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Raid 0 reclaim data

Posted on 2006-11-07
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hello All,

Here's the situation:  I have a Dell 670 that I am using for video editing and something caused a crash that resulted in the inability to re-boot and knocked the 3-drive
0 raid array offline (there is no separate boot drive).  A new controller card is in place (the suspected failure cause) and the drives have been verified and check out OK, but I am getting mixed messages from Dell and elsewhere whether I will loose my data if we reconnect with the array.  The new card is the same as the old but getting it to see the array again is the big question...rebuild the array...or how do I reconnect without losing anything.  Or, should I be reclaiming the data with a software program or something before going any farther (what works)?  The data is extremely important.  I really appreciate your thoughts.

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Question by:krisjohn
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jamietoner earned 168 total points
ID: 17895307
What controller are/were you using on the 670? Did it recognize the array when you booted into the new controllers bios? If the new controller isnt recognizing the array then try a program call raid reconstructor (www.runtime.org), this will allow you to get the data off but afterwards to get the system running you will need to recreate the array, reinstall and recover from backup. Also hearing "The data is extremely important" i would not suggest a raid 0 for important data if this had been a hard drive failure your only option would have been a very expensive data recovery service (i wouldnt rule this option out yet though). Depending on what your controller supports using a Raid 5 or 10 would be a much better option. Raid 5 would offer a performance increase (vs non raid drive) and redundancy, but Raid 0 will outperform a raid 5. If performance is the reason you went with raid 5 then go with raid 10, it offers the same performance as a raid 0, and has better redundancy than raid 5, drawbacks are like raid 1 you lose have the combined hdd space( still not as expensive as a data recovery service).
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by:arnold
arnold earned 166 total points
ID: 17895326
This is very risky and possibly you have lost the data.  Provided you recorded the order in which the drives were connected to the RAID controller, you can try and see whether the array is seen by the RAID controller.  
0) If you have an option to image or duplicate the three drives, do so and work on the duplicates if possible.
1) Make sure the new controller does not have any existing configuration of any raid arrays.
2) reconnect the drives and go through the controller to see whether the array is seen. And the condition in which it is seen
Do not attempt to rebuild/initialize the array.  1) you are not setup for a rebuild option.  A loss of a drive results in loss of data.  Raid 0 does not provide any fault tolerance (http://www.raid.com/04_01_00.html).
3) save the configuration to the RAID controller and attempt to boot.
4) if it boots, your data should be there.  If it does not boot, the issue might very well been a drive and not the controller.

FYI: Raid 5 would have provided some fault-tolerance at a cost of one drive (http://www.raid.com/04_01_05.html).

Good luck, hopefully you have some backups of the data.
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by:Wouterx
Wouterx earned 166 total points
ID: 17905228
I agree that you data is probably lost.

It is the controller that knows the configuration, so the new controller will probably see nothing. (Some better controllers also store the configuration on the disks.)

When the controller indeed sees nothing, you can try this:

(I give you very little chance this will work!)
Put your old disks aside, remember how they where attached.
Put in 3 new disks, exactly the same types als your old disks.
Create a raid 0 configuration, exactly as the old configuration. Save this in the controller.
Now replace the new disks by the old disks and try to boot.

If the data is really that important, it might be better to go to a specialized firm before trying anything.
But this will be expensive...

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by:arnold
ID: 17906022
Wouterx,

While defining an array is an idea, it will likely not work.  The configuration on the controller has to match the configuration settings on the drives.  Those will likely conflict because of the drive manufacturer differences, firmware, etc.

If the controller was the issue, trying to get the RAID configuration read from the disks is the only way to even try to recover the data.
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Author Comment

by:krisjohn
ID: 17906105
I'm considering the idea of putting the original card and drives in another system in case the card is not the problem.

Considerations:
-I'm getting the impression that the array information may be stored on the card itself, and as such I should try the old card with this new idea. Is that true?
(The card is an Adeptec sata 6 channel model 26105A)
-Will anything happen (initializing drives etc.) on this new system that will be bad for the data?
-Do I need a new driver for the old card on the new system, do I need a driver for the new card on the old system? Will uploading the driver cause any ill effects for the data?

Thanks so much.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 17906185
You can put the card in the old system and go through the bios to see whether there are drives reflected as failed.
You can also try reading the configuration from the card.

The array information is normally stored in the nvram on the card as well as on each disk.
Another option you can test each drive to make sure it is functional with the drive manufacturer's tools.  If you find a drive that is bad, you have your answer (the controller is good, your data is lost if no backup exists).
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Author Comment

by:krisjohn
ID: 17906581
The drives check out fine through the verify disc program.
How do I enter the bios?
Do you think that info is stored in a place other than the card, so switching cards is not a problem?
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Author Comment

by:krisjohn
ID: 17907161
Here’s another strange thing that I discovered.
3 drives in the Raid 0 array—in the drive menu for the computer they show up as:
Drive 0 SATA—Controller=Serial ATA
Drive 1 SATA—Controller =Serial ATA
Drive 2 PATA—Controller=Parallel ATA
                           (Port=PATA-0 IDE1 Master)

How can this be?
All three drives are plugged into the Serial ATA and it takes all three to make the array.
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Expert Comment

by:jamietoner
ID: 17909877
That sounds like the system bios not the controller bios, to get into the controller bios you would need to press ctrl+A the option will be right after the bios splash screen. Arnold is correct the array onfo should have been stored on the controller nad the drives so the replacement controller should have loaded the config from the drives. Possible its not booting because of an nvram error in which case you would need to go into the controllers bios and load the config from the drives, then it should detect the array.
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