HP ML150 embedded controller fault?

Posted on 2009-12-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
Hi all,

We are running a HP ML150 G5 Server with SBS 2003 installed on 4 x 500GB HP/Seagate HDD's in a RAID 10 formation using the embedded SATA RAID controller.  Yesterday we were greeted with the BSOD error 0x0000007b which I believe relates to an inaccessible boot device.  I tried to run a repair using the SBS setup CD hoping that if Windows had corrupted or lost the disk controller driver it would be replaced, however setup always states it cannot find the hard disks (used Nlite to integrate the drivers into the setup CD as do not have a HP USB floppy drive to install the drivers manually).  I have accessed the Array Configuration Utility and the Array displays as 'DEGRADED'.  Disk 00 is OK, Disk 01 is greyed out, Disk 02 is OK and Disk 03 is OK.  I have changed the SATA port on the motherboard that Disk 01 plugs into and it then displays as OK in the ACU however any Disk I plug into the port that it came from (SATA2) then shows as greyed out.  This would suggest to me that the embedded controller or mainboard is at fault.  I have spoken to HP and they seem useless.

My question is, what are my options in order to get the server up and running with all data intact ASAP?

Do I need to replace the mainboard in order to get the server up and running? or can I buy a PCI RAID Controller?

The server is out of warranty.

Thanks for you help in advance.

Question by:m1ndg4m3
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

David earned 2000 total points
ID: 26108647
Well, first you made things worse by moving things around and attempting a recovery.  You can not just slap in another controller and expect it to work.  To fix everything, safely, do the following

1. Purchase a 1.5TB or larger SATA disk that will eventually have a single 1TB image representing the RAID10 (without any of the redundancy), and install an O/S on it. XP is all you need.  Don't bother to license it.
2. Plug in disk 00,02,03, plus the scratch disk into a PC with 4 SATA disks, and boot to the SATA disk.  Just create a single partition for the entire disk.
3. Purchase a license for runtime.org's RAID reconstructor.
4. You will then use their software to reconstruct a 1TB disk file that is actually a RAID0 mirror of 2 of the 500GB disks.  
5. (Optional but important ... once you have a single copy 1TB file, make a copy of it just in case the first disk died)
6. Create a new RAID10 configuration using the 500GB replacement disk.  Be sure to reformat it & do full initialization to make sure there are no lurking bad blocks and to also beat up surviving disks a bit.
7. Use raid reconstructor, ghost, whatever image backup software you prefer to migrate the 1TB recovered data file back into the RAID10 array.
8. Do chkdsk  /f on RAID10 (because you also still have file system problems)
9. Attempt to boot to the RAID10.  If it fails, do whatever standard windows recovery you use ... at this point you have a repaired RAID10 to work with.
10. Keep the scratch SATA disk(s) for offsite backup, and once the new RAID10 is bootable, perform a full image backup.

There are other techniques that are higher risk, but the one above preserves ALL data (assuming you use 2 scratch disks), and the only risk you have is if the surviving disk that mirrors the dead one decides to die during the reconstruction.  

Author Comment

ID: 26108801
Thanks for the comment! I think that the embedded controller is the fault rather than Disk 01 as if I plug Disk 00 (or any other disk) into the SATA port Disk 01 is in on the motherboard then that shows at fault instead.  Would that make sense for it to be the embedded controller in that case?  if so and I purchased a mainboard I presume I could plug all the disks directly back into the new mainboard and all would be ok??? or not?

LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 26108853
The fault could also be caused by your action of just plugging in a disk that has metadata on it into the wrong slot.  The only way to make sure that this is the case is to clear the metadata from the controller, and put a fresh disk into that slot and see if the slot works.

As for embedded RAID controllers, make sure that the firmware matches as well, and you use the same slots.  But, you NEVER want to put disks in a degraded condition into another controller ... unless the manufacturer tested this scenario.  Usually they don't.

Sorry, I can say that you have a reasonable shot of it working, but if it doesn't work, then you not only bought a mobo for no reason, but risk further data destruction if the controller reassembles the RAID10 and the replacement disk incorrectly.

If it is data you dont mind losing then try the mobo, if you want to save some hours worth of time.  If the data is worth thousands of dollars, then be conservative and use the technique I posted which does NOT write to any of the disk drives until after you have a working copy.  Your decision.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31675439
I used the RAID Reconstructor method, ended up paying $299 to Runtime Software for a RAID Probe in which they scanned my Array and produced an image file which I then scanned with GetDataBack and retreived all the data.

Thanks for your help.

Kind Regards,


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