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iSCSI drive asking to be formatted after rebooting server

Posted on 2013-06-24
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Last Modified: 2013-06-25
Let me start off by saying I have very little experience with iscsi drives, so this is mostly new territory to me. I'm not even sure if I'm choosing the right topics for the question.

We have a Netgear ReadyNAS which has been hosting an iSCSI supported drive for some time. One of our server 2003 systems is connecting to the NAS using iSCSI Initiator. We recently noticed that several folders had disappeared from the bound drive (E:\) on our server, but those folders still appear on the network share on the NAS.

A coworker of mine has deleted the target on the server in initiator and added it back before checking to see if that is the proper procedure. After rebooting the server, the E:\ drive now asks to be formatted when you attempt to open it. The iSCSI initiator shows that the connection to the NAS is active and stable, and we are able to see the shared files on the NAS.

My questions are:

1) What happened?
2) What happens if we tell the server to format the E: drive (data loss on the NAS)?
3) Pending any additional information you need, how do we fix it?

Edit: Corrected the information regarding what had already been done to the drive.
Update: I just noticed that the disk is showing as dynamic under disk management, which is one of the few things that I know does not work in Initiator. Is the data lost?
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Question by:GuneTech
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39273013
The iSCSI target's contents shouldn't show up on any of the shares from the NAS unless you've been copying data from one to another. The NAS can't see into the iSCSI target file since Windows formats the files content as a NTFS volume.
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Author Comment

by:GuneTech
ID: 39274516
I thought that it was strange that we could see the files as a share on the NAS. The NAS has a shared folder setup on it with the same name as the iSCSI target and LUN. Looking at the share now, I see that the files are out of date. The shared folder must have been an old backup. Sorry about that. This is strange territory for me.

The iSCSI drive is showing as RAW (probably due to the drive being setup as dynamic instead of basic). Would it be worth trying to convert the drive back to basic, or is it a lost cause?
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Accepted Solution

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andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 39274697
It's probably a lost cause although you need to confirm with your colleague whether they deleted the LUNs under Windows in which case the data should still be there or if they deleted and re-created on the NAS box in which case it's just a new empty file of the same name.

Data recovery is probably possible but it would have to be done through the NAS box rather than through Windows.
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Author Closing Comment

by:GuneTech
ID: 39274753
The LUN was apparently not deleted. My colleague had logged off and back onto the target  from within the Initiator application when the drive partitions became corrupt and converted to RAW format. I attempted to scan the iSCSI target drive for recoverable partition information, but it could not be read via the Microsoft ISCSI initiator interface (which was really the problem to begin with due to the dynamic drive state).

We might have been able to recover some data from the drive, but the information on it is old. We instead are using the data from the network share which is also located on the NAS device. I am going to delete the volume and convert the disk back to basic before creating a new volume on the drive.

This probably could have been prevented if I'd been made aware of the disconnected iSCSI drive issue sooner. Apparently, the conversion back to basic disk CAN fix the problem of disappearing iSCSI drives, but only if the drive hasn't already failed to a RAW state.
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