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DPT PM2654U2 RAID Controller - Recovering RAID configuration

Posted on 2004-08-03
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Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I returned home to find the SYS Volume on my NetWare 6.0 server dismounted due to a device failure.

I re-booted the server and it began to boot, but locked up on me. I again re-booted, but this time I got a no boot drive error.

When I checked the RAID configuration on the DPT RAID controller, it listed all four drives, but no RAID configuration. The drives were arrayed in a three drive RAID 5 with a HOT spare.

There is no option to rebuild the configuration, only create a new RAID array.

Can I read the RAID configuration from one of the drives, or am I SOL.

Thanks
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Question by:choicesolutions
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by:Cyber-Dude
ID: 11712884
Did you make any master backup configuration diskettes?
Cyber
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by:choicesolutions
ID: 11718065
I don't recall the ability to perform such a function.

I don't recall the ability to perform a configuration backup, would this have been an option in the controller configuration menu or a seperate utility.

I will check about, but it is highly unlikly.
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by:humeniuk
ID: 11721414
RAID Reconstructor (www.runtime.org/raid.htm) can help you recover data from a RAID 5 array, "even if you do not know the RAID parameters, such as drive order, block size and direction of rotation, RAID Reconstructor will analyze your drives and determine the correct values. You will then be able to create a copy of the reconstructed RAID in an image file or on a physical drive."

It can't fix your array, but it can recover and copy the data.  If you do this, you can then create a new array and replace the data.  It costs $99 with a 30 day free trial.
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by:humeniuk
ID: 11721525
Oops . . . I just noticed the "NetWare" in your question.  The software I mentioned runs on Windows.  I don't know of anything similar for NetWare.  The software will run from a boot CD, which is handy, but either way I doubt the software would work with NWFS partitions (if that's what you were using).  It may be worth contacting the company to see if there's any chance.

You may have to contact a data recovery company that can handle NetWare RAID data recovery such as Action Front Data Recovery Labs (see www.actionfront.com/os_raid.asp ).  They're supposed to be very good, but it won't be cheap.  From their website: "Generally speaking, pricing starts at about $2000.00 and goes up from this point."

They are located in Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Santa Clara CA, Toronto & Tokyo.
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by:choicesolutions
ID: 11721674
An after thought; I don't really expect this will work, but....

Since there wasn't any drive failure that occured in this array, it just seems that the controller lost the array configuration would re-creating the array as it was before and not performing any formatting bring the array back to life???

Thanks
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by:humeniuk
ID: 11721701
My understanding is that doing that would create a clean array, ie. no data.  You may want to contact mfc. support and ask them.
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by:Cyber-Dude
ID: 11723089
OK,
Usually, you can backup configuration on nearly every RAID controller available on the market. Also, I will try to locate a way to suck configuration from any of the hard drives to the controllers (I know that HPs controllers work that way by a special manufacturs request)...
Later

Cyber
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by:humeniuk
ID: 11723290
<<  Since there wasn't any drive failure that occured in this array, it just seems that the controller lost the array configuration would re-creating the array as it was before and not performing any formatting bring the array back to life???  >>

Was thinking about this one again.

What is the process when one drive fails and you have to replace it and rebuild the array?  Do you swap in a new drive, create a new RAID array (the only step that is available to you in your current situation, right?), and then rebuild?  Or is there a different procedure with different options under that scenario?

If that is the process for recovering from a failed drive, it should work even without a failed drive.  Obviously, with your data on the line, you want to be pretty sure before you try.
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by:humeniuk
ID: 11723313
To be more clear: under normal recovery circumstances, is there a separate 'rebuild' option or is 'create a new array' the way to rebuild.  I'm not familiar with the Adaptec config. utility.
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by:choicesolutions
ID: 11723674
Under normal circumstances you would replace the failed drive and 'Rebuild' the array.

In the array config utility on the controller the array would still show as three drives in the array with a single drive 'Hot Spare'.

What is showing is all four drives seperatly, as if no array had yet been created.

This is what makes it so difficult; if it was acting as though a drive had failed then i would be able to de-activate the problem drive and perform a re-build on the array using the hot spare.

The problem is that it's as though the controller got amnesia and forgot that I had configured an array. So it's just showing the 4 seperate drives that it detects attached to it.

I need to remind the controller that it used to have an array configured on it and I want it back.

Thanks
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humeniuk earned 500 total points
ID: 11726875
I thought that was probably the case, but I wanted to clarify.

In the absence of a backup (config or data), you probably have two options: the safe, but expensive route, which is data recovery, or the cheap, but risky way, which is to create a new array with the same disks and hope that the data, etc. stays intact.

Having said that, this is almost certainly a relatively easy data recovery situation as there were no disk failures or major traumas.  In addition to the links above, you can try ESS Data Recovery (www.essdatarecovery.com/datarec.asp or 1 800 237 4200).  They do NetWare RAID recovery and you can get a free evaluation.  It may be worth calling them and explaining your situation.  If you're lucky, they may say 'that's an easy one' and quote you a low price or even give you an alternative solution, 'you don't really need data recovery, you need to do this . . .'

Also, would certainly be a good idea to contact Adaptec support (if you haven't already) and see what they can offer you.
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by:choicesolutions
ID: 11727621
Thanks humeniuk,

I've allready been on the phone with adaptec support and they walked me through re-creating the array with the 'no build' option on the controller.

Pretty much what I was thinking I should be able to do.

Unfortunatly when I started the server it didn't boot, but I'm still going to try installing a drive and OS to see if I can at least see the data, it may be that only the boot sectors are toast. Unlikly, but hiope is alive.

Data recovery isn't an option, but thanks anyway.

Thanks
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by:choicesolutions
ID: 11727629
Thanks for all your help, it is appreciated.
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by:humeniuk
ID: 11727676
<< it may be that only the boot sectors are toast >>
I'll cross my fingers for you.  Makes it hard to type thodfnksldf n
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by:choicesolutions
ID: 11728078
Well, I can say with almost certainty that I am screwed!

I've booted with a DOS floppy and looked at the partition table (or lack there of) and found not a.

I could install NetWare and hope against all hope that FDISK not seeing a partition is only a fluke chance, but......

OH well, a lesson learned, BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP YOU BONE HEAD!!!!!!
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by:humeniuk
ID: 11728202
Ouch.

<< OH well, a lesson learned, BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP YOU BONE HEAD!!!!!! >>
A lesson I've had to learn more than once, alas.
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