Can I move a RAID stripe set to another PC or controller?

Hi...

Had a bit of a disaster recently with my SATA RAID 0 stripe set of 2 drives refuse to boot.  Trying to work out if the problem is a dead hard-drive or whether the controller is busted.  Controller still gave errors even when a single drive was plugged in (tried both drives separately).  Seems to show that either both drives are dead or the controller is.

So... My question is: can I move the 2 drives onto another controller or PC and have it still work?  Thinking of buying a SATA RAID card to try and get it working instead of using the onboard RAID on my Gigabyte motherboard (by memory, its a GA 700VT-1394 or something like that).

Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Got most of my files backed up on DVD, but fearing that I might have lost some of my recent photos.  Not sure whether I'll trust my files to RAID 0 any more.  ;-)

Simon.
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simoneastAsked:
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hafaCommented:
in theory, yes. You can move the raid onto another computer and still works. now your issue is pinpoint which one goes wrong. you can't just seperate one of them and put to test, cause when you first create it, you had them formatted to share platter, thats why infomations are accessed faster than JBOD. One will not work if the other is not present. so try figure out the make (brand) of raid controller, get a PCI card of similar functions, load the driver from floppy, make sure your motherboard recognizes the raid controller, and trial and error begins.

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scrathcyboyCommented:
No, when you change controller you will lose the RAID, so since you picked raid 0 you are out of luck, it is a striped, and data not exist on single drive.  So many people tout raid 0, it is always a disaster, if you want reliable RAID, use raid 1, a true mirror.  That way, either drive has all your data on it.  As it sits, with raid 0, you cannot get the data off any particular drive, so you have lost everything,  This is stupid, yes?  But so many people suggest it for "performance".  BAH, that is nonsense when you need to get your data back..  Take lesson here, if you must run raid, make it mirror, you never lose data, and who cares about elusive "performance" when you are struggling to simply recover your lost files.  Lesson learned?
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simoneastAuthor Commented:
Found this URL that points out that it's sometimes possible, but quite unlikely:
http://www.short-media.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-10912.html

Looks like I might be out of luck.

Simon.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The SAFEST thing to do is STOP ==> do NOTHING that may in any way write to these drives.

Connect them as individual drives to another system (but don't "do" anything to them);  install RAID Reconstructor from http://www.runtime.org/products.htm on the system (NOT on these two drives -- as I said, do NOTHING on them); and RAID Reconstructor will show you what's on the drives and recoverable.   You'll have to buy a license to actually recovery the data -- but you'll know in advance if it's worth doing that (when you see what files it can "see").

If you think of a RAID-0 array as "ONE disk drive" then it's no different than any other disk drive -- except it's faster and has a higher probability of failing (since if either physical drive fails the "drive" fails).   As with any other drive, you should always be well backed up.   I don't use RAID-0 because of the higher failure rate and relatively minor performance boost; but if you want to use it, that's fine;  just remember that RAID in this case is giving you LESS reliability -- NOT more.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... by the way, if your problem is the controller (sounds likely), RAID Reconstructor will easily recover EVERYTHING :-)
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r-kCommented:
In case it turns out that one of the drives is failing/failed and none of the above suggestions work, then consult gillware at http://www.gillware.com/ They can often recover data in such cases if it's important enough for you, but expect to pay $1500+ though. They don't bill you if files can't be recovered.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... you've probably already thought of this ==> but if you don't have a system with enough SATA ports to connect these drives in addition to the drives on the system, just use an add-in PCI card to connect these drives.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
To focus on the key questions -
(1)"My question is: can I move the 2 drives onto another controller or PC and have it still work?"
Only if the new controller has the same chipset and BIOS as the old one on the MB, then it will work.
(2) Can you recover the RAID array as it exists now?
Possibly yes, using raid reconstructor and others, as noted in above comments.
(3) Do you need to do this?  Depends, for just a few images, might not be worth the hassle, or it might.
(4)  Do you go with another raid (+controller) in the future.  Obviously yes, if the MB RAID has died.
(5) Can you reuse the drives?  Need to wipe each off and run separately to determine if they are dead or dying, before you join to a raid again, because when you do, you wont know what/where problem is.
(6) for future raid, consider some kind of mirror where data is recoverable, even if mirrored to IDE drive.
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simoneastAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the helpful advice.  I will try RAID reconstructor with the drives on another SATA controller and post back about my results (and assign the points).

Simon.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You're welcome -- unless the drives themselves have failed I'm confident RAID Reconstructor will recover everything.
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csachdevaCommented:
IDE to SATA should be relatively simple move, since you have them both on the same motherboard, the problem is when you go from one SATA/RAID controller/setup to another one. Unless you can put both controllers on the same board, (not possible in my case as they are both built into seperate motherboards,) to copy the drives from one setup to the other. Apparently the controllers don't do the striping the same way or something so they aren't swappable, at least in my case. What I ended up having to do is fire the older system back up long enough to copy what I have from my RAID 0 drives to my newer SATA configured drives. (Not using raid on the larger/newer drives.) That allows me to use my older drives for the operating system, since they are smaller. That was the only way I was able to do this that I could find. Even though I couldn't afford the newer drives, I ended up that was my only solution which forced me to have to purchase them or lose all my data.

In your case going from IDE to SATA is nothing more than just a copy from IDE to Raid, although I reccomend not using RAID 0 just normal SATA if at all possible for stability reasons. IF you can afford to and don't mind the space loss, RAID 1 or 5 would be another option I would consider instead for reasons of stability.

The minimal loss of speed from using RAID 1 shouldn't be a consideration over the superior stability that you gain by doing RAID 1. MaximumPC did a side-by-side comparison of the two Raid formats and determined that RAID 0 was only a few micro-seconds faster than RAID 1 a while back, is where I am getting my information from. That may or may not have changed since the introduction of 3GB/s SATA II drives with NCQ and 16MB buffers, but it shouldn't be much a difference, since there wasn't much of a difference between the performance of SATA drives and IDE drives at the time the article was written.

I would reccomend though if you're planning on running those larger drives for holding your data, that you use a smaller drive to hold your operating system, if at all possible. Even if it means using your IDE drive, you can always make it a RAID 0 drive as well if that's what you think is necessary, (although it really isn't.) I also wouldn't combine both drives into a RAID 0 drive in case one of them does fail, you don't lose both drives information at the same time. Some motherboards will allow you to create an IDE RAID, if not you can always get a controller for relatively cheap that will do it.
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