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hard drive failure in raid5...is my plan accurate? tips?


pest
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It finally happened - one of the drives in my raid 5 array failed.

 

Computer Specs:

WHS 2011

QX9650

4GB mushkin ddr3-1600

WD raptor 100GB OS drive

WD10eads

WD15ears x2

WD20ears

 

Raid Specs:

RR2680

WD re4 gp x4

 

I've had the raid array running for about 1.25 years and the highpoint management software is now reporting 1 of the drives status as failed. So my plan was to yank the drive in question and plug it into another machine and try and format it to verify it is truly toast before I RMA it (is this necessary to double check or is management software reliable?). By yank, I specifically mean clicking unplug from the highpoint management software - powering down the server - and leaving it off until the new replacement drive shows up. Assuming it is dead, is there a way to wipe my data before I send it back to WD? When I receive the new drive i'll connect it and turn on the server, at which point the raid array will either be rebuilt automatically or I can start that manually in the controller software. Is it really this easy and straight forward? I'm being very cautious as the raid 5 was the backup means for the data, and although not absolutely crucial it represents a huge amount of time if I need to remake the data (dvd + blu ray backups). Thanks for the help! -andy

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OK. First, RAID is for redundancy & reliability, not backup. If you're not prepared to lose the data, you really do need a backup plan. [/rant]

 

Second, yes it really is that simple. Replace the failed drive and the RAID card should auto-rebuild the array.

 

Third, there are a number of utilities, free and paid, that can wipe your drive. Darik's Boot And Nuke (DBAN) is a popular one. Your issue will be whether or not you can even access the drive. Assuming the drive can be seen by the BIOS, you might also consider using SpinRite to recondition the failed drive. I use it for that purpose all the time.

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OK. First, RAID is for redundancy & reliability, not backup. If you're not prepared to lose the data, you really do need a backup plan. [/rant]

 

Second, yes it really is that simple. Replace the failed drive and the RAID card should auto-rebuild the array.

 

Third, there are a number of utilities, free and paid, that can wipe your drive. Darik's Boot And Nuke (DBAN) is a popular one. Your issue will be whether or not you can even access the drive. Assuming the drive can be seen by the BIOS, you might also consider using SpinRite to recondition the failed drive. I use it for that purpose all the time.

 

Thanks for the reply - I know many express your feelings about raid 5 not being a backup but i simply can't justify the additional cost (or space) to do a truly redundant backup of my movies folder. My understanding of raid 5 is that I'm set as long as two drives don't fail at the same time. This is why I'm leaving the server off until I get the replacement driver - to minimize the time with no redundancy. Yes I know two drives could fail at the exact same time - or an additional drive could fail during the rebuild process but that risk seems very small. I do follow the 3-2-1 principal for all my truly irreplaceable data. I'll go ahead and pull the drive and see if it can be seen by another computer to try DBAN, thanks for the tip.

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It is pretty much what you said and yes it is pretty easy. As for killing the data, per Scott (MyHardrivedied.com), using windows format (not the quick format) will kill all of your data. If you are not comfortable with that, you can use the utilities stated by ikon. Also, if you can not have a backup, then at least buy a spare drive. The time taken in sending back your drive, RMA, and then return could be long and I personally would not be happy with it.

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I had a good experience with my first (and only) RMA with WD. They shipped it out to me first and I received it within 2 or 3 day of my contact. They only asked me to return the other drive. Sure, they asked for a CC as collateral but the entire process with relatively quick and didn't cost a dime. That kind of downtime is acceptable to me, but maybe not for everyone. But in an interesting turn of events, I was able to transfer and play a movie off of the re4 in question using another computer. After that, I tossed the drive back into the server. The management software still initially saw the drive but it would drop out if you clicked rescan. The array rebuild continues to fail. So, I guess it's either the 2680 itself, the fan out (specifically breakout cable #3), or the power connector. The other re4's are on the same psu cable, but I'm not sure if its even possible to have a bad power connection in the middle of a psu line? I guessing its either the 2680 or the fan out cable at this point, but I'll look into it tomorrow.

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BCWipe will format the drive to DOD standards, which is a three times pass of all the sectors.

 

If nothing else, this topic prompted me to login and verify all was good with my array.

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I had a good experience with my first (and only) RMA with WD. They shipped it out to me first and I received it within 2 or 3 day of my contact. They only asked me to return the other drive. Sure, they asked for a CC as collateral but the entire process with relatively quick and didn't cost a dime. That kind of downtime is acceptable to me, but maybe not for everyone. But in an interesting turn of events, I was able to transfer and play a movie off of the re4 in question using another computer. After that, I tossed the drive back into the server. The management software still initially saw the drive but it would drop out if you clicked rescan. The array rebuild continues to fail. So, I guess it's either the 2680 itself, the fan out (specifically breakout cable #3), or the power connector. The other re4's are on the same psu cable, but I'm not sure if its even possible to have a bad power connection in the middle of a psu line? I guessing its either the 2680 or the fan out cable at this point, but I'll look into it tomorrow.

 

For sure check the cables but, if they check out, I'm thinking that SpinRite would be my next step. There could well be an area of the drive that's not performing as it should. SpinRite could find that area and tell the drive to map it out.

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I hooked up a spare hd to the raid array and the controller was able to see it in bios and the highpoint management software (even after pressing rescan). This was a old and small capacity hd so I didn't fully add it to the array but at this point I'm rulling out anything but the hd itself. I'd like to give spinrite a try but at $89 I'm most likely just going to RMA the drive at this point seeing how it's still under warranty. Thanks for everyone's help. Let me know if anyone else thinks my conclusions aren't correct.

 

And I did d.l DBAN to nuke the drive before I RMA, thanks for the tip!

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Jokes on me, my drive is out of warranty. I got a sweet deal from newegg on it (less than $100 each for re4-gp's) but it was recertified. For some reason I thought it still had the balance of the 5 year warranty on it, sadly it only carried a 6 month warranty from date of purchase. Now it's decision time on weather to pull the trigger on a new drive for the raid array and use the one I have as a download/transcoding drive in my workstation or spring for spinrite. Are there any freeware that could recondition a hd like spinrite I could try first?

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I'm afraid SpinRite stands alone in what it does. There are a ton of disk drive utilities out there, but I've never found any equivalent to SpinRite. I have used it to recertify many dozens of drives over the years. That's my 2 cents anyway.

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