Dell PERC 6i RAID 5 and Two Foreign Disks

On a Dell PowerEdge server with a PERC 6i SAS RAID v 6.2.0 controller and RAID 5 configured with three drives, two of the three drives say Foreign when viewing the bootup/BIOS level raid configuration utility.  Since two of the three drives are in the Foreign state the system will not boot and the Dell OMSA util cannot be run.  The two drives listed as Foreign are flashing green and appear to be okay. How does one get the drives to become part of the existing RAID 5 array and configuration again while preserving the existing configuration (and data, OS, etc...) ?

Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Boot to the CTRL-R utility, highlight the controller (top-left corner of the VD MGMT screen), F2, Foreign, Import.  It may leave one disk offline ... leave it offline until you confirm the VD is functioning and you can boot to your OS.  If so, then assign the disk as a hot-spare to rebuild it.

I would then suggest running diagnostics on all the drives and updating your system firmware (BIOS, ESM, PERC, etc.).

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
You can't force them online in a dead RAID.  
1.  If data is worth thousands of dollars, take to a data recovery firm.
2.  Otherwise, get a JBOD non-raid controller and use  raid reconstructor to manually build a working image of the RAID onto a scratch drive or file.  But warning, this happened for a reason.  Likely you have data loss and the array ran for a while with one dead drive, so you are going to have to look at XOR parity errors and try three disk recovery, as well as both combinations of two-disk recoveries.

Be gentle running diagnostics. I would not keep these drives powered on any longer than I have to.  Be prepared for full data loss if you aren't willing to spend $2500 or more with a lab to get maybe 100% of it back.
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
You can't force them online in a dead RAID.  
Importing the foreign configuration is not forcing them online (although "force online" can be done on older LSI PERC's that do not use foreign configurations).  Importing the foreign configuration simply tells the controller to use the configuration.  I'm not saying you should ignore the potential risk in powering on the drives, but if you have a backup of your data, then import the foreign configuration, replace any faulty hardware, rebuild, update firmware.  99% of the time, this is all you need to do.
Well if you have a backup of the data then might as well blow the config away and start over .. AFTER looking at controller logs to determine root cause.  As I wrote before, things happen for a reason. The drives just didn't get kicked out of the config w/o a reason.  The reason for doing that is typically losing a significant number of physical blocks.

If that was the case, then those disks can't be trusted anyway.

This is also risk of forcing them online (importing the config) and turing on the RAID5.  You really don't know what data was destroyed and files that were corrupted.  Typing in DIR won't tell you that.  Only doing binary comparisons of all of he files on the 'recovered' RAID with the backup will.
LGroup1Author Commented:
All good answers and information, thanks all !!  (and sorry I did not allow for more points to be divided for this one)
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Microsoft Legacy OS

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.