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Recover RAID on dissimilar hardware

Posted on 2012-03-22
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell Poweredge 2600 that just had it's system board bite the dust.  I'd like to just order a new server and pull the data off the hard drives.  Unfortunately, I don't have another PE2600 with a PERC4/Di laying around.  I had 2 RAID 5 Arrays with 3 disks each.  Is it possible to attach them to another RAID controller to pull the data?  I've got an Adaptec 2100S that I could potentially use or would I be better off trying to find a new Mainboard or a PERC4/DC or PERC4/SC?
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Question by:sbohanan
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 150 total points
ID: 37752028
The Adaptec definitely isn't compatible with the disk metadata because the PERC 4/DC is made by LSI, I think your best option is to get a non-RAID controller and use RAID reconstructor from www.runtime.org to get the data off the disks.
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dlethe earned 350 total points
ID: 37752544
The 2100S can be configured to be a JBOD SCSI controller.  Make sure you first upgrade the BIOS / firmware in the controller (some ancient versions of the card have issues regarding JBOD mode, so update firmware first).

1. Then attach the disks that were on the PERC (which is a LSI megaraid effectively)
2. Attach a sufficiently large SATA scratch drive that can hold the combined USABLE data.
3. Purchase (you can't do this for free) the runtime.org software
4. have it automatically reconstruct the LUN(s) on the PERC and IMAGE each LUN on the PERC to a single data file on the SATA drive.
5. (Optional, copy these imaged files somewhere else, to prevent risk of data loss if Murphy's laws kick in and the SATA drive decides to die on you at this  point).
6. shut down PC.
7. Boot and configure the 2100S in RAID mode using these disks, let it initialize (zero out) every byte in the LUNs. This is important as it will somewhat serve to burn in these older drives.  Better to have one die now then later.  Since hardware is older you may want to consider getting more modern disks and reconfiguring as a 2-disk RAID1.  This is your chance.
8.  Then boot to windows, use the runtime software to image the LUNS on the scratch drive onto the logical RAID devices you configured on the 2100S that is now in RAID mode.

If you want, add step 6.5, where you image the bootable PERC LUN directly onto the SATA disk as a raw image instead of a file, then boot off the SATA disk.  It should all come up after windows complains about a config change.   If it comes up OK, then reimage so you have virgin copy again.

There is risk that it won't boot due to drivers for the 2100S not in the windows kernel once you get to step 8, so  you could use this 6.5 step to then install Adaptec drivers here. And then after you do that, shut system down, and then image this image with the adaptec drivers installed onto free area of the scratch SATA disk , or another scratch drive, just in case.  This way you have a guaranteed bootable system.

If this was my system, I would make the effort to do this step, unless you are 100% sure the Adaptec drivers are already in the windows kernel.
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Author Closing Comment

by:sbohanan
ID: 37908331
Sorry I haven't gotten back to this.  First, thank you both for the answers.  I really appreciated the quick responses.  A buddy of mine lent me a PE2600 that had just been retired at another firm that was almost identical to this one and I recovered my data.  I also borrowed a PERC4/DC from him, just in case.

After the data was recovered, I decided to try the PERC4/DC and the methods you suggested.  My results were interested.  

Firstly, the PERC4/DC worked without any issue.  Apparenty, the difference between the PERC4/Di and the PERC4/DC is that one is integrated on the motherboard, and the other is an add-on card.  That's it.  They use the same metadata, and the card didn't care that the drives were from a slightly different model.

Second, I took the time to follow the steps you gave, in my free time.  I had a little trouble with the 1st suggestion, in getting through everything, but it ultimately worked.  The 2nd suggestion from dlethe worked fantastically.  I didn't use the optional suggestions since I wasn't truly worried about the data anymore, but I would have if I hadn't already recovered it.  

Thank you so much.  I hope this will help someone else in future, also.  I'm sorry it took so long to finally respond, but I wanted to follow your suggestions, so I could give an accurate report.
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