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Raid 5 array, error on one drive

Posted on 2011-03-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello all,

So I have a 3-drive raid5 array, and I had one of the drives go into "error" status, and the other two be flagged as degraded. This is a hardware raid controller on a NVIDIA mobo. The problem occurred immediately after reboot after installing an NVIDIA Sata Controller update through windows update. (I have since rolled this driver back, error persisted)

I assume, that to fix this I simply need to reformat the one individual drive that seems to have "error" or even just run "clear disk" from the raid controller, and then select "rebuild". However, this is my first time with a raid error, and I don't want to botch it all up and loose 2TB of data! So please let me know if this is a terrible idea or if there is another way I should do it.
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Question by:Valde_Edius
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Expert Comment

by:Randy Downs
ID: 35211273
rebuild should work the way it's laid out in you manual but it's likely to be a long process. It's also possible the drive really is bad so I'd have one on hand before I kicked it off.
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35211298
Hi Valde Edius,

When you get an error in a RAID array please check within the software provided by NVIDIA to verify in a little more details of what is exactly wrong. It may be a case that the RAID card has detected a SMART error that the drive is going to fail or has failed. I assure you simply formatting the drive and reinserting the drive is not the quick fix you want to attempt.

You can try to reseat the drive, by disconnecting it and reconnecting it. However please note that I would strongly recommend you have a full system backup before attempting to do anything, as you will lose all data if you break the RAID array.

Please can you check what the NVIDIA array tools report and let me know. I would also consider getting a similar replacement drive as a precautionary measure.
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Author Comment

by:Valde_Edius
ID: 35211314
When I enter the Raid Utility through the BIOS, it shows me the one drive in the category Error, and the other two drives under Degraded. When I enter the error category, it says I can push [R] Rebuild [D] Delete [C] Clear Disk [ENTER] Return . I push R and it kicks me to the previous screen. So should I just clear the disk data? From my understanding of Raid-5 one drive can be completely removed and recovery can still proceed, so I doubt it needs to borrow any of the parity data from this 'error' drive, right?
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Author Comment

by:Valde_Edius
ID: 35211417
Netflo,

I do not have any NVIDIA  software pertinent to the hard drives or motherboard. I do have an NVIDIA Control Panel, but that is all for the graphics card. The hard drive array is over the hardware controller on my gigabyte motherboard. NVIDIA's website doesn't have any drivers for a gigabyte mobo, and I didn't want to chance it with this much data on the line by installing drivers for another manufacturers mobo.

I have a similar drive on hand already if this goes bad, but it belongs in another computer where I would like it to stay if it can, however this array takes priority.

I have already tried the following re-seating tricks:
Unplugged the Error drive, roboot, power down, plug back in.
Unplug both other drives, do the same thing as above
Unplug all three drives, do the same thing as before
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Accepted Solution

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Netflo earned 50 total points
ID: 35211446
Without troubleshooting too much, I would recommend replacing the failed drive.

RAID 5 spreads parity across all disks in the array, so at the moment your array is running in a degraded mode, if you sustain another failure your whole array is gone.

You can always play around with the reported failed drive separately, knowing your array is safe.
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Author Comment

by:Valde_Edius
ID: 35211478
Ahh, so with perity in play my data will be corrupted if this error drive turns out to fail again in the middle of recovery. Very good to know, thank you!
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35211502
Key is speed, don't wait for another to blink off. Best of luck!
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