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Can you add a hot spare disk to a RAID 5 array on a Dell PowerEdge 2650 with 4 existing SCSI drives and Perc 3Di controller without destroying data?

I sent a customer a replacement drive for a failed 73GB hard drive that was part of a five disk RAID5 array.  When they replaced the drive it somehow changed the array to be a four disk RAID5 with the replacement as a hot spare.  Does anyone know of a procedure to force the drive to rebuild as part of the RAID5 instead of a hot spare and not effect the data?  We tried several times by rebooting into the OS with just four drives seated and then reseating the replacement once in the OS but it failed after 15min. This is the second drive that was sent for this.  The first failed also and we thought it might be a faulty drive.  The server is a Dell PowerEdge 2650 with a 3Di controller. OS is Win Server 2003 running Dell OpenManage.
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PhillyGee
Asked:
PhillyGee
2 Solutions
 
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Yes.  If you want the hot-spare to be a participating member of the RAID 5, then you will need to Reconfigure the RAID 5.  This can be done without data loss and is done in OMSA.

First, you must un-assign the drive as a hot-spare (OMSA, Storage, PERC, Virtual Disks (if a Dedicated) or Enclosure/Backplane/Physical Drives (if a Global)).

When the drive is showing as Ready, then you can go to OMSA, Storage, PERC, Virtual Disks, and select Reconfigure from the dropdown menu for the RAID 5.
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DavidCommented:
Well, bugs can happen, but it is almost unheard of that the array morphed from a 5+0 to a 4+1 array.  Frankly I don't see how this could possibly happen as one would really have to have multiple things go on to get it confused.

I don't think you are getting the full story. Maybe customer rewrote metadata, or an employee lied because he/she did something stupid, don't know but press them on this.

One way to confirm that the config *really* is now a 4-disk RAID5 is to see what the BIOS reports as capacity, is it 73GB x 3 ??      (Well, it can't confirm whether or not some bozo rewrote the metadata, but if it reports capacity is 4x73 usable, then you KNOW that the controller thinks it is is 5+0, not a 4+1).

Personally if you don't get any luck grilling them for the truth :(
Then I would crank out a binary editor, look at the physical drives with a a JBOD SCSI controller, and examine the RAW data after the metadata, and then do some math to see if the parity is calculated on 5 disks or 4.

Another way, if you are now scratching your head ... go to runtime.org, by their reconstructor software, and that software can rebuild it no matter how it is screwed up,

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PhillyGeeAuthor Commented:
Thank you both.  I'll let you know what the result is though I don't think they'll try until next week.
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QlemoC++ DeveloperCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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