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I have Linux server with a 3ware 9550SX SATA RAID controller with several disks attached. One of them is a 2TB disk that I'm using for backups. It's a normal desktop disk (i.e. not for 24/7) and I want that disk to spin down when it's idle for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, hdparm -S 240 on the device gives me HDIO_DRIVE_CMD(setidl1) failed: Invalid argument.

Is there another way to spin down the drive or do I really have to walk down in the cellar, delete the unit, pull it out of the bay, after every incremental backup?

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what does hdparm -C tell you? what mfg/model is the drive? – quack quixote Dec 6 '09 at 21:48
It says "drive state is: unknown". -i/-I also give errors. I can test the drive with -t but that probably doesn't use any low-level commands. – Aaron Digulla Dec 7 '09 at 20:06
Ancient question, voting to close. – Nifle Aug 17 '11 at 13:55
Why? The question is still relevant. – Aaron Digulla Aug 17 '11 at 15:17
I did this with quite a few questions with zero votes and zero answers. Mostly to remove a bit of SU clutter. Your comment should keep it from getting any more votes so it is in no danger of being closed. As it is still relevant may I suggest that you edit the question and perhaps add a little more info. That will bump the question to the Active question front page and you'll have a greater chance of getting an answer. Another way to attract attention would be to add a bounty on the question. – Nifle Aug 20 '11 at 10:13
up vote 0 down vote accepted

With a new enough 3ware firmware and smartctl, you can set the drive standby timeout like this (port #5 in this exmaple);

smartctl -d 3ware,5 -s standby,7 /dev/twa0

The 7 is the timeout, see the description of the "hdparm -s" option for a description of what the values mean.

Current firmwares handle spun down drives correct and will not accidentally spin them up or kick them out.

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Thanks, I'll try that ASAP. And shouldn't that be hdparm -S (upper case)? – Aaron Digulla Jun 26 '13 at 15:04

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