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HP MSA 1000 controller failure - beyond useful life?

Posted on 2012-03-17
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Last Modified: 2012-03-25
The end question is, specifically what would be the expected useful life of an HP MSA 1000 controller board?  I had one "go nuts" recently, and it was suggested that it was past its expected life.  I think the MSA 1000 is about six years in service.  Yes, hard drives fail, but a controller board that is only electronics, in a fairly dust free, static and temperature controlled server room, on a dedicated power circuit, connected via a UPS (standby, with over and under voltage protection) shouldn't "wear out" in about six years should it?

A single drive in the array went bad, not an unusual event.  A hot spare was present and configured.  The controller did not pick up the failed drive status, and did not pull the hot spare online and rebuild the array automatically as it should have.
Instead, the O/S (Windows Server 2003) ended up seeing the volume as heavily corrupted, and resulted in many errors as end users tried to access shares and the shared files on the volume.  The volume could be seen, but the longer things went the more corruption seemed to occur.  A rebuild of the volume was a final result, along with replacing the controller board in the MSA 1000.

For more info, the array was one LUN, with RAID6 (ADG).  Ten physical disks.  Rebuild priority was not set to zero.  Everything I know of should indicate the array should have easily survived a single drive failure.
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Question by:JoesCat
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 300 total points
ID: 37733687
I would not have though so, I still have BBC Microcomputers running, that are almost 30 years old in a few weeks, and they mostly run on TTL logic!

We've got MSA500, 1000, 1500, DEC HSG80s running with no issues.

Plenty of spares on eBay to be had, if short.
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 200 total points
ID: 37734577
All digital electronics suffer from brain farts occasionally and it doesn't necessarily mean they're past their useful life. All it takes is a cosmic ray to flip a bit in a register and they start running with corrupt data, if you're lucky they crash and reboot, but there's no guarantee of that.
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by:JoesCat
ID: 37742977
Thanks for your responses thus far, appreciated!

Any other thoughts anyone?  Although it pertains specifically to a HP MSA 1000, it's a bit general also, whether electronics should "wear out" in a arguably short timeframe.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 300 total points
ID: 37742993
capacitors break down quickly, by logic devices, pga, TTL, CMOS devices should last a long time.
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 200 total points
ID: 37743315
The cache battery is really the only thing that wears out.
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Author Comment

by:JoesCat
ID: 37759576
Thanks once again for the comments.  I don't recall any capacitors or other components that might wear on the MSA1000 controller board.  Makes sense about the battery, as it is a rechargeable.  I had no indication that the battery failed in this instance.  

Getting ready to shutdown the topic.  Any further comments anyone, particularly for a high performance, server grade HP storage array?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 300 total points
ID: 37759598
there are caps on backplane, in power supply, and generally decoupling caps.

but these should be good for 10/15 years! unless left in storage with non stable temperatures
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by:andyalder
ID: 37760536
Replacement for MSA1000 is P2000 G3 range, or for higher performance with more disks or SSDs the P6000 range.
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ID: 37760556
We had more failures with the P2000 range than we ever had with the MSA1000 series.

6-8 complete failures last year, which HP claimed were overheating backplane faults or psu faults something weird.

all purchased at different times, only problem visiting Engineers do not seem know these baby units.
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by:andyalder
ID: 37760809
Yeah, I don' treally like them either, couldn't understand why HP didn't use a pair of Smart Array controllers plus a management chip like they did with the MSA1000 rather than OEM'ing something from Dot Hill.
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Author Closing Comment

by:JoesCat
ID: 37762720
Thanks everyone.  I split the points widely, as this is a rather general discussion.  It does provide valuable feedback to support my case that this MSA1000 unit should not be determined "beyond useful life" at its current time-in-service.
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