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Hardware Thread, RAID Dead Please help (Dell Adaptec Perc 5/i) in Technical; Came in to find the main file server had died. Tried to boot but the logical drive is broken causing ...
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    RAID Dead Please help (Dell Adaptec Perc 5/i)

    Came in to find the main file server had died. Tried to boot but the logical drive is broken causing the system to see no boot devices.
    I go into the Perc Raid setup and find that 2 physical disks of the 4 which form the RAID5 array are showing as missing/forgien copnfiguration.

    1 of the disks looks like it is well gone as the warning lights are flashing but the other may be ok. Is there any way of joining these 2 disks (or just 1) back to the array in order to recover teh data?

    To make things worse this server may not have a working backup


    The RAID is just a plain old RAID 5 with no hot spare.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 28th October 2008 at 01:51 PM.

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    Any thoughts, comments, ideas??

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Can you reinsert the drive that may not have physically failed to see if you can get the array back to a degraded state ready for a new hard drive?

    Ben

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    Sparky - don't panic - yet!

    It is possible that two disks have failed simultaneously but it is unlikely. I have been in a similar situation before. I suspect that you may have a firmware error in all four disks even though it is presently only manifesting itself in two of them.

    Do you still have warranty support with Dell? If so, I would contact them for detailed hand-holding as sorting this out is both complex and also involves a fairly high risk of data loss as it is not guaranteed that the solution will fix the problem.

    I would also get the system tag no and look up Dell support on-line for tech advisories in respect of disks. You may have to identify the disk manufacturer and model.

    If you are suffering the same problem I did the annoying thing is that Dell classified the fix as non-urgent. The fix involves identifying the order in which the disks failed, attempting to restart them in the same order and then updating the firmware on the disks and finally updating the firmware on the disks that are still working. The devil is in the detail as you would expect, hence the suggestion to speak to Dell support.

    If the fix fails then the only other solution is a full tape restore.....

    If you want to take this 'conversation' outside the public arena, post an email address.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Pay someone to recover data. You should have a backup. I've just been fixing two corrupt SIMS databases after the hdd failed, not fun.

    Not sure if you slap another disc in if it'll either 1 repair it's self (which it should), or destory it. You should have tested the raid before making it live so you should be ok here

    Good luck. We've all made the these mistakes and smart people rush out and get a good backup solution after\during it (or start using it )

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    Cheers for the replys people. Will look into Dell support.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 28th October 2008 at 05:19 PM.

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    Also gunna try the dell tools tomorrow to see what they say.


    Does anyone know of any methods of adding disks back to arrays even when they think they dont belong? Im sure atleast one disk must contain atleast most of the data. If we lose some data then so be it but thats still better than nothing at all.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 28th October 2008 at 08:50 PM.

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    In a RAID array the data is spread accross the drives entirely, one chunk of a file will be on 1 drive and the other will be on the next drive. they don't fill one drive up and start using the next. Data recovery from one drive would probably yeild very very little usable data.

    I would get in touch with dell and see what they can suggest, failing that if the data MUST be recovered then contact a data recovery company ASAP. Its expensive but then again so is losing the data.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamman960 View Post
    In a RAID array the data is spread accross the drives entirely, one chunk of a file will be on 1 drive and the other will be on the next drive. they don't fill one drive up and start using the next. Data recovery from one drive would probably yeild very very little usable data.

    I would get in touch with dell and see what they can suggest, failing that if the data MUST be recovered then contact a data recovery company ASAP. Its expensive but then again so is losing the data.
    Yeah i know that cheers but im quite sure atleast 3 drives of the 4 will be recoverable, which is all you need for a RAID5 array to recover the data. I was wondering if anyone knew the methods the data recovery company would use to force these 3 disks back together

    Cheers
    Last edited by j17sparky; 29th October 2008 at 10:14 AM.

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    If you've lost two disks then I doubt you'll get much back of use. Very unfortunate

    Butuz

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    Proper data recovery companies use specialist equipment to either repair the drives or recover the data off the hard drives.
    My best recommendation is to switch off the file server, unplug it from the mains and leave well alone until you can get specialist support from either Dell or a data recovery company.
    Be warned that Dell will take no responsibility for loss of data and what they get you to do may make it harder to recover the data.
    The more you fiddle, the greater the risk of damaging the data that is on there and making it much more difficult and therefore more expensive to recover the data.
    My advise is if the data is critical and you have no backup, seek the help of a decent data recovery company. It will be expensive, probably 1-2k.

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    Sorted.

    As i suspected only 1 of the disked was actually broken, the other had just fell off the array. In order to fix the problem i had to go into the Perc BIOS and "Import" the "Foreign" configuration. (Quite easy and obvious really but not something which i could have taken upon myself to do without the go ahead of someone in the know)

    Booted the server up and all is well, barring the obvious implications of having a RAID5 array with a missing disk.

    Last edited by j17sparky; 29th October 2008 at 02:04 PM.

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    Hows the backup coming?

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    Good news! What I would do now is get on to Dell and get a replacement hard drive for the dead one and to avoid this problem in the future if there is space get an extra hard drive to act as a hot spare. Done this in all our servers now as we had a spate of hard drive failures. Of course, since putting in the hot spares none have failed!

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    Good news! What I would do now is get on to Dell and get a replacement hard drive for the dead one and to avoid this problem in the future if there is space get an extra hard drive to act as a hot spare. Done this in all our servers now as we had a spate of hard drive failures. Of course, since putting in the hot spares none have failed!
    Yep thats my recommendation. The dell support guy actually looked into the firmware as you suggested. He didnt see any reported problems but got me to send him a diagnostic report on all the hardware which forms the array just to make sure, he is analysing it now. You cant knock dell server support!


    On the backup front it looks asthough we would have been ok, missing a few days but most of it would be fine. Still not good enough imo so something to look at. The problem we have had is our SDLT320 will only hold 240gb give or take after compression which ment we can only backup half of the server at a time, resulting in an absolute maximum best case senario of "missing a day or 2 on half the server, other half ok" which still isnt good enough imo. Found 1 tape which should be fine had failed.
    The tape with most of the data on is still trundling away after 3 hours and has only completed 19% of its restore, it still may fail and in either case would have ment downtime of atleast a couple of days, again not good enough imo.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 29th October 2008 at 02:34 PM.

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