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Dell PowerEdge 1950 Mirror Drive Failure

Posted on 2013-06-13
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell PowerEdge 1950 that has 2 drives that are 1TB mirrored.  Today, the server stopped functioning and does not boot.  This is a server that I did not know existed for this client and have not supported it before so, I am just becoming familiar with the problem.
On the front panel, I am getting an error code as follows:
E1810 - HD 1 Fault
There were others before but, they seem to have gone away.
HD0 seems to be ok but, HD1 has died and I just want to break the mirror and restart it.
I checked the RAID controller and found that is is an LSI Corp Controller for Dell SAS 6 v6.22.03.00 (very old).
When I look at the adapter list, I see an SAS6IR.
I go to view the array and find that in slot 0, I have the correct drives identified as failed and working.  It looks like this:

Slot Num | Device |Identifier |  Raid Disk | Hot Spare | Drive Status | Pred Fail | Size
0                 ATA        Hitachi             Yes              No              Primary            No          2TB
1                 ATA        Hitachi             Yes              No               FAILED            No          2TB

There are no options that I can see to break the mirror and if I remove the failed drive from the unit, it will not boot that way.

Any suggestions?

Dan
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Question by:matneycd
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10 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:matneycd
ID: 39246142
When i go to manage the array, the only option that I have is "Delete Array."
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Accepted Solution

by:
PowerEdgeTech earned 500 total points
ID: 39246145
You should not need to break the RAID 1 to boot to disk 0 ... it should just boot to it.  If disk 1 is causing a communication issue, then you can remove it (and at this point, I would), but there is nothing you need to do to "break" the mirror ... just remove the drive.
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Author Comment

by:matneycd
ID: 39246150
I have already done this but still, I get an error saying that there is no bootable device.
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Assisted Solution

by:PowerEdgeTech
PowerEdgeTech earned 500 total points
ID: 39246163
You probably have a corrupt array.  There were issues with really old firmware that caused you to have to boot the online disk on port 0, but your good one is already there.  I would boot to RC/RE to see if your OS is even recognized.  What OS is it running?

Did the people onsite do ANY thing before you got there?  some key to accept changes/configs? enter F2? CTRL-C, or anything?
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Author Comment

by:matneycd
ID: 39246172
No one has touched it at all.  They did not even know where it was and there was no KVM hooked up to it either.  It was under a tech-bench in the server room - well hidden.
This is running server 2003 and is an old exchange server.  I just need to pull their public folders off of it, so getting the full server running is not critical.  If I can just get to a file on it, I would be happy.  I am thinking about using a SATA cable to hook it up to see if I can get anything that way.  That one EDB file is only 175MB.
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Assisted Solution

by:PowerEdgeTech
PowerEdgeTech earned 500 total points
ID: 39246178
You can "probably" see and pull the file you need that way, but it will not boot without the SAS 6 controller.  Recovery Console is where I would go after that.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39246239
Stop. You are working under the assumption that the mirror was even optimal before you had the problem in the first place.  Symptoms indicate that it is possible the mirror broke some time ago and the other disk was never being mirrored so it has stale data.

Since your client is paying you to take care of them, I suggest you call in a pro.   Without knowing the health and state of the other disk you could easily end up with 100% data loss.

Don't even think of moving forward if this is a DIY situation w/o assessing health of each disk to assess likelihood they will survive a binary image.  Then work with the copies and a binary editor to manually do some XOR testing and filesystem work to see what may have happened.

Consider the system did NOT work as it should. That means something else is afoot and best practice is because you didn't consider such options then your customer is better served by paying for a professional assessment and recovery.   Also data could likely just be recovered from that disk that failed for $1000 or so typically worst case.

The disk still shows up in the device list so it isn't as if the HDD is unrecoverable.
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Author Comment

by:matneycd
ID: 39246284
That is actually where I am now. Looking at a HD recovery option just to make sure it is safe. I am not willing to start pulling too many parts out until I know a little more. That earlier suggestion made me wonder if it had been failed for ages and now the main drive is bad. But, that is exactly where I am right now. I will post the result.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39246305
A binary editor is your friend ... but remember, you have no parachute.  Since I expect the RAID was broken long ago, and you already have a known drive that every moment these disks are powered up could be the last.

Personally, I'd tell the customer the facts of life and say that because there is no way to know whether or not you had an optimal array before the problem, AND they haven't started restoring from a good backup, then they are better off paying $1000+ for a professional recovery.

Tell them that even analysis is risky and RAID1 is not a substitute for a backup. They have no backup and the only copy of data is on a drive that you know has failed already.

This is a great opportunity to walk away and tell them it is too risky not to pay somebody with the experience and equipment to get them going, and it is going to be expensive.

If YOU screw this up you may even risk litigation if data can't be recovered.  Walk away. I urge you.
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Author Comment

by:matneycd
ID: 39248352
OK, I got it figured out.  I booted with Ultimate Boot CD (my favorite utility) and was able to see the hard drive.  I can safely say that the mirror was busted a long time ago and the only disk that was in the system had a failed boot partition.  I could not see any of the files that were located on the C drive but the D drive partition was intact.  I copied the EDB and STM files off of the server and fully recovered them.  Thanks for all of your help and ideas.
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