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Dell PowerEdge 2650: Server will not boot, would like to run a "verify disk" on the SCSI disks... what will that do?

Posted on 2008-10-16
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
We have a PowerEdge 2650 server with Windows 2000 installed on it and Exchange 2000 running on it as well.  When I came into work the other day one of my colleagues noticed that we didnt have e-mail.  We went into the server room and sure enough the server had a blue screen and there was an amber light on one of the hard drives (raid-5, all 73GB SCSI's).  We shut the server off, went to power it back up and we received a message during the boot screen that said something along the lines of one of the disks in the container was missing...  We thought that the server would boot and run on the 2 drives but it wouldn't...  Needless to say, here we are on Day 2 with no e-mail still.  

We ordered a replacement hard drive from Dell yesterday and it arrived today.  I installed the drive but got the same error message in the boot screen (saying one of the drives in the RAID array was missing).  I am able to get into the Windows 2000 CD boot menu to see I could maybe get to a repair console.  However, I was asked to press either "C" or F3 to quit setup (When asked to press either "r" to repair Windows or press "Enter" to setup Windows).  I would just press "C", but I did not want to because the setup said that the files on the disk would be erased.

I ended up putting the old (potentially bad) hard disk back in the server.  I didn't know if maybe there was something wrong with the backplane so I figured I'd try to get the server to boot with the old hard drive.  During boot, the Perc driver starts to load and i'm asked to press Ctrl + A to enter the configuration utility.  Once in the Raid configuration utility, I have 3 options.  I choose the bottom one which is "Disk Utilities".  I am then able to point to each of the 3 drives in the Raid 5 array and click "Enter" which will allow me to "Format Disk" or "Verify Disk".  If I choose "Verify Disk", will that delete any information on the drive or is it pretty much like a chkdsk where bad sectors will be recovered?
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Question by:Swamp_Thing
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by:modell100699
ID: 22735048
Hate to be too negative, but we have come across many Dell PE servers that simply screw up the RAID config when the card or a disk fails.  If all three disk lights went amber at the same time it is more likely to be the RAID card or backplane than the disks.

Remove and reseat all the drives
Run the verify option on the drive (it won't erase then)
There is a force online options somewhere as well

When you say Windows boot menu, do you mean the one off the CD?
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by:Swamp_Thing
ID: 22740568
I reseated all of the drives and there is definately a bad drive in there.  I removed it and installed a replacement drive that Dell sent to me, but it is a different make (Fujitsu, the other 2 are Maxtor) and it is 15K RPM (Maxtor is 10K).  However, Dell assures me that the drive will work and is compatible.

And when I say "Windows Boot Menu" I am talking about the one off of the CD.
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by:Swamp_Thing
ID: 22740645
We have this consulting company that we've been working with and our boss decided to call them when this all happened.  I wasn't in the server room when they got here but my colleague says that they aren't familiar with Dell servers and quite frankly don't like them.

He said that they went into the Adaptec SCSI Select Utility and when he turned his back to the server and look back at it, he said that one of the consultants was in the utility at some screen when it said "scrubbing... 1%".  So, I'm guessing that the drives are partially reformatted or something but I don't think that they got past the 2% mark because he said they cancelled it.  

What's interesting about this is that when I try to boot  to the Windows 2000 CD, a message appears on the screen that says "Failed to ArcRead the boot partition to check for a signature".  I'm thinking that when the consultant kicked off a drive "scrub", that the format began reformatting the drive from the first track on the platters of the drives and then worked it's way outward.  If that's the case, isn't the boot sector stored in that very same are on the hard drive (or any hard drive for that matter?)?  If that's the case, do you think I could somehow repair or write a boot sector to the drives and hope that all the actual data is still usable?
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modell100699 earned 200 total points
ID: 22740754
OK, with the new drive in go into Dell array manager and mark the old disk as removed and add this new one.....

Just got your update...

a scrub is when all blocks on an array are read and the parity data is recalculated and written.
On some controllers, the array can be used while the scrub is in progress, but this slows down both the scrub operation and the I/O to the array.

Looks like it's out of your hands now
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by:Swamp_Thing
ID: 22740804
So a "scrub" is destructive, right?
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by:Swamp_Thing
ID: 22740837
And it isn't out of my hands, fortunately.  If I could get this server up and going it would help.  The consulatants have started to build out a "new" exchange server and are trying to restore from backup tape to that server.  They are having problems with getting Exchange to work so in the meantime I have been trying to revive the old server (the one that has crashed).  
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by:modell100699
modell100699 earned 200 total points
ID: 22740879
I believe not, despite what the name suggests!

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/storage/57kgr/cli/en/contcom3.htm

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by:Swamp_Thing
ID: 22743481
I went onto Dell's site and downloaded 2 things:

1. Server System BIOS (A21)
2. Adaptec PERC3/Di Firmware (2.8.1.7692, A13)

The BIOS version that is installed on the server is A17 and the PERC3/Di Firmware version is v2.7.1 [Build 3170].  

I just installed both the BIOS (first) and then I installed the firmware for the PERC3.  After the PERC3 firmware flash utility finished, I rebooted the server and noticed that all 3 drives were flashing and that the hard drive activity LED was flickering on all 3 drives (I had the NEW hard drive installed, and the 2 old drives installed).  I went into the SCSI Select utility and selected the RAID-5 container and noticed that the new drive actually showed up under the drives in the container.  Above the drives for the "status" is shows a status of "rebuilding"!!!

I am letting the drive be rebuilt and am hoping that the server will be able to boot once the rebuild is complete.
 
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by:Swamp_Thing
ID: 22768199
Please read this if you have found this question via a search:

I accepted the answers from the user "modell" because he answered my initial question about what a "scrub" will do to a hard drive (will not destroy data).

However, if you're wondering how I was able to get the drives to rebuild the new hard drive in the RAID-5 array, the answer is in my post above this one (had to flash the latest version of the Perc3/Di Firmware).
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