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Adaptec 2410SA failed drive

Posted on 2010-09-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hello all,

I have a server with an Adaptec 2410SA raid card configured in raid 10.  One of the drives has failed and after replacing it I am unable to see if the array is being rebuilt.  I installed Adaptec Storage Manager but it says I have no recognized controllers installed.  I read elsewhere that is because I don't have the Adaptec drivers installed on the server.  When I look in the device manager at the raid controller it does says that the drivers for it are provided by Microsoft.

So here's the question.  To make Adaptec Storage Manager see the card it looks like I need to install the official Adaptec drivers.  What is the best way to do this?  Should I just download them and then right click on the card and do the typical update procedure for new drivers?  What if Server 2003 doesn't like the drivers and the server wont start because it cant use the card?  The potential for downtime and data loss seem pretty high.  The whole reason for this is to make the storage manager recognize the card so I can rebuild the array and go on.  I don't think the array is automatically being rebuilt as the alarm is still going off.  I would also like to be able to monitor the array in real time through windows and receive alerts and such.  The previous admin didn't install Adaptec Storage Manager.


Any suggestions??

vne
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Question by:VNE
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 33740268
The RAID will rebuild itself whether or not you have drivers for any particular O/S.  This is because all the work is done in the CPU on the controller.  Yes, you need appropriate device drivers for  ASM.  Also firmware matters, and certain drivers require certain firmware revs, and specific versions of ASM.  So go to website, figure out most current version of ASM, and read release notes to see what firmwmare & drivers you need.

Best way?  Read the release notes.  There is no universal rule that works with all versions of everything.   No matter what, best practice is to make sure it rebuilds before finishing.  Nothing wrong with rebooting and waiting and staying in the BIOS (the adaptec BIOS,  CTRL-A typically), from there you can see progress.

You never want to rock the boat while rebuilding (REBOOT is OK, power cycle is not).  After rebuild, and after you read release notes for firmware, drivers, ASM, then just do things in order they say.   If drivers do not exist for your O/S, then sorry, don't use that OS.      So just reboot, go to the ADAPTEC BIOS, and you can see progress.  After it rebuilds, after you update everything, then you can monitor health in future.

Just because alarm is going off does not mean it is rebuilding, as alarm will go off on a drive failure.  If you let it rebuild from BIOS overnight it will probably be done in the morning anyway, as it takes much longer to rebuild from windows, as windows is also doing I/O.




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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 33740315
Thanks dlethe for your response.  One thing that worries me is that when I go into the bios of the card upon boot using crtl-a, i dont see anywhere to see the status of the rebuild.  It should be doing it automatically but I know that after 24 hours the alarm was still going and I was worried about restarting the server to look in the bios.

I was hoping the ASM would give me a better picture of what is going on.  The server is slow right now so I'm having my doubts about the rebuild.  Although the server could be slow due to the rebuild being in progress.  Surely it would be done rebuilding after 4 days though.

I'll have my hands on the server probably tomorrow night and I'll be able to look in the bios of the card.  I'll let you know what I find out.

vne
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dlethe earned 500 total points
ID: 33741106
Since it is online, then you know you only have 1 drive failure out of a RAID5, or that everything is online, but perhaps something else is wrong that is preventing write cache.   Gut feeling, it is degraded, and not rebuilding.

So understand you are flying w/o a parachute.  Next disk drive loss means 100% data loss.  If you are going to delay, then suggest kicking off full backup just in case.  You know that murphy guy and those laws of his, tick-tick-tick-boom :(
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 33741827
Well I'm sitting in front of the server now and the raid did not rebuild itself.  The drive that I replaced was definitely the bad one.  I went into the adaptec bios and initialized the new drive and hopefully it will begin to rebuild.

I just dont see anywhere in the bios any options to rebuild the array.  Do I need to manually add the new drive to an array?  There isnt anything in the bios to even give a little hint if it is rebuilding right now.  Nothing, I have no idea if the card is doing what is supposed to at all.  

Since it is a raid 10 there are two arrays on the card.  One of the arrays is optimal and the other one is degraded.  The degraded array says that there is a member missing (drive).  I dont see anywhere in the card's bios the option to add a drive to an array.

Any thoughts?  All of the drives are recognized by the cards bios.  This is why I was interested in installing the ASM.  I assume it has more options and provides real time info about the arrays.

vne
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 33741870
I'm looking through the 2410sa configuration guide and it says that a drive that is not initialized cannot be used as part of an array.  The drive was greyed out before I initialized it.  Maybe it will begin to rebuild now.  Would be nice if I could verify that though.

vne
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 33743648
I have tested the old drive that I removed from the array and it is definitely bad.  Hopefully the card is doing what it's supposed to and rebuilding now.

vne
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 33744733
Dlethe,

After reading about this card in other forums and places it seems as though people pretty much hate it.  Albeit that's just a couple of people saying this but that is all I was able to read about it.

What raid cards do you prefer?  3Ware looks good and most people seem to recommend them but I know nothing of them.  Cost isn't much of a concern.  I would easily pay $500 for a card that would keep me from going through what I am now.

vne
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 33744817
I am huge fan of LSI.  First, they make the SAS/SATA chipsets that pretty much every RAID manufacturer on the planet uses, plus this is the chipset that HP, Dell, IBM, SuperMicro, and other manufacturers put on their premium server motherboards, as well as those same vendors slap their name on LSI RAID controllers. (Oh, yes, LSI owns 3WARE).   In this day and age, you better have a controller that supports RAID6 also.  goto lsi.com, and see what meets your budget.

But an alternative, you will save a lot of money if you get a premium server motherboard that embeds one of these LSI RAID6 SAS or SAS-2 controllers on the motherboard itself.   Supermicro is one of the vendors that have multiple boards that embed LSI controllers.  

 
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 33744952
Thanks.

I was just there and like what I see.  Thanks for the input.  This is exactly what I needed.

vne
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 33772765
dlethe,

Thanks for the info and guidance.  The array never did rebuild itself automatically.  I ended up having to install the adaptec drivers in windows and then the storage manager was able to see the controller.  I then had to "clear" the drive and then set it to "hotswap status for the array".  Only then did the array begin to rebuild itself.  It finished about 6 hours later and all seems to be well.

This is the last Adaptec card I will buy.  Way too much trouble.  This server went over a week with a degraded array after I replaced the failed drive with a new one.  The documentation was pretty lacking of detailed info on the procedure for rebuilding an array.  I'm not an idiot by any means but I bought an expensive raid card to avoid situations exactly like this one.  

Thanks for your help.

vne
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Author Closing Comment

by:VNE
ID: 33772779
Poster supplied the info and advice I was looking for.
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