ active protection system as implemented in IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads.
+This implementation of disk head parking has been inspired by a patch
+originally published by Jon Escombe <lists@dresco.co.uk>. My efforts
+to develop an implementation of this feature that is fit to be merged
+into mainline have been aided by various kernel developers, in
+particular by Tejun Heo and Bartlomiej Zolnierkiewicz.