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RAID Controller Failing

Posted on 2014-01-16
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Last Modified: 2016-12-08
Hi all,

I have a server running as an ESXI host that has a RAID card that is failing. But as the RAID is currently being used for datastores I am worried that replacing the RAID card will destroy all data on the drives.

My question is: If I replace the RAID card will the current RAID be recoverable or do I need to copy all data from the drives before replacing the card and rebuild the RAID from scratch?

The current server is a HP server and could replace the RAID card, but also have a spare Dell server that is ESXi hosted already and could just swap the drives out. But thinking that changing makes of servers/RAID controllers will destroy the RAID array.

Any help with this urgent issue is greatly appreciated.
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Question by:ncomper
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andyalder earned 1000 total points
ID: 39786324
If it is an HP Smart Array controller then the configuration is only stored on the disks in the metadata and it is not stored on the card. Smart Arrays are all backwards compatible, that means that you can replace with the same generation or any later generation without problems.

Quickspecs of all Smart Array controllers say "Data Compatibility among all models of Smart Array controllers allows simple and easy upgrades any time needs for higher performance, capacity, and availability increase. Even successive generations of Smart Array controllers understand the data format of other Smart Array Controllers."

There is of course the unmentioned caveat that you can't replace a SCSI Smart Array controller with a SAS one.

You cannot replace a Smart Array controller with any other make without data loss, so you can put the disks in your Dell but you would have to restore the backup after creating new virtual disks.

What makes you think the controller's on the way out BTW?
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by:David
David earned 1000 total points
ID: 39786370
LSI Megaraid and MPT family controllers, and most AMCC/3WARE controllers have ability to import a configuration as well.

Bottom line, either post the make/model of controller you have so an expert can look it up, or tell you off the top of their head, or contact the manufacturer's support people yourself and ask them if they can import a config.

The general rule of thumb is that the NEW controller must be same firmware rev as the one you are replacing, and NEVER a lower revision.  Most of the time a higher rev on the replacement is OK.  But that is why you should get your driver revisions, firmware revisions documented and contact the manufacturer directly and let them give you specifics based on your situation.

(P.S. always back up first, nothing is infallible.  A dying controller can be unpredictable, so importing old metadata may be doomed from the beginning).

There are also rules if the controller isn't the same hardware that you are replacing.  HP, LSI,and other vendors have migration rules for different controllers as well, so you shouldn't have to worry about not being able to source the controller you once had.
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by:ncomper
ID: 39786382
Thanks for the rapid responses,

The RAID controller is an HP E200i

Many thanks
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39786483
An E200i can be replaced with an E200 or P400, a P410 can replace it from a data compatibility point of view but the cables are different. The i implies it's onboard or a special shape rather than a stand-up PCIe card but if it's on the mobo then you can still fit a stand-up card and it'll bypass the onboard one as there's nothing on it.

Again what makes you think the controller's failing?
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by:ncomper
ID: 39786593
We have logged via ILO and had errors on the RAID. We have already changed the battery on the RAID card and a drive but still getting the same error.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39786608
Without knowing what the error messages were it's hard to tell.
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Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39786615
Dump the actual errors as an attachment.  This is too important a problem to just go on assumptions of messages that may or may not be errors indicating controller replacement is necessary.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39786668
I agree, run the Array Diagnostic Utility to generate adureport.zip.
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Author Comment

by:ncomper
ID: 39832171
Thanks, ill get the error
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