XSERVE Bays 3 and 4 failing. Replaced drive, crashed shortly after.

Posted on 2007-11-16
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
Hello all.

I come from a WIN background so bare with me here. I have a client that has an Xserve running and Xserve Raid holding about 3TB.

3 days ago I noticed a red light on the 3rd bay of the Xserve itself. Upon closer inspection I found the drive was clicking like crazy. Not knowing much about the Xserve I called a friend who said you can simply "pull it out". I did so found a replacement online and ordered it. The drive came in today and I installed it into the 3rd bay.

Still a red light but no clicking. I then tried the 4th empty bay.

Bingo green light. NOW not knowing what was even on the drive that failed (nobody else knew either) I simply initialized it and set it as extra storage.

I left and about 3 hours later I get a call the the server had "died".

When I got there they told me it was doing the "spinning wheel of death" and that they did a Hard shutdown waited a minute and started it back up. Everything was fine! ???

When I took a look at the server itself, the drive I had installed in bay 4 was red again.

Now I have no experience with Xserves or Macs in general but I'm thinking its a failed controller card of some sort. Surely a new drive directly from Apple in the drive sled wouldnt die in a matter of hours. Or would it?

If your interested you can find a picture of the server from when the initial drive failed here

I've removed the new drive in the mean time while I look for an answer to this question.

A few notes.

1. Nobody knew how long that drive had been dead for could have been a day or a month.

2. Nobody knows what was on it.

3. There is also an external Maxtor 250GB hard drive attached via Firewire that the Xserve can't connect to either.

For the time being the server seems to be running fine.

Thanks for any help
Question by:kinetik20
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Expert Comment

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There's just far too many variables here.

Starting with the fact that that's a very old Xserve, it's a tray-load G4 Xserve (only the G4 Xerves have 4 bays anyway).

Did you buy an Apple Drive Module (ie: compatible with this model Xserve) or a standard drive and installed it in the existing Apple sled ?

The Apple Drive Modules (for Xserve, XRAID - different modules same idea) have customized firmware on them (IBM does this and so do other vendors) and are stress-tested by Apple - they must meet a higher standard.

There is also an error showing for the server status light (could be due to the drive status).
The Maxtor may not mount if the enclosure lock is set to the locked position.

With all due respect, this calls for someone with extensive experience with Apple hardware and software.

-- David - ACSA, ACTC, ACDT, ACPT.

Author Comment

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I agree with you however I'm sure the client is not willing to pay the associated fees required to hire an apple tech. It was indeed a drive directly from apple in the sled. I'll test the lock tomorrow on the maxtor drive!

Expert Comment

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If an new Apple Drive module (one of the ones they sell, the sled with a drive in it, not a standard Desktop style drive from Apple transferred into the old sled) has died already, then the port it connects to should be considered suspect.

The failure rate on the Apple Drive Modules (Xserve & Xserve RAID) is incredibly low - in my own experience with quite a number over the past 5 years, Yes it happens, but the likelihood of two in a row like that is next to nil, honestly. But the connecting factor is the Drive Interconnect board that the drive in that bay connects to at the back.


Accepted Solution

heteronymous earned 500 total points
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Best of luck with this.

If a client had a complex AD installation I would let them know I'm not the best person to work on it.
If they didn't want to pay someone appropriately for the knowledge required, I would quite honestly warn them to prepare to accept the consequences. And ask them how much their data & time is worth to them.

You get what you pay for: if they want to be cheap then that's what they should expect to receive.
There is not one iota of "snottiness" meant in that, and I've said it to many people whose expectations are disconnected from reality.

Author Comment

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Thanks for your help! I spoke with them this morning an recommended an Apple Pro.

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