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RAID 5 server not recognizing OS - How to access the data?

Posted on 2007-10-08
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I was contacted by someone who has an IBM Win 2003 server with RAID 5 across 6 SCSI drives. Evidently for some reason the server was not booting properly and they reseated the RAID controller card. But now the server does not recongize that it has an OS, but does recognize a drive to install the OS on to.

His backup is also corrupted. So that's of no use. Right now all he needs is to get the databases he has stored on that server?

Is there some way to connect to those drives (or the one virtual drive) to backup the stuff? Can they be seen through Bart PE or something like that?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:cfgchiran
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by:PUNKY
ID: 20037186
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by:chilternPC
ID: 20037191
depends on how the RAID was set up.
if it was a mirrored RAID then disconnect all of them except one and try and connect (try all drives one by one and se if they work)
However, I can't see 6 drives simply being used for mirrors (overkill or what)

try going into the RAID BIOS and rebuilding the RAID array. (be careful not to destroy the data though)
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by:rindi
ID: 20037374
BartPE or the UBCD4WIN should be able to see the array if you have included the drivers for the controller and if the array is still functional.
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by:cfgchiran
ID: 20037407
Thanks for the feedback. Tried BartPE with the drivers, but it does not see the array. Might try the RAID Reconstructor, if no other ideas come up.

If everything was set up in a mirrored format (which I know is an overkill, but am not quite sure how it was done) is it possible to simply pull one of the drives and plug it into another server and try to access it as a slave drive, without RAID?
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by:chilternPC
ID: 20037445
yes - I did this the other day for a clent
each drive is a copy - so take one at a time and see whcih one works
you should be able to get the data off it.
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Johnjces earned 1500 total points
ID: 20037519
You mentioned RAID 5 which is not mirrored. RAID 5 is striped across a minimum of three (3) drives. A RAID 5 can suffer the loss of one hard drive without problems but 2 drives would be pretty tough. IF RAID 5 is in use, chilternPC's advice it moot.

What type of controller card is in use? Adaptec?

Just re-seating the controller should not result in such a failure, but stranger things have occurred.

Generally when starting to boot, the RAID card will post and ask you to hit F5 or F7 to enter its configuration. Generally there is a method to have the card read its drives and reconfigure itself and rewrite the needed info if this got corrupted somehow.

If the card or array was "squirrely" (not acting right) from the beginning by not booting correctly, stalling etc, then other issues like a bad HDD or in this case if RAID 5 two, or the card itself may have failed.

Have you contacted the card manufacturer for any kind of diagnostic steps?

Lastly, make sure the BIOS is pointing to boot from the array and not something else. We have an IBM server that has a RAID 5 and somehow when we were working on it, (something similar... reset the card in a new PCI slot), the BIOS changed or was changed "somehow" and it was pointing to boot from a non existent IDE device. It took me quite a while to realize that this occurred. How? I still do not know!

Just some thoughts!

John
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by:rindi
ID: 20037532
I'm not sure if the raid reconstructor will work with more than 3 drives. As far as I know it's limit is at 3 drives. Maybe all that is necessary is to again check the seating of the controller, the cables, and the drives to get the array running again. Also check the array setup utility, it may be necessary to activate the array again or put it "online".
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by:cfgchiran
ID: 20037870
The guy is going to bring the server to me - so I will reseat the drives and also check the BIOS to make sure it's booting from the Array.

Raid Reconstructor is supposed to work from 3-14 drives on RAID 5 - so we'll see if that option will work as well.

The card is an Adaptec, but I don't know the model yet, since i have not see the server. Will get back to you guys soon.

Thanks again for all the info and let me know if anyone has any other suggestions.
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by:rindi
ID: 20038661
For raid reconstructor, you'll need to start each disk separately and the software creates an image file of that disk, then it tries to merge the images together. So you'll need a PC where those disks run inside (it shouldn't be running in raid), and you will require plenty of free space to where those images will be stored on. This means you'll need at least enough free disk space to hold the 6 images of those disks. Be prepared.
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by:cfgchiran
ID: 20052850
While I was not able to resolve the issue completely, it looks like this server ended up having two faulty drives and the RAID was corrupted. It is been turned over to someone who has a more experience in data recovery. While I was unable to find a solution, thank you for taking the time to respond.
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