Like many other times I had to retrieve the serial number of a faulty SATA drive on a Linux box. You should retrieve and compare the serial number before replacing to reduce the chance of replacing a working drive instead of a faulty drive. Hdparm is a utility that allows for the retrieval of the serial number, if I remember correctly hdparm is included by default on Ubuntu, Scientific Linux users can install hdparm from the repositories by using yum install hdparm. Note: hdparm requires access to the root account or similar.
The hdparm output will be rather long, but all you need to look for is Serial Number: xx-xxxxxxxxx, this is where the serial number for the drive is contained.
# hdparm -I /dev/sdf
ATA device, with non-removable media
Model Number: WDC WD5001AALS-00L3B2
Serial Number: WD-WMASZ0044725
Firmware Revision: 01.03B01
Transport: Serial, SATA 1.0a, SATA II Extensions, SATA Rev 2.5
Supported: 8 7 6 5
Likely used: 8
Now you can physically verify whether the drive label matches the serial number you just obtained with the help of hdparm. Check twice you wouldn’t want to pull a working drive instead.