Dell Poweredge 2800 server Raid5 recovery

Trinidad-Ace
Trinidad-Ace used Ask the Experts™
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I have a situation where one of my servers just crap the bed. The server is a Dell PowerEdge 2800 configure with RAID 5. The problem
started when the battery for the control array died on me. I when ahead and replace the battery and restarted the server, but found out that it was
going to be a bit harder than just replacing the battery. Any way to make a long messy story short, I still can get my server to start to windows. I called Dell and tried all their little tricks but still no luck. It is stopping within the POST test and it is telling me that it can not find the boot filename.

My question is, if I install a new hard drive in the server and install the same version of windows on it, would I be able to browse the other disk on it or will it show the other disk as foreign drives? I have run several diagnostics on the physical drives and they are all coming out as PASS so I am guessing the drives are good but the boot sector maybe bad. I just dont know how to go about fixing a boot sector on a RAID 5.
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Commented:
If you can see entire raid array - installing windows on new drive gives you access to old data.
If you cannot - probably you will not reach your data this way.
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
A parallel install should work if the array hasn't failed...but isn't exactly necessary.
What is the status of your raid array?  Consider using ubcd to clone the array and backup your data: http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
If the array failed, give RAID Reconstructor a whirl...this can also be run from a boot cd.
http://www.runtime.org/raid.htm
With a valid backup, you can then attempt to repair your startup issues.  Try fixboot and fixmbr from the recovery console.  
 

Commented:
gikkel:

Are you sure ubcd will see the array and do not try to destroy it? Same question with recovery console...
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Top Expert 2009

Commented:
UBCD shouldn't destroy the array unless you severly misuse the tools...
Recovery console is a different story...you can do some damage to your array.  Make a backup before using recovery console (either cloning tools from UBCD or RAID Reconstructor, I'd recommend RAID Reconstructor as it does not allow write access to your RAID drives).

Commented:
How do you know this if you do not know array model&manufacturer? Did you try it? Or just guessing?
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
I'm assuming since the model is a Poweredge 2500, he's using an integrated PERC controller...most likely the PERC 3/di.  Using cloning tools from a boot cd really shouldn't "ruin" any array.  

Author

Commented:
qikkel
I was looking into the RAID Reconstructor especially because it is only reading the different sectors and then just putting them in sequential order in an image how they are suppose to go. But the tutorial lost me at the end though. If I safe the image to one of the physical drives how do I point to the image? Does the
system know to read it from the image? Or should I use the image on a disk to boot from it?
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
RAID reconstructor only copies an image of the drive - and it needs to be on a drive different than the one you're restoring.   From there, you'll have an image of your RAID array.  If the data is readable, you can use Captain Nemo or DiskExplorer (from runtime) or other any other software with the ability to access images.  You can then restore the data from the image (either on the backup drive, or back on the original...i'd recommend the backup drive at first). If its not readable, you can use data recovery software like GetDataBack for further processing.  
With that said, realize it won't be a fun process...make sure you read and understand the tutorials for the software.  
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Once you get an image and you know it works, this will only be your backup in case your attempt to repair the array (with recovery console) fails - that is all...your raid drives should still be intact.

Author

Commented:
qikkel,
That clears a lot off it up for me. I went ahead and downloaded the software and paid for the key. I also created a boot cd-rom with all three software, Raid reconstrutor, Captain Nemo and GetDataBack. I am hoping that this works, for some odd reason the backup tapes were not backing up the data so I need to get this data back. The server is at remote location so I will be flying over tomorrow morning and trying this out. I will let you know of the result tomorrow.
Thank you
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
After re-reading your original comment, make sure youre bios settings are correct.  We may be putting the cart before the horse here...
If the server is stopping during POST, you can't really even tell if the RAID volume has been affected.  When exactly does this "cannot find boot filename" error appear (and what is the exact error)?  That almost sounds like the server is trying to boot from lan.  Since you're flying out tomorrow, I'm guessing you didn't replace the battery yourself.  Was the motherboard battery inadvertantly replaced?  
Before you do anything else, enter the system setup and ensure the system is set for RAID.  If so, you should be able to enter the controller bios by pressing Ctrl-m during post.  This will identify the state of your array...
I thought you had a poweredge 2500 (I see its a 2800)...your server probably uses a PERC 4 controller.

Author

Commented:
No... I replace the battery my self, we have a few office all over the US, Canada and Mexico and I fly around and give them IT support. I was at this office last week and ran some test on it. I also was on the telephone with dell tech support for about 5 hours trying different ways to rebuild the RAID array but with no success. The battery went bad and from what I have read it requires the power to keep the cash memory active and the RAID array loaded to that cache memory. I was able to enter the controller bios and check the state of the array. All drives are online and from the diagnostics they are all working like they suppose to. So I really think that reconstructing the RAID will be the best, next step...
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
I'm a bit confused...if you were on the phone with Dell trying to rebuild the array, wouldn't this have meant the array had failed or been degraded?  But then you go on to say when you went in the controller bios, the array was healthy.  I'm hoping you didn't reconfigure the array...correct?  Before doing anything else, continue on as you had planned - use raid reconstructor and make a copy of the data.  
If you can let me know the exact error and when it occurs, I can offer more recommendations.

Author

Commented:
Sorry it took this long to award the points but i have been very busy... The solution was on point Thank you

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