We have only recently started using SMART. From what I understand so far its not going to save your drive only tell you that its failing. Which will definitely come in handy if we can correct the problem before the data is lost.
If you want sustain write/read rates use IBM. You can use a compact flash disk or a 2.5 inch drive for the OS.
Im not sure what you mean by this. IBM drives better at write/read?
Im not sure where the advantage in a compact flash OS would be.
We are using microATX desktop cases for most of our machines. So there is no place for a 2.5 drive. Although there is probably some adapter for 3.5 internal bay. Still not sure what the advantage would be. Less heat?
I know all too well about careless customers. We do security for a lot of retail stores. The store managers don't really care what happens to our equiptment. They didnt buy it their owners did. The machines get power cycled way too often, which is probably explains some of our HD problems. However, the power cycles are still less than the average desktop.
Im currently looking into backup solutions. Some sort of storage server in a smaller case to run along side the DVR. Off site is not really an option for most of our customers. We sell 4, 8, and 16 camera units. Each camera records about 1.5 gigs a day. Do the math thats way too much to backup off site without a fat connection.