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RAID5 Drive Gone Bad..Problems !!

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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
We had a RAID 5 drive that was going bad. We had been waiting for some time for the new drive to come in. At some point the drive was removed by the net admin to retrieve the serial number off of the drive (the drives are hot swappable so they were just pulled out). That same bad drive was placed back in the server with the power to the server still on and it mysteriously started working again.....for a a very short while. Well it has since crashed and now we cannot access our email boxes on our exchange server as I believe that drive is where the mailbox files were stored. These drives are hot swappable, but what is the impact of removing a drive in the manner that this was done and putting it back in? Will putting a new drive in at this point allow a rebuild of the array?
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Depends on what RAID controller you have. Without that info we can only guess but it sounds unlikely. A reboot may or may not help, some controller BIOS have diagnostics inbuilt that you can access during boot that may allow you to fix it.
Top Expert 2005
If you have 4 or more drives in RAID5, system should continue to work even if 1 drive failed. If you have 3 drives (minimum for RAID5) - you have to replace faulty one and system will recover it from the parity on other 2 drives.

How many drives you have in your RAID5 array? What server you using?
Sometimes it helps when you taking off the faulty trive and putting it back..

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HP DL530
We have more than 4 drives I know that.
No such beastie, ML530 or DL580 perhaps but anyway, a Proliant with a Samrt Array Controller. Should have guessed since they don't like having the old disk put back in again unless they have the latest firmware, happened to one of my customers.

Shut down, remove the disk that was removed to check s/n and reboot and it ought to work. To reuse that disk you have to wipe it by putting it in another Proliant and doing system erase with smartstart. It probably has the red error light on and the rest look OK. If 2 red lights on disks then time to restore from backup.

Allows recovery of RAID array
Just on a note for your own personal info, removing the faulty drive from the raid array allowed the H/dd to cool making space between the platter and the head, when you put it back in the drive sounds like it was able to fire up for a while, due to the fact it now had clearance.

I know this sounds dumb but put the drive in the freezer inside plastic bag, 12hrs remove, this method has been able to let me recover information from h/dd a number of times.



Accepted Davids solution as answer as it was the closest to what was done. Thanks for all of your suggestions.


Got new drive and rebuilt the array. Had to restore from backup. All seems well now.
The silly thing is your net admin didn't need to remove the drive to get its serial number, if it's a standard build with SmartStart all the information, serial numbers, RAID config, firmware versions and even the machine's serial number is contained in c:\compaq\survey\survey.txt


I gathered that much...already. Thanks
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