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what happens if a raid controller fails?

I have a dell Perc 6/i raid card that i would like to use in a raid 5 array. What happens if the hard drives are fine, but the perc 6/i fails? If i replace it with another perc 6/i will the raid array recover and the data be fine/accessible? What if i get another raid controller that is not a perc 6/i because the model is no longer available for a reasonable price?

Just curious what my long term strategy will be in the event of a failure. thanks!
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WillThomason
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WillThomason
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Chances are yes.  The RAID configuration is stored on both the controller and the drives, so if the controller dies, you will simply replace the controller, Import the Foreign Configuration in the CTRL-R BIOS configuraton utility for the PERC, and continue on.  The controller could be another PERC 6/i (and depending on your system, even an H700), but if a PERC 6/i, it would be ideal to replace the controller with one of identical firmware.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
PERC 6 Virtual Disks are fully migrat-able to the newer PERC H700, but the H700 is only supported on the newer Txxx and Rxxx servers.  There are some reports from users stating that the H700 works fine on the older x9xx servers, but they are not technically supported.
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WillThomasonAuthor Commented:
I will accept this as a solution, but one small question in addition. I have 4 SSD's in raid 0 now, and every few months the array is lost because of an error with one of hte SSD's and it says it is a foreign drive. It doesnt let me repair it, and i do not know how to fix it so i just delete and recreate the array and reinstall the OS from my backups/images. Do you happen to have any advice for when this happens how to repair the array without having to redo it? I am hesitant to use this controller for data for that very reason..
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
One thing to keep in mind with OEM controllers (like the PERC) is the fact that there are drives that are "certified" for use on those specific controllers - drives that have been tuned to match and work flawlessly with the various settings on the controller.  If you are not using certified drives (these will be co-branded by Dell), then you may see a number of issues with the drives not communicating well with the controller, whereby the controller will take it offline.  Worse, are Desktop drives (vs. Enterprise-class drives) ... say you purchased four 120GB OCX Vertex 2 SSD's for use on this controller, those drives are not rated for use on RAID controllers or for enterprise use.  Enterprise-class SSD's are very expensive but are necessary to ensure data integrity and performance ... if data integrity and peformance are important, you should consider Dell-branded, Enterprise-class drives.

When you have a drive fail - or goes offline for other reasons (above) - it will generally mark it as Foreign.  If your array is still accessible and working fine otherwise, and you are only talking about a single disk showing Foreign, you need to Clear the foreign config before you can do anything with it.  You can clear it in the CTRL-R configuration utility for the PERC, and F2 on the controller, Foreign Config, Clear.  You can also do this more easily in the OpenManage Server Administrator software ... Storage, PERC, Information/Configuration (link at top of the page), Foreign Config/Clear from dropdown menu of available controller tasks.
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WillThomasonAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the info!
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
No problem :)
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