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Help with RAID 5 Rebuild on HP Netserver LP2000r

Posted on 2006-05-05
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I need help fixing what seems to be flaw in the HP Netserver LP2000r BIOS -- I updated the BIOS to latest version, and  problem seems to be flaw in logic, or else omission, rather than problem with disks.

1.  You make RAID 5 with 3 disks.  All works great, you format, install OS, all works great.
2.  You remove one disk, then reboot (this simulates a failed disk in real life).
3.  RAID controller says RAID is missing one disk, and is in critical condition.
4.  You shut down, reinsert original disk you removed, then reboot. Should redetect.
5.  But there is NO WAY in the Control-A RAID setup to reintegrate reinserted drive.

Note, this is SAME drive I pulled out 1 boot before, it was a test for what happens if a drive fails.
The drive has all the data on it, but there is no option in setup to "rejoin missing drive to array".

This is FATAL FLAW in this HP BIOS setup?  Standard Symbiosis RAID controller 4M, default with machine.  It shows all 3 drives as part of RAID 5, but there is no setting to reintegrate a drive, once it is removed just once and system rebooted, even if NOTHING is wrong with drive.   What am I missing?  
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Question by:scrathcyboy
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by:Zuhir Elgmati
Zuhir Elgmati earned 500 total points
ID: 16620802
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by:jhance
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Many RAID controllers, and I believe this one as well, will automatically detect and rebuild the array after a replacement.  This does take some time and so I think you simply have not waited long enough for the process to complete.  Note that the controller will not say "Oh look, this is just the old drive re-inserted.  I'll just use it as-is."  No, it will rebuild the drive from the rest of the array.

Most systems have a control application that runs from the operating system that lets you view and manage the RAID array once the system is booted.  I'm sure your HP has that too.  Is it installed?  If not, you should install it and run it.  See:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=50440&prodNameId=30461&swEnvOID=226&swLang=13&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=ns1835_1en
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by:miloudi
miloudi earned 500 total points
ID: 16622516


well,

There is no way that HP has forgotten a to have a rebuild function in the 4i controller BIOS.
The way it works is by accessing the RAID BIOS and selecting the failed drive and using REBUILD function. May be the wording is different but you should have it..
I went o the HP site and i don't see a BIOS update for the card, may be i am overlooking something...
One last question, after replacing the drive, does the sys detects it....while POSTING.  
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16623198
Miloudi -- this is exactly the problem, there IS NO rebuild function in the BIOS.  The BIOS should be able to reintegrate a drive, but seems it cannot.  Control-A gives you get the RAID setup, and it lets you initialize drives (i.e. wipe them clean), or make a different RAID array (excluding the main one), or the 1st choice is to view the array.  When you view the array, it shows 2 drives, and the 3rd one is shown ---missing --- because I removed only once and the system was rebooted.  There is no function to reintegrate or rebuild, that is the problem, even though all drives are detected at boot, including the one removed and then reinserted.  It is like they just forgot it, so I think, yes, they did forget rebuild function at BIOS level, so it seems.

Zuhair -- those links provide no solution to the problem at BIOS level. They talk of windows software to install, but there are NO links to this software, and when you try to find the names of those programs on the HP site, you cannot find any DL software relatable to the names.  Besides, if array is in crucial condition, what happens if windows cant boot?  That was whole point of test, remove one drive for one boot, see if system can recover at BIOS level.

jhance -- that is what I thought, any sensible BIOS rebuilds array on reboot, but after 3 boots, red lights keep on blinking that array is critical, and I cannot find any way in control-A raid BIOS to rebuild.  It is incredible, isnt it?  I can try installing windows software, but what happens if windows wont boot because of crucial state of array?  I am really stumped on this one, I though like all of you, that it automatically rebuilds, but evidently not!!

I will try again, let you know, but unless there is another control-X function to use, Ive done all Control-A can do.

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jhance earned 1000 total points
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>>red lights keep on blinking that array is critical,

The array is critical because one of its drives is not optimal.  That's critical because if ONE other drive fails, you're lost.

Regardless of how many times you reboot, the rebuild is goig to take some time.  A couple of hours would not be unexpected.  But without the monitoring software you'll never know what's going on.
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16625963
I know how the RAID 5 redundancy works, thanks.
I did run the Windows RAID config utility, and it does have the features to rebuild, reintegrate, etc.

My concern is that if one drive is pulled, for whatever reason, there is no way IN THE BIOS to reintegrate.  You are saying, well, maybe you didnt give it time, it might have been rebuilding in background - and maybe this is so.  But each of 5 times I went into RAID BIOS, it showed the pulled drive as "not available".  There is in fact no way in BIOS to force a reintegration or rebuild.  The only choice is to assign a "failover" 4th drive, but then 3rd is never brought back online - unless as you say, it was auto-doing it in the background.  I left it run 2 hours, perhaps not enough.

I am starting to think that a RAID 0 + RAID 1 would be better for this setup.  You need 4 drives (3 for RAID 5, 1 for Failover).  But that same number could be used for a 2-drive RAID 0 and 2 drives as RAID 1 mirror of first.  What do you think about that?  Am a bit worried that if a drive is pulled, people wont know how to reintegrate it back again.
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16695410
WEll, after working with this for a while, the answer is -- DO NOT remove a drive and expect the RAID 4M BIOS to rebuild the drive array.  That pulled drive cannot be integrated by the RAID BIOS menu alone.  You have to run the FAST setup (for XP or something like that), and you better make sure you choose to rebuild (option 2), because if you choose option 1 (add to array without rebuild - which should work, since nothing haoppened to the drive -- you just pulled it, then reinserted it) the array threafter becomes unfixable.  And if you choose option 3, (I think to make the drive free space), then the array is likewise destroyed.  

This is just info for other people struggling with the HP NetRAID 4M controller in the BIOS setup.  It is very badly designed, and once a drive becomes split off, it cant be reintegrated without some OS type utility.  Of course, this is not very smart.  What happens if the OS becomes unbootable, and you think you have a bad drive causing it?  The answer is, do NOT remove it and reboot.  You scrap the entire RAID 5 array by doing so.

Since all of the respondents helped, but none could have known the details, without having an LP2000r in front of them, I am going to split the points between all replies, I hope this is OK.

As a final Q related to this system, the NetRAID 4M is supposed to be UlTRA 160 SCSI, but none of the Docs say if the on-board SCSI is also 160, or is SCSI 3 or ultra SCSI 3, or what.  Anyone want to hazard a guess if the on-board SCSI ports are same 160 speed or not at the redundant NetRAID 4M controller ports?
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