RAID Array failed, system won't Boot.

Posted on 2007-03-23
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
First, I know very little about this situation, and I am the most knowledgeable one in our company.  I am the "IT" guy.   My (third party) hardware installers seem to know not a whole lot more, thus the questions.

We have a server with an adaptec scsi RAID system.  Last night there was a power failure and the system failed to boot when restarted this AM.  A call to the (3rd party) network guys brought them out, but we were unable to get the situation resolved.

Presumably we have a 3 array system.

Array 0 has 2 36g drives, RAID 1, mirroring the operating system.
Array 1 has 2 36g drives, RAID 1, mirroring (I think) our GP and SQL server installation
Array 2 has 4 36g drives, RAID 5, holding our DATA.

The adaptec software reports:
Array 0, shows 2 drives, Raid FAILED
Array 1, shows 1 drive, missing member
Array 3, shows 4 drives, optimal

When the system boots, the SCSI controller does its thing, reporting on the RAID, then ultimately the system arrives at:

There are red light error indications on a couple of the drives.  We moved the Array 0 and 1 drives around somewhat to different slots, in the hope that a "slot" was bad.

I would appreciate any help on what NOT to do as well as what TO DO at this point.  Some of my concerns:

1. Would moving the drives "ruin" any data on the drives.
2. Given that the RAID is not working right, can we somehow use the drives to get our systems back?
3. Is it likely that our RAID controller is faulty?  If so, could we replace it and still get our data from the existing drives?

Obviously, our concern is to get back up and running ASAP.

Question by:Volibrawl
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LVL 16

Accepted Solution

AdamRobinson earned 250 total points
ID: 18782950
1) If you moved the drives and it attempted a rebuild on the array, yes, it your data will be completely gone.
2) If you've blasted your data away, no.  
3) It is quite possible.  If you haven't erased the data, you could replace it and it may still work correctly.  You may also just need to get the raid driver on a floppy disk, and it's possible the driver has become corrupted and that's why you're seeing NO DRIVES FOUND.  

I hope you have a good backup.  :(  

I don't know if everyone goes through it, but many of us have encountered this at some point.  Easily the most frustrating circumstance possibly.  Take a deep breath.  :)

LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn earned 250 total points
ID: 18784997
1) What will break the arrays is if you change the SCSI ID's of their members, so be careful.
2) If there is an option in the Adaptec utilities to backup the raid configuration, DO IT NOW!
3) the second array has a failed drive which needs to be replaced.  Make the new one match the SCSI id of the bad one and it ought to rebuild itself; but, be patient, it will take hours.
4) The partition table, boot record, or MFT on the first array is damaged. Partition Table Doctor ( ) should probably be able to fix it.

I would back up the raid info to diskette, remove the good 3rd array and failed 2nd, use the Adaptec utility to check the 1st arrays drives, fix the partition table/boot record problem on the first array and see it boot in SAFE MODE, add back the good drive and the replacement letting that array rebuild, then add back the 3rd array.

Author Comment

ID: 18792200
Thanks, I am guessing that we (as you put it) blasted our data away on the first Array (operating system).  In our zeal to get the thing to boot, I think we "switched" the position of the drives in the bay.  I don't think we ever changed any IDs, however.  We did get an I/O disk error message a time or two, and several red light indicators on the drives in the bay.

We ordered a replacement (identical) RAID controller card.  When it arrives, we will see if anything can be salvaged.

In the meantime, I am looking for a failsafe system to protect / preserve our operating system and server configuration.  I am posting another question re: is the RAID 1 system the best alternative?


Author Comment

ID: 18792208
ps  .. in what TA did you 'find' this question.  If I have other RAID / backup questions, I want to know the best area to post.

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