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SBS2003 C Drive Failing - Can I clone?

Posted on 2013-05-31
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Last Modified: 2013-05-31
I have a sbs2003 that has been showing Predictive Disk Failure messages in the Event Logs since at least December.  (I just got the job).  It has 8 bays, 5 of which are used.  The 146gb C drive and the other 4 drives are 1  logical drive (557 gb or so).  I would like to insert a new drive into one of the open bays and clone the C drive (before it dies), then shut down the server, replace the failing C drive with the cloned drive and restart.  Will this work?  

My unknown is what the system will do when I insert the new drive (they are hotswap drives).  Will it let me just use it as a stand alone and clone it or will it want me to attach it to the existing Raid?  

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:DKCSCO
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by:andyalder
ID: 39211797
Without knowing what RAID controller you have (if any) it's pretty hard to say what's best to do. You could possibly just add a software mirror to the current drive even though it has SMART errors and then break the mirror and keep the new good disk and replace the failing one.

Bear in mind too that predictive failures rely on pre-determined parameters being out of spec and sometime the manufacture may refine those parameters with a firmware update so that what looked like it was failing is actually still good.
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by:DKCSCO
ID: 39211824
The server is a Dell PE2900. The RAID controller is Perc5i.  So, you are saying it may not be hard drive failure?  How could I verify it's failing or not?  When I go into server manager, it shows the drive as healthy, but the green light is amber and the event log shows Predictive disk Failure.  There are drives in 0 (c) and 1,3,4, and 7 which are one logical 557.75gb.  I was hoping I could just put in a disk in one of the empty bays and clone the C drive to it, but then I was reading and it appears I can't make a stand alone disk??
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39211881
Which drive is failing?  The proper thing to do is to determine which of the RAID 5 drives is failing and replace that drive with a new one.  NOT cloning the C: drive - that would lose all redundancy.
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by:DKCSCO
ID: 39211893
The C drive is failing.  The RAID drives seem to be fine.
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andyalder earned 250 total points
ID: 39211896
You can't make a stand alone disk, however you can make a single disk RAID 0 which is near enough the same, it must be what you have for the current boot disk.

I think you can put another disk in and use OSMA to add it to the current single disk RAID 0 and set the target RAID level to RAID 1 which will mirror it but I don't have one to test it out on.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39211902
What you're saying doesn't make sense as I'm interpreting it.  A PHYSICAL disk can be in predictive failure.  If the RAID container is in predictive failure that's PROBABLY because a SINGLE drive has ALREADY failed.  Replace the failed drive, problem solved.  Otherwise, a LOGICAL DRIVE (C: partition or C: disk presented to the OS by the RAID controller) cannot be in predictive failure as that's a part of the entire RAID volume.

Would help in our understanding if you posted screen shots or a picture (cell phone camera).
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by:DKCSCO
ID: 39211925
I'm sorry - obviously I didn't explain it very well.


I don't have a picture right now but here is what I wrote down when I was there:

Bay 0 - C drive |  136.2gb 82% free   (amber and green lights)
Bay 1, Bay 3, Bay 4 and Bay 7 all have green lights and are listed in Storage Manager as Drive H with 557.75 gb (57% free)

Intel Xeon E5320 2gb RAM   perc5i

Event Logs:  Predictive Disk Failure Physical 0:0:0 Controller 0 Connector 0

I took this to mean that the C drive is doing it's own thing, the disks in 1,3,4 and 7 are one logical drive and currently have no problems.  

I thought I may be able to  use one of the open bays, clone the C drive, turn off the server and remove the c drive, put in the cloned drive and everything would be fine.
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by:DKCSCO
ID: 39211931
andyalder - if I can put another disk in and use OSMA to add it to the current single disk RAID 0 and set the target RAID level to RAID 1, then if/when the C drive completely fails, the new drive just takes over?
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 39211936
SO how many RAID containers do you have defined?  ONE?  TWO?  from your initial question I thought you said you had all drives combined into ONE RAID container.

If the C: drive was setup as a SINGLE drive, then you need to get TWO drives - mirror the existing onto a new one, then replace the failing drive so you have a mirrored OS.
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