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Failed server with raid disks

Posted on 2004-08-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a two year old server that has apparently started to fail.  It started with active directory going out and now other problems exist.  It has two 80g hard drives on it.  I know that the hard drives mirror each other but I don't understand the concept quite yet.  So if one of the hard drives begins to fail, how can you boot from the other hard drive?  If they are mirrored, wouldn't active directory be failed on the other?
Lisa
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Question by:ldavis130
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13 Comments
 
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Arl earned 150 total points
ID: 11693276
Hi,

If you want more explanation about how RAID is working, check this out :
http://www.bitpipe.com/detail/RES/999888947_674.html?src=TRM_TOPN

And I guess you are working in a NT environment, so here is the white paper from Microsoft:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winntas/maintain/optimize/08wntpcb.mspx

Hope that can help.
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Author Comment

by:ldavis130
ID: 11693343
That makes more sense.  I am using the mirrored raid disks.  Does it make sense to use this for a small company, 30 people maximum using the server, to use this?  We back up daily and the server is failing.  It doesn't help me much to have two hard drives with the same errors on it.
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Expert Comment

by:Arl
ID: 11693466
errors... :-)

But actually, with 2HDD, we can not really speak about RAID tech used...
In your case, I would suggest to just make a clean installation on one hdd, image this drive on the second one, and eventually create on each drive 2 primary partitions.
Just create the second for data safety and try to create a special script or batch file to automatize the backup task, or select correctly the drive concerned for the BU.

I hope this is clear enough.
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Expert Comment

by:crazijoe
ID: 11693641
The good thing about using a RAID 1 (mirroring) is if one disk would fail the other disk is intact, with the mirrored OS, and you can still be productive. However this is not a problem with RAID but a problem with the system.
Yes RAID 1 would make sense for your small company. The RAID 1 is implemented for hardware failures not system failures.
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Author Comment

by:ldavis130
ID: 11694095
I guess I am thinking that if the system is backed up daily, then it can be restored easily.  I have had Windows crash numerous times on the many computers that we have over the years but only one hard drive failure.  
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by:crazijoe
ID: 11694149
What you probably need to do is find out when your system was working correctly and restore backups from that date.
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Expert Comment

by:DANNiED
ID: 11698741
WHo makes the 80Gb drives? maxtor seagate WD etc? if there seagates i doubt its the drives. if there other brands its possable however it could be your actual system board going bad maybe the PCI port with your raid card in it or pci sub processor onthe board there can be numerous possabilites i would suggest getting a hardware testing program to test all your hardware in the machine this is call the "burn in" procedure and will help you narrow down your problems after you run a progy like that it will tell you if you have bad memory, ports, sockets, even the processor. if all that turns out ok then it could be a drive going out.i wouldnt strees it too much since the raid thats setup seems to still work what i would do is buy 2 new 80GB drive and swap one out each day till the 2 bad drives are out of the system. since your problem sounds intermitant. but check that hardware first.
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Expert Comment

by:joey_the_ass
ID: 11701363
RAID won't help guard against software problems: viruses, spyware, corrupted files etc.  it only guards against harddrive failure.  Maybe what you should do is a fresh install of the OS and all programs you need, nothing extra.  Then create a backup of this and never use it.  When the copy you regularly use gets messed up for whatever reason you just clone the fresh install back onto it.
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Author Comment

by:ldavis130
ID: 11705029
I like that idea.  I will try that.  
Lisa
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Author Comment

by:ldavis130
ID: 11705054
Dannied,
Do you have a test in mind or one that you use and like?  I am limited on money for the school that I work for.
Lisa
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:PsiCop
ID: 11709796
Using RAID or other fault-tolerant technologies is NOT a question of the size of your organization. It is a question of can your organization afford to lose (or lose access to) the data stored on the server, or the services that the server provides? If the answer is "No" then you need to employ fault-tolerant technologies, with RAID being perhaps the best-known (other technologies include redundant power-supplies, UPSes, fabric switching, et. al). And don't neglect the need for off-site backups and a disaster-recovery/business-continuity plan.

If, on the other hand, the data stored on and the services provided by that server don't mean much to the organization, then you don't need to bother with fault-tolerance.
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Expert Comment

by:Fthao
ID: 11725782
RAID 1 only helps to minimize downtime if a HD all of a sudden quits working. The fail-over process is also dependent on the RAID hardware that is managing it. It is mirrorring so if there is bad, corrupt data, then that will get mirrored also. In essence you will have double the trouble.
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Expert Comment

by:Arl
ID: 11872635
Hi,

Thanks for that and hope you have found your way out.
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