I have a Dell Poweredge T300 running SBS 2003. It is setup with RAID 0 with a SAS6/IR controller. It has 2 swappable 500 GB drives partitioned with a 25GB system drive and a 900+GB "data" partition.
The server had an issue with the Exchange databse maxing out, however, instead of calling me someone decided to "reboot" the server. I am pretty sure they pulled the plug out of the back when the server hung up on shutdown. When they tried to bring it back up the server would not boot. The server displayed the F1 to retry boot, F2 to enter setup menu and then they called me.
I rebooted the server a couple times and the controller was detecting Volume (00:00) as failed and I ended up at the F1/F2 screen. I hit F1 and it would not boot. So I pulled HD0 out of the cage and shook it. Put it back in and booted up and I was able to get into Windows. So to make sure I shut down the server and it start having the same issues. I decided to call Dell.
The Dell tech said I needed to reset the BIOS and then once back in Windows update the BIOS and controller firmware and that will resolve my issue. Dell had me reset the bios which took it back to the defaults and renabled SATA-A and the server threw an error about that. So Dell had me disable SATA-A and then the server booted into Windows. I told
the Dell rep that I wanted to shut it down and see if it will come up again without issue. It didn't. It threw the Volume (00:00) failed error after the controller initialized and the I got the F1/F2 error.
So Dell had me create a diagnostic CD and boot from that. While the hard drive test was running I explained to him that there are 2 500GB drives in the server an only one was lit up with green lights (HD1). HD0 had no light on at all while HD1 had one solid and one blinking when there was HD activity. After about 20 minutes into the HD test the completion percentage was not increasing from 4% but the byte/sector count was. So he had me stop the HD test because he said HD0 wasn't even being tested because the lights aren't on and it's dead and he is sending me a new hard drive. I did explain to him that when the system does boot OK both hard drives have 2 green lights.
So while I was giving him my info I decided to reboot the server. After 3 or 4 unsuccessful boot attempts I was able to get it to boot up. Each time I rebooted I reseated HD0.
I'm confused because at first the Dell tech said the issue was the Bios and controller needing updates and then all the sudden he had me stop the test and he deemed it HD0 failing as the issue.
So basically my questions are:
How do I know or figure out if its the HD that is the problem and it isn't the controller or backplane?
If the HD is bad how come I can get it into Windows and Windows seems to operate just fine when running?
Whats the deal with the green light on HD0 not working and why wouldn't they be amber or red if it really was dead?
I just seems to me like a controller or the MB is bad and I'm sure Dell would much rather it be a $80 500 GB HD than an expensive MB or RAID controller.