S.M.A.R.T is a self-controlling system for harddrives and you should find it in almost any reasonable (even older) harddrive nowadays.
One problem is that you use your harddrives for a long time without knowing their actual status. But there is a very nice solution to at least get information about your harddrives called smartmontools.
Install this package with YaST, if it is not already installed on your system, then open a root console or a sudo console and use
smartctl -a /dev/hda
- change the path to the path applicable for your drive, mostly /dev/sda/ might do the trick.
You will get an output of many parameters - be careful if the values drop under or are near the threshold - in my older drives there are actually a lot of values marked pre-fail. What is there to do as well?
smartctl -H /dev/hda
will give you the overall health status of your drive. You can also initiate a short or a long self-test for your drive by commanding
smartctl -t short /dev/hda or smartctl -t long /dev/hda
Please note: the long test might run several hours... after running the test you can see the result with the option -a again.
This does not make you entirely safe but you will get a good overview when you should have good backups. (BTW - you can't ever have enough backups)