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really need to get data from a disk array

Posted on 2014-02-20
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Last Modified: 2014-03-04
hi guys,

I really need to get data from a disk array, the host machine has died, is there anyway of doing this??

the disk array is connected via a scsi card..and they are scsi disks, can i put them in another machine has scsi drives?

thank you
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Question by:jonathanduane2010
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by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 39873424
If the RAID controller is an expansion card, then yes, you very likely can put it and the array drives in a new machine and access the data.
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39873440
basically its sitting ina machine with a scsi card, can i put a scsi card in another machine and have it see the array or raw data?
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by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39873491
I suggest installing the controller card into another system.  If it's already booting into Windows from another disk, that's good. Allow the expansion controller to act as a 2nd set of drives.  After loading the drivers so you see the controller, shut the system down, connect the cables and drives (in the same order as original & same connector on controller) and boot the system.

If you are lucky, the drives will come up and you should be able to access them. Based on the controller you have, you might have to run other processes, but make sure it does not format the drives.
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39873518
what do you mean its good if its booting into windows?? because its saying missing ntldr??

ok i have the exact same machine i am gona put the controller into that and try ??
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by:dlethe
ID: 39873640
It depends on make/model of the array. There may be an off-the-shelf product (like runtime.org raid reconstructor).

But that software won't help if it is a UNIX-based appliance.

No matter what, $5K - $10K to a pro will usually work. Every moment you even have it turned on risks further damage  also.  If you install those disks in another system, especially one running windows, then you are at extreme risk of doing damage.

Windows won't do a read-only mount. Even plugging them in risks changing something and making it worse.   If the data is valuable, pay for professional help.
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39873684
its seems to be just a windows error i have booted up using recover console...but if i try and go inside folders i am getting "acess denied"
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by:Paul MacDonald
Paul MacDonald earned 125 total points
ID: 39873685
[dlethe] I don't think the OP is having problems with the RAID itself.  The host machine died and the OP is wondering if the RAID array will work in a different computer.

Since the RAID controller is an expansion/add-in card, I'm quite certain you can install it in another computer without any issues.  Make sure the drives are kept in the same configuration when you move them to the new computer.
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by:dlethe
dlethe earned 125 total points
ID: 39873808
Then the answer is usually yes, but it does depend on whether or not the cause of death has anything to do with the raid controller, disks, or data corruption.
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by:Tony Giangreco
Tony Giangreco earned 125 total points
ID: 39873826
It sounds like the old machine didn't die. I think it's a Windows problem caused while an update was being applied.

in that case, it sounds like the Windows Repair process should be run.
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39873827
do i have to swap the whole controller or just the disks into a machine that has same setup
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by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39873839
You can also try taking that SCSI card and drives and installing them on another server/pc that currently boots. This would allow you to backup the data before going further.

Boot up, backup the data and then evaluate the problem concerning the windows repair process.

What O/S are you running and what SCSI card and drives do you have?
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by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39873840
You swap the card, cable and disks as one unit.
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by:dlethe
ID: 39873841
Do both. The controller has metadata on it, and knows the state of the RAID and even if there was a rebuild or some other recovery going on at the time.
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39873858
the worrying thing is that when i am in recovery console i cant see the "windows" drive i can see the other drives, they are showing as folders but 0 bytes?
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by:dlethe
ID: 39873986
Do you have one of those awful FakeRAID controllers??   The mere fact that you see the folders indicates you have already done some damage and may not be able to get it back yourself.  Windows will update last-access bits so it is screwing up your data and creating corruption.

(At least highly likely, depending on RAID setup / config)

Exactly what controller do you have?
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39874045
will the data be completely lost??
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by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 39874111
There is little to no harm in moving the RAID array to a new machine.  Make sure you keep the drives attached to the same ports on the RAID controller.  Once you've moved the array, you should be able to determine whether or not there's been data loss.
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by:dlethe
ID: 39874147
Let's put it this way, if your HDD is mounted read/write and it is anything other than a RAID1 then I guarantee every time you so much as look at a file or type in DIR, you are destroying data bit by bit.  

If this is a RAID5 and the same physical block number that contains the last-time-file-is-accessed bits is in the middle of a data file on another disk, then you WILL either destroy parity information, or you will destroy the corresponding part of the file by replacing it with incorrect data. This might be 8KB, or 64KB or even more worth of data on the file, just for even telling it to type out contents of a .TXT

Windows won't do a read-only mount like UNIX will.  

[Note - I am interpreting your situation as  you have a fake RAID and the O/S sees individual HDDs, and not a single target device for the entire RAID set]

If you have no budget to pay somebody thousands of dollars, then turn it all of, buy some scratch drives (or disks that have enough free space), and then make a bit-level copy of the physical blocks on each HDD before going further.  You'll have to do this with a LINUX machine and make sure disks are behind a non-RAID controller.

This is what a pro does, never works with the original drives to reconstruct data unless they also need to look at internal counters and physical bad block locations and such .. which is more advanced and things that we do when you pay the big bucks.)

How much is the data worth?   And vital -- exactly what controller you have?    But before you answer, just turn off the computer, you're making things worse.
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39874255
ok so if i go the linux root what system will i install?? the machine is now off...

if i install, say centos with a spae srive ( i have some) will i stick in another drive?
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39874279
the data is very important....and i have no budget :(

the data is the differnce between people getting paid tomorrow or not :(
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by:dlethe
ID: 39874284
WHAT CONTROLLER!!!
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39874302
adaptec 29160
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by:dlethe
ID: 39874396
Then if you have a scratch drive larger than the total usable capacity of the RAID, go to runtime.org and download their RAID reconstructor package.  It is free to try, you pay to buy.

If damage is nominal, then it will let you reconstruct the RAID into a RAM image to get certain files.  You will need to reconfigure the adaptec RAID card for non-RAID (JBOD) use.

They have software on the website to boot the system into a windows CD/USB.

Note that the software is a few hundred dollars, but at least you don't pay if it won't work.  If you don't have a few hundred dollars, then sorry, you're screwed. This is too much to walk somebody through, and no guarantees anyway.
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39874428
Ok, so i get say a terabyte harddrive put ubuntu server on it? then when thats built go to runtime.org download the software then boot from the cd it creates?
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by:dlethe
ID: 39874448
No, go to the runtime.org site and they have an image somewhere to build a windows PE system on DVD or maybe even USB stick to boot the system to.  You need that 1TB drive to save the reconstructed image to, or even just to save files you want to get NOW, after it figures out the RAID.
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by:jonathanduane2010
ID: 39874483
looks like its $99 dollars, money well spent if it works!

Ok wish me luck!

thanks for all your help
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by:dlethe
ID: 39874499
They will also be happy to answer your pre-sales questions.  Be sure to followup on how it works.  No guarantee, of course, you certainly have some damage so I would image the reconstructed RAID to that 1TB drive and then do a chkdsk on that drive and not touch the RAID.
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andyalder earned 125 total points
ID: 39875478
Adaptec 29160 is not a RAID controller, it's just an HBA. Any RAID function you have is performed by the operating system and since said OS has to boot up before it knows how to deal with RAID there can be no RAID on the boot disks except for RAID 1 - it can still boot a mirrored pair without knowing how to deal with RAID since it just reads from one disk which has everything needed on it.

RAID reconstructor is not used for RAID 1, there is no de-striping to do. That you get NTLDR is missing suggests it's just a boot file that's corrupt.

You could have data disks that are running RAID 5 or RAID 0 under that also need recovering which RAID reconstructor could help with but that would not affect the machine booting into the OS.
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