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Replacement of a failed Drive in Raid 5 Dell 2800 w/ PERC 4e/Di

Hi All!

Got a Drive failure (actually the "state" is listed as "Removed") in a 3 drive Raid 5 Array.  From what I've been able to decipher from the Dell Documentation on this, I SHOULD just be able to pull the bad drive, insert the new drive, and the rebuilding should begin.  

But - I'm afraid it can't be THAT easy.  Am I missing something?  Do I need to check that it's "Hot Swap" compatible or something?  I'll be honest, RAID still scares me after all these years....so any hand holding would be nice.

thanks!

Mark



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markhaase
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markhaase
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DavidCommented:
It is that easy, IF the replacement drive is good, you choose the correct slot, and the replacement drive is a supported make/model/firmware revision and has appropriate capacity (i.e. >= the capacity of disk you are replacing).

Best practice, however, is to make sure you have a backup.   The reason is that doing a rebuild on an an array which is likely quite old causes blocks to be read on the old drive that probably haven't been read for years.  If  some of them can't be read then your build could abort and you may end up with 100% data loss.

A RAID rebuild causes ALL blocks to be read.  Doing even an online backup only backs up data files, so take a windows-based backup now.
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DavidCommented:
(Assuming windows, of course, I should have said use whatever native online backup method, whether tar or ntbackup, cpio, whatever ... just in case).   Doing a full rebuild is quite stressful for old drives, and I have answered dozens of questions over the years from people who had a drive failure during a rebuild  .. most of which lost some or all of their data, or at least had to spend thousands of dollars with a recovery firm .. so heed my advice ;)
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markhaaseAuthor Commented:
The new drive is an exact replacement for the old, so I should be covered on that base.  

If the server reboots as it is (with only two of the three drives online), will it, in fact, boot?   I ask because one of my favorite whole server backup programs is storagecraft, and it usually requires a reboot....

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markhaaseAuthor Commented:
Will I have to do anything to start the rebuild, or should the RAID system recognize the new drive and do it "automagically"?

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DavidCommented:
it is automatic ... as long as you do it with power on at the time
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markhaaseAuthor Commented:
So (Just to confirm), I do all this with Windows up and running?
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markhaaseAuthor Commented:
Well, had MANY problems with this, including having to restore from a backup (so thanks for the advice).  It wouldn't work and wouldn't work....wouldn't even recognize that a new drive had been put in....turned out having a drive with the same firmware was the key in this instance.

Got one from X-Byte.com, slipped it in, and it started rebuilding like magic.

It's almost like the server was saying, "What? There was a problem?" LOL.

SO many thanks for the help!
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DavidCommented:
Firmware is much more important then people give credit for.  I know, spent many, many years writing RAID controller firmware.  It was not unusual in testing that we found HDD firmware bugs that we needed seagate, hitachi, or whomever to address.   What people fail to realize the most is that the need for proper supported/tested firmware really only manifests itself when things go wrong, like you have unrecoverable read errors.   This is why people tend to think firmware isn't all that important.  You only see the problem in combination with other problems.

I can't comment in your particular case, but had you had the right firmware to begin with then you very well could have had zero data loss.  

So now that you are online, you should go to the support site, check to make sure that there aren't any firmware updates.   Read the release notes and determine if the update is necessary.
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