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server crashing

Posted on 2007-09-28
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we have a windows 2003 server SP1 running exchange.  It is an IBM x236 server.  We have tried to run the IBM diagnostics but can not view the output file because it is corrupted.  I am looking for any suggestions to try to get to the root of what is going on with this server.  we will be taking the server offline to run the diag via a bootable CD but not until next week.  In the meantime, does anyone have a suggestion for getting to the bottom of the problem.  

A chkdsk was run on the server with no arguements.  Windows decided to fix the security descriptors on several files and propogate them to the mirrored drive.  I think there is more going on here that just a hardware issue.  Now i think there is file corruption as well.  We have backups, but i am not confident that they are any good either.

Thank you.
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Question by:egrotjahn
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by:cdeme123
ID: 19982694
egrotjahn,

Is the volume a RAID 5 per chance?  You could backup all relevant data and then go into the SCSI firmware utilities and rebuild the volume.  This could take several hours depending on the size of the volume, but I have had a lot of luck doing this when volumes start to get weird.  Besides, sometimes it takes longer to troubleshoot than rebuild. This should not delete any data but backup anyway  just in case...

cdeme123
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by:egrotjahn
ID: 19982744
it is a mirror, not a RAID5.  I think a rebuild is in order once we determine if there is a hardware issue.
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by:JjcampNR
ID: 19984381
If you look at the array controller utility, does it show the array as healthy?  Are either of your drives showing as degraded?  Also, anything showing up in your event logs (system or application) that's related?
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cdeme123 earned 1000 total points
ID: 19987184
Rebuilding the mirror may or may not resolve the issue.  Since ideally both drive should have the same data on them.  However, if the drives are possibley not healthy JjcampNR's suggestion may work.  The the arrays is not healthy and you have the option in the controller's firmware to rebuild or repair the array, you may need to run a thorough disk-check in Windows once you reboot as many files may get re-indexed during the array repair.  You may also need to defrag the drive before it starts working properly again.

cdeme123
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by:JjcampNR
JjcampNR earned 1000 total points
ID: 19987469
I wouldn't suggest running a defrag on the drives until you're comfortable that your array is back in a healthy state.  Don't start moving a ton of data around until you know if there are bad blocks on the drives or if there may be other mechanical problems with the drives.  It would be awful to run a defrag on the drives only to find you've  moved a bunch of critical system data into an entire sector full of bad blocks making the entire system go down for good.

Also, there's no reason to kick off a rebuild of the array since you're on a RAID 1 mirror.  If you were no a RAID 5 and had some verified disk issues, I'd say that may help, however on a RAID 1 only one of yoru two disks is active so there's no way that some sort of array inconsistency (in the data between your drives) is causing what you're seeing.  What I would suggest is once we get this issue straightened out that you do a rebuild on the array to ensure the spare disk has a completely up to date copy of what's on the active disk.

Once you give us info on the state of the array and if any messages are showing up in the event logs we'll be able to tell you how to move forward.
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by:egrotjahn
ID: 20023325
a complete rebuild and restore was necessary.  IBM replaced the motherboard and did not enable the host raid controller before windows started leading to a lot of problems and windows corruption. After a reinstall and restore I am up and running.  Thanks for the suggestions.
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