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Dell PowerEdge SC440 with RAID 5/IR controller mirror keeps breaking and won't resync.

Hi,
I have a client with as Dell SC440 server.

Original configuration:
Windows XP Pro (yes that is correct - hardware was bought with a view to upgrade to SBS at a later date).
2x 250Gb Drives Mirror On SAS 5/iR Controller
1GB Ram.

This has all worked well for a couple of years.

Now installing SBS 2008 (standard) on this hardware.

Ram has been upgrade to 4GB.
Old 250Gb Drives have been removed. 2x New 320Gb (Western Digital) drives have been installed.

Created new mirror array OK using RAID controller config at bootup. Says OK and status 'Optimal'.

Proceeded to install SBS2008 which took ages (about 4-5 hours).

On reboot I note raid config reports mirror 'degraded'. Requested Resync and raid util says resyncing - gets to about 5% resynced - then resets to 0 - tried several times - never gets above 5% resync (this is me looking at the SAS raid config status screen - i.e. before OS boots).

Have updated sas adapter to latest firmware from Dell.

Onsite now so 500 pts for suggestions which make some progress (or prove that its a hardware issue...)

Any pointers or suggestions ?
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SMBGUY
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I think you have a failed/damaged drive.
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rcscs

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That's one possbility.

Currently restoring the system partition from an image I took last night when it all looked ok.

A dodgy drive would certainly explain a lot but hardware is pretty reliable these days and I usually suspect me or the software before I start thinking about hardware failures !

I've put WD Lifeguard Tools on a CD and will give that a go shortly.
Is an array won't rebuild, how could it be anything but? I suspect the drive first and the controller second.
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Controller has worked without fault for a couple of years with original 2x 250Gb Drives so yes one or more of new drives may be at fault.

Aarrgh. WD Tools wont see drives attached to raid controller so will have to break mirror and retry on standard motherboard SATA connectors...

Which means another 2hour image restore afterwards :(
Only detach the drive that won't sync.
I don't think Dell diags include a comprehensive disk checker like SeaTools or WD Tools.
Depends on what you mean by a "comprehensive disk checker" ... I am not familiar enough with SeaTools/WDTools to explain how they compare.  Running the Dell diags (Extended test) would be simple ... if they fail, then you have your easy answer.  If they pass, and you don't trust the results, then you can continue wrestling with your tools.
I'd trust the manufacturer of the drive to be able to do a  comprehensive disk check - internal electronics, surface check, SMART check et. al.


If these drives shipped with the system from Dell, they likely have a Dell-specific firmware loaded on them ... I'm not sure how that might affect the mfg tools.  

At any rate ... good luck.
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Update:
Reconnected both original 250Gb drives to controller and as I left the clients office today they were at 20% resynced - I will check tomorrow whether this completed OK but suspect it will be ok.

Brought the two new 320Gb drives home and ran Drive Fitness Test on both of them (extended test including media & smart tests etc.). Both drives checked out fine.

So it would seem that these two new 320Gb drives (or at least one of them) only have an issue when connected to the SAS 5/ir controller and trying to mirror them ?

Both 320GB drives are WD3200AAKS models.

Maybe some incompatibility between these drives and the SAS 5/ir controller ?

Tempted to purchase two new drives from a different brand and try again...

Any other suggestions ?
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We have used Promise controllers as the Dell 5ir controller is rather slow anyway. For a few bucks you can upgrade performance and probably solve your issue.
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Having talked to Dell it seems that Western Digital drives are not on the 'approved' list for this RAID controller (Seagate, Fujitsu, Samsung etc. are). Just my luck I bought the wrong brand.

In 15 years of dealing with PCs and Servers never met this sort of incompability...

Decided to use existing drives which were originally supplied with the server.
It is not specifically the brand - there are some Western Digital drives that could be used.  The problem is that the drives put on the "approved" list are made by large manufacturers but are loaded with a firmware specific to ensure the drive can respond properly to commands sent to it by Dell controllers.
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OK went back to using the original Dell supplied drives for now but would really like to replace these drives with larger capacity ones.

Do I have to buy from Dell (at 4 times the retail price for 'standard' drives') to ensure compatible firmware or can anyone tell me an 'off the shelf' make/model which they known to work with the SAS 5ir controller (preferably 500GB)...
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True.  With the high-performance controllers/application of today's servers, they have a specific firmware in order to work "flawlessly" with their controllers' commands.  In fact, their newest controllers will not accept non-Dell-firmware disks.  But, as in the links I gave you earlier, you don't always have to buy a Dell drive from Dell.