Adaptec RAID 51645 Degraded

We purchased a Adaptec RAID 51645 SATA card a while back and had 16 500GB hard drives attached to it. A few days ago we decided to purchase new WD 2TB hard drives and replace all other 500GB drives. We deleted the array and tried creating another RAID 5 on all drives. For some reason the RAID controller would not see all of the drives, and we would switch them around on the server and it would then see them when initializing them. We then noticed that the firmware on the RAID controller was old so we upgraded it to the latest build of 17911 from 15720. We started the process again but when it starts building the array, it gets to about 1% and then gives a degraded status. The new hard drives are in the compatability list for this controller and are working fine, but for some reason the RAID controller is not completing the array. Can you please help?? I'm not sure what else to do.

Thank you..
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whoamiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I agree with semper fi you are most likely seeing a drive that is on the compatibility list but the firmware version that is on your drive is not.  For adaptec cards not all firmwares that drives ship with are compatible just because the drive is on the list.

I have several of these Adaptec controllers and have had issues using Desktop class drives in them due to firmware versions.  Including sometimes having to call the drive manufacturer and get a firmware that will work.  

I have also had to install the jumpers for 1.5Gb and put the drives in then remove the drives from the chassis pull the jumper and then after reinstalling the drive without the jumper it will work over and over again.  

From what you wrote, you checked the compatibility of the drive model to the controller. This is good. But have you checked the compatibility of drive firmware version with the controller firmware version? Having an issue here can cause many problems.

Additionally, be sure your backplane firmware is up to date as well (in fact you may just want to update everything including MB BIOS).

The Adaptec controllers have an option in the BIOS 'Verify Media' which happens to be a great drive test. I suggest after getting all of your firmware up to date, run Verify Media on each drive one at a time from the same drive bay. Once this passes then take one of the tested good drives and rerun Verify Media on the same drive in each different bay.

Post findings - I'll be waiting.
With 16 brand new 2TB drives there's a fairly good chance of having a "dud".  See if you can pinpoint a particular drive that's failing.  I concur with SemperWiFi's advice.  Upgrade all firmware, then test all the drives to make sure they're solid, then move on to creating the array.
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serg2626Author Commented:
I found the Super Micro server i'm running it on has a expander board that requires all drives to be on 1.5gb speed instead of 3.0gb which I had it on. I will be testing this today to see if it resolves the issue. SemperWifi, you were close on the resolution. I will test today and will let you know the results.

Thank you.
Hmm.  Wouldn't the SATA bus speed 1.5/3.0 be determined by the Adaptec board since that's what the drives are directly connected to?  Maybe I'm misunderstanding something.
@ IT-Monkey-Dave - The drives are not connected directly to the controller (as the case in most servers). They are connected via a backplane, this case sounds like a backplane with an extender midplane (also rather typical). Either way, while these are not typically adjustable devices they are still controlled by an instruction set firmware. Because of this they weigh in on the compatibility topic. Sometimes when firmware versions are not compatible it can cause temporary and often random communication failures resulting in drives simply dropping off an array. Adaptec controllers, as with some others, are very good about not being overly sensitive to this but if it is a bit major then a buggy we will go.

@ serg2626 - The 1.5 rate limitation you discovered can cause as many problems since the instruction path is set to 1.5 it wants only 1.5. I would check for a newer firmware version to see if they dealt with 3.0 compatibility. Otherwise put those jumpers back on and you should be set.
@SemperWiFi: OK, that makes total sense.  Didn't occur to me the drives would be communicating through a backplane.  As you said: Firmware updates all around, then re-assess.
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