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Rebuild RAID Sophie's Choice?

Posted on 2013-05-16
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Ok, so this is probably a fairly simple question.. And forgive me as I'm a little new to this.  Basically we have a server utilizing an Intel RAID controller on the motherboard.  We're managing this through the OS using Intel Rapid Storage 9.6.  We got a message that our RAID was degraded.  This was setup before my time, but it appears to be a RAID with 2 volumes - 1, 164GB volume and 1, 3652GB volume.  So we identified and replaced the bad drive and now want to rebuild.. but it gives us a choice as to which volume to repair - and when we choose one, it gives a warning that if we rebuild this one, the other one will be permanently inaccessible.  Obviously we don't  want to lose data on either volume.. and I'm thinking that we're just reading this statement wrong.. but I'd feel more comfortable with some clarification as to what this message means and what do do in this situation.  See picture attached...intel raid manager
Thanks!
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Question by:t_gadomski
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by:dlethe
ID: 39173246
What is the serial number of the drive you just put in??  If you don't know, then shut the system down and unplug power to one of the disks.  If the system boots, you know the other disk is the one you want to destroy.
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by:t_gadomski
ID: 39173287
Thank you for the quick response.  Let me clarify here.. We know which disk was the bad one and which is the good one we replaced it with.  The confusion is with how there are 2 volumes within this raid.. 1 is 164GB, the other is 3.6TB - the smaller being the OS, the larger being SQL data.  Both volumes say they're degraded (see photo).. when I choose one to rebuild to the new disk, it says that the other will be permanently inaccessible.. Perhaps I'm getting my terms mixed up here.. are they saying that the old (bad) drive will be inaccessible?  The way they say it, I'm assuming that if I choose the restore the 164GB volume, it will destroy the 3.6TB one.. and vice versa.
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dlethe earned 500 total points
ID: 39173301
It is a bug. Intel matrix RAID is ... crap.  Don't use it.  It gets confused, and is slow.  Do a full BOOTABLE backup, turn off the cheap RAID, restore to a single disk.  Then convert to a dynamic drive and use native software RAID1.

With software RAID1 you even get read load balancing, so in perfect world, read performance will be twice as fast.  Write performance will be the same as what you have now.

(If you restore to the replacement drive, then you also don't risk your data, since you have the original drive)
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by:t_gadomski
ID: 39173355
Ok cool.. Yes, I've spent the day reading how buggy the Intel RAID stuff is, so I'll accept this as the solution.  Everything is backed up and I think we're now leaning towards moving it to new hardware all together now.  Would you typically say that the software RAID is a better way to go than hardware?  Or is it just better than the Intel matrix thing?
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by:dlethe
ID: 39173373
Software raid is better than some hardware RAID.  in this case win sofware raid is an order of magnitude better than the HW RAID you have now.  Unless your hardware raid has dedicated processor, battery backup unit and write cache (meaning a few hundred $$) then you should not use it.
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