HOT-SWAP drive, replacement option ?

Which STEP #4 OPTION is recommended ?

 1. see that one drive in my PHYSCIAL
    Windows 2003 server is flashing ORANGE
      ** upgrading to 2012 next weekend

 2. removed HOT-SWAP drive to find details
    so I know which one to order,
    did NOT put drive back in

 3. turn machine off so other drives don't
    go bad while I am waiting for replacement
    drive to arrive

 4. Do which one of the below ?
      ** Option #1
           a. turn machine on
           b. wait 10+ minutes for everything to work
           c. install new drive
           d. wait for rebuild to finish
      ** Option #2
           a. install new drive
           b. turn machine on
           c. wait for rebuild to finish
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I would turn the machine on and make sure it works. It should but I would ensure it does work.

Now that it is running, remove the drive that is the problem and replace it.

I have replaced server drives with hardware RAID while the server was running and no problems.

I prefer the machine running to replace hot swap drives.  That way I can see the replacement drive working.

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Make model of system, RAID type/mode?
Sometimes a drive gets kicked out "in error" is an indication that there is something going on, but pulling/reinserting the drive might work. I.r the drive is not dead.

Can your environment tolerate a server being off?  If it is under warranty, usually a replacement is next business day at the latest and within 4 hours at the earliest.

The whole idea behind RAID/HOT swap is to maintain a system operating during a failure of a component.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The whole idea behind RAID/HOT swap is to maintain a system operating during a failure of a component.  <-- Agree. But now that it is OFF anyway, I prefer to get it running the way it was before changing the drive.

If you replace the drive shut down and it won't start for some reason, you won't know exactly why.
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Both options works if it's an HP RAID config, if it's a Smart Array E200 or up (any number that's higher, even if the letter is different, like P400), from at least around 2007 or newer.
Most controllers REQUIRE option #1.   But since you have ancient drives, (The Win2K3 is a good hint), then I suggest option #3

- Turn system on w/o adding the new drive
- Immediately kick off a full backup
- After backup complete, install new drive and let it rebuild

A rebuild is the most stressful thing you can possibly do to old drives, and it isn't a stretch to consider that all of your drives are same make/model/firmware, were all made on the same day; same manufacturing run; same starting day of service; same I/O load; same environmentals; same duty cycle.

Odds are dangerously high that other disks are just as bad off as the one that failed, and may NOT survive a rebuild.   At least if you back up you'll have a fighting chance.

Remember the rebuild touches 100% of every block on every disk.  A backup only does reads to parts of disks that have data.  Backups are much less stressful
finance_teacherAuthor Commented:
Are below the FULL recommended steps ?

  a. keep OLD junk drive removed from slot
       ** or do you want me to put back
          in before I do below step b ?

  b. turn machine on

  c. wait 10+ minutes for everything to work

  d. create a CURRENT backup

  e. install new drive

  f. wait for rebuild to finish
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
It is a good idea to put it back in (even failing) as the RAID controller might see it and know it needs help. Then follow your steps.
You want the system in the state it was when you last shut it down.  So if the bad HDD was in there when you powered it off, put it back in and power on.  Otherwise, leave it out.

A degraded system does NOT like surprises on power-up.  Any device change can cause confusion (on some controllers, others are better at tolerating such things, but why take the chance?)
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
It sounds like you have an older Dell Power Edge server with the LED in back flashing orange.  I maintain many dell servers (new and old) and I'm in that situation normally twice a year.

If you are replacing that server next weekend, I would do the following based on my business experience over the years with Dell servers.

1. Keep the server running.
2. Go into Dell Open Manage and view the status of the raid.
3. if the raid is in degraded status,
a. Decide if you would like to continue using it as a Domain Controller, print server or other light duty operation?

If No, you can take your chances and keep it as is for a week. I've had a degraded raid for a week and it continued to work until I received the replacement drive.

If yes, then order a replacement drive, replace it (hopefully its a hot swap model) and rebuild the drive in Open Manage.  

After you install the new server and it's stable, you could reinstall Windows Server on it (a clean install works wonders if you can do it) and use it as a light duty server.

Hope this helps!
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