Intel Modular Server Hard Drive Issues

Posted on 2011-05-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am hoping someone can help with my situation.

I am a Network Admin for a small private college.  We have a Modular Server MFSY35 with three Compute Modules (MFS5520VI) and 6 Seagate 1000gb ES.2 hard drives.

It sat on a shelf for about a year and we recently began to set it up.

We had it working with Windows Server 2008 r2.  It was not in production we were still in the process of setting it up to migrate three of our servers to this system in the next couple of months.

We had a community wide power outage early last week.  When the power came back and we turned the chassis back on it was reporting that three of the hard drives were missing.  Each time we power up the chassis different hard drives will come on.  It is random which drives “wake up”.

Today I updated to the current firmware.  I have also moved the hard drives around just to see if they would be recognized in other slots.  Again, it was random which drives would be recognized each time I powered up the chassis.

I have seen threads discussing hard drive issues after an unexpected power off but none discussing the drives reported missing.

Is there any known issue on this topic?  Is there a way I can trouble shoot this to determine if it is a hard drive issue or a storage controller issue?

Thank you for any help.
Question by:IT_Guys
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

David earned 2000 total points
ID: 35510126
Well, updating firmware while system is in stress is NEVER a good idea, BTW..   Same with moving disks around.  First, most likely it is controller/backplane/cabling issue.  Perhaps the NVRAM got blown so the configuration is unknown.

If you want to determine hardware vs. software, then get a non-RAID controller, boot something like LINUX, and run some diagnostics.    If you want to just recover onto a scratch drive or drives, then try a product at runtime.org called raid reconstructor.  It should be able to figure out the configuration.  It is free to try, you pay to buy.

Author Comment

ID: 35689626
It appears as if there is a problem with the midplane.  Is anyone aware if it is replaceable?  I have seen the part for sale but I've also seen footnotes indicating it is considered part of the chassis and is NOT replaceable?!
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35689788
Well instinct tells me that everything that has a part number can be replaced, especially if it has a part number listed for a spare part.  I would go online and try to hunt down the field engineering manual that would cover how to replace components and see what it says. This would be the ultimate source to get correct info.

Author Comment

ID: 35739816
After testing and a lengthy tech support call to Intel it was determined the Backplane and the Interposer were both failing.  After replacing the parts all is well.

Thank you for your help.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35740059
double whammy!!
Don't forget, if you need to update firmware READ RELEASE NOTES.  There are some important LSI/Intel firmware updates out there, and some of the updates have to be run sequentially, and you can't skip over them.

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