DELL PowerEdge 2900 - disappearing files/ folders

Current environment;

DELL PowerEdge 2900 with RAID 5 Configuration running Windows 2000 Advanced Server (SP4) / Windows XP Pro workstations.

Hi There,

Been experiencing this issue over the past 3 months now whereby data folders on the server literally just disappear! - I have ruled out users deleting or moving folders as I enabled auditing on the server – There is also no pattern that I can see, e.g. it’s not happening at the same time or particular day e.g. it is totally random, it can happen one or two days in a week or it may be fine for an entire week but then experience data disappear in week two.

Some of the things I have tried are as follows;

-          Flashed to latest BIOS (this was an Urgent requirement on DELL’s site).
-          Upgraded to latest firmware for DELL PERC 5/i integrated.
-          Upgraded to latest firmware for DELL SAS 5/i integrated.
-          Installed latest PERC 5/i integrated driver.
-          Installed latest SAS 5/i integrated driver.
-          Checked DELL OpenManage Server Administrator (no warnings / errors).
-          Performed full virus scan.
-          Checked Event Viewer (nothing obvious).
-          Performed Windows update.

Post the changes above I must say that I didn’t experience any disappearing of files / folders for over 3 weeks but today I have experienced the same issue.

Any ideas would be most welcomed as this is becoming a nightmare to support as I’m sure you can imagine.

Many thanks,

Sam.
sam180yAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
ESM (Embedded Server Management - the device that works with BIOS to manage and monitor the system):
http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&releaseid=R158443&SystemID=PWE_2900&servicetag=&os=WNT5&osl=en&deviceid=7603&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=4&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=0&libid=13&typeid=-1&dateid=-1&formatid=-1&source=-1&fileid=211654

SAS 5/i can be used in non-RAID mode, which would be required to use it with a tape drive ... so, I'll give you that one :)  It's just an unusual setup.

You can get the controller log from OMSA ... Storage, PERC, Information/Configuration (link at top of page), Export Log from dropdown.  Note where it saves it (usually C:\).

They are actually called Online Diagnostics (for Server 2000, it is PowerEdge Diagnostics):
http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&releaseid=R158443&SystemID=PWE_2900&servicetag=&os=WNT5&osl=en&deviceid=7603&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=4&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=0&libid=13&typeid=-1&dateid=-1&formatid=-1&source=-1&fileid=211654

and 32-bit Diagnostics (runs outside of Windows):
http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&releaseid=R212797&SystemID=PWE_2900&servicetag=&os=WNT5&osl=en&deviceid=196&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=11&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=0&libid=13&typeid=-1&dateid=-1&formatid=-1&source=-1&fileid=301057
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JAN PAKULAICT Infranstructure ManagerCommented:
1. do you have DFS (Distributed file system) on domain?
2 Can you recover files with http://www.piriform.com/recuva ?

Jan MA CCNA
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
janpakula, No, not using DFS - recovery of files isn't my issue here, my issue is why and how they are disappearing in the first place.
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JAN PAKULAICT Infranstructure ManagerCommented:
question is can you recover  them at all? - if yes that would mean that the server receives files correctly - but removes them for some reason - if not then you hve problem with server receiving files at first place.
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
Yes I can recover them - I'm using CA ARCserve Backup r12.0 that I use to perform full backups to tape - as you can imagine I'm relying on these backups quite a bit of late - when I restore the data it is usable and can be read from and written to quite happlily - however i will experience data disappear (not necessarily what was previously restored either).
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JAN PAKULAICT Infranstructure ManagerCommented:
it looks like your raid installation failing (maybe one of hard drives is starting to fail ) use this for testing
http://hddscan.com/ 
u should have some tools from dell server management to test it

Jan
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
Jan, the DELL OpenManage Server Administrator isn't showing any errors or warnings but I will try the 'hddscan' and revert - Many thanks.

Sam.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Server Administrator is good for monitoring real-time status and interacting with the hardware, but it does not include diagnostics.  I would run extended Online Diagnostics from Windows and Extended 32-bit Diagnostics from outside of Windows ... if you believe it is hardware related.  The thing is, even with a failing RAID controller, if the files were there at some point, there is no RAID failure that is going to "erase" a folder - once written to the drives, it's there.  You may have a faulty drive(s) or a corrupt file system or RAID array.

Again, I don't believe it is hardware at this point, but out of curiosity ...

-          Flashed to latest BIOS (this was an Urgent requirement on DELL’s site).

Did you also upgrade the ESM/BMC?  This should always be updated with the BIOS.

-          Upgraded to latest firmware for DELL PERC 5/i integrated.
-          Upgraded to latest firmware for DELL SAS 5/i integrated.
-          Installed latest PERC 5/i integrated driver.
-          Installed latest SAS 5/i integrated driver.

- Which do you have ... the PERC 5/i or thr SAS 5/i?  You can't have both :)  If you have a PERC, you can check the controller log for possible errors within the array.
- And, did you also upgrade the hard drive firmware?
- How many disks are you using?  RAID level?
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
Hello PowerEdge Tech,

Sorry what is ESM/BMC? I do actually have both PERC 5/i and SAS 5/i - I am using PERC 5/i configured with RAID 5 using 5 x 400GB SAS drives (setup as a virtual disk) - SAS 5/i is in a PCI slot used for the internal tape backup unit - Where can I check the controller log for my PERC?

No, I have not upgraded the hard drive firmware.

When you refer to "I would run extended Online Diagnostics from Windows and Extended 32-bit Diagnostics from outside of Windows", what tools would you recommend here?

Many thanks.
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
Many thanks for the clarity PowerEdge Tech.

I tried to upgrade the ESM/BMC but a message came back saying it couldn't find any devices - I did however manage to run the Online Diagnostics and ALL tests passed, I will try running the 32-bit diags (outside of Windows) this weekend.

I also exported the log for the PERC (which I have attached), is there anything in your opinion that is showing up possible areas for concern?

Appreciate your support.

 lsi-0309.log
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
sam180y ... nothing in the log jumped out at me ... everything seems to be in order there.
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
Thanks for giving it the once over PowerEdgeTech, much appreciated!

I managed to successfully run the diags (outside of Windows) and all tests passed (I used the Express option) – I also managed to successfully upgrade the ESM/BMC firmware in the end by using the Update Package for Microsoft Windows from DELL Drivers & Downloads (as opposed to the Hard-Drive option).

However, I tried to perform the same exercise with the SAS drive firmware upgrade but every time I launch the Update Package I’m displayed with the error message “The procedure entry point RegDeleteKeyExA could not be located in the dynamic link library ADVAPI32.dll.”, when I click OK it displays “Inventory collection failed.” It’s as though it cannot detect the hardware, when I checked the model of the SAS drive on the server using OMSA it shows I have 5 x 418.62GB SAS drives, product ID HUS154545VLS300, Revision D522, the closest I could find on the DELL site is for a 450GB SAS drive (with exactly the same product ID), revision D598.

Any ideas on this?

Sam.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
The SAS drive firmware utility is bootable and won't run from Windows unless you purchased DUP-enabled drives, allowing for online firmware updates, which it sounds like you don't have:
http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&releaseid=R288929&SystemID=PWE_2900&servicetag=&os=WNET&osl=en&deviceid=10167&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=20&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=0&libid=44&typeid=-1&dateid=-1&formatid=-1&source=-1&fileid=430113

Looks like my copy/paste didn't "take" for the link to the ESM update ... it is actually the same link as for the diagnostics ... sorry :)
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
No probs, That makes sense I will give this a try and revert, I did actually download this earlier, will action this once I'm back onsite.

Appreciate your continued support.

Sam.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Good luck.
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
Just to keep you posted, I will be trying the SAS drive firmware upgrade over the weekend, gives me some contingency - will update you accordingly.

Thanks again.
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sam180yAuthor Commented:
Successfully managed to upgrade the SAS drive firmware using the SAS drive firmware utility - Will monitor server behaviour and will reopen this ticket should I start experiencing the same issues.

Many thanks for your guidance.

Sam.

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sam180yAuthor Commented:
Because of the nature of the problem a period of time (unkown) will be necessary to ascertain whether the proposed solutions actually worked - will reopen ticket should the problem reoccur.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Sounds good ... good luck.
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