LSI Software RAID lost VD

I have a client who has an asus workstation motherboard with dual xeon processors.
This board has a software raid controller LSI.

He has 6x 2TB drives running as raid, he doesn't remember if they were raid 0, 1, or 10.

Everything was working perfectly fine with the raid, but he had done graphics card incompatibility with his board, asus released a new bios update which fixes the graphics problem, so he did a bios update, which erased his raid configuration.

He has important data on those drives, and now they won't show up in windows. He brought me his system to recover his data or get his raid working without erasing the data on the drives.

I'm not an expert on raid, but i tried to go back in the raid configuration utility, and i can see all drives, but it kept telling me "no vd found". I know vd means virtual disk, but I'm worried if i recreate it, it would erase his data.

Anyone expert in this field could help pls?
GiggzManagerAsked:
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DavidPresidentCommented:
The drives have metadata on them that WILL survive a firmware update.   In fact, you can take the HDDs to a virgin motherboard and the onboard LSI will learn the configuration.  Your customer isn't telling you everything.  They probably blew the configuration away by telling the motherboard to do so.

At this point it is clear the configuration information is gone.  Buy a product by runtime.org called RAID reconstructor.  It will figure out the array and then let you mount it as a logical device.  Then, you can image the logical RAID onto a scratch drive.  Then rebuild the array the way you want it on the disks.  then image the contents of the array from the scratch drive back to the rebuilt array.

It is a pain but based on your customer's story, you probably have little choice.   (Note, when you image the broken RAID with runtime to a scratch drive, I suggest you image it to TWO scratch drives.  That way you won't be exposed by having only one copy of the data.  -- Murphy's laws and all that).
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
RAID Reconstructor will work only if you had either RAID0 or RAID5.
With other types of RAIDs it will not see the metadata.
But as suggested by dlethe - ask him again if this was exactly what he did.
DavidPresidentCommented:
The deal with the LSI is that they put metadata starting at physical block #0 on the HDD, and it is x blocks long.

So the partition starts at block #x (logical block #0 on the HDD is at physical block #x, logical block #1 is at physical block #x+1, logical block n is at physical block #x+n).

If you are good with linux you can use the dd command to take a binary image of the partition (starting at end of metadata) and image the rest of the HDD over onto a new drive starting at physical block #0  This is something I don't dare walk you through.

This type of thing goes way beyond EE, and I'd need the HDD in my possession and would want to look at some hex dumps with a binary editor.   Also consider things happen for a reason and since the metadata is overwritten, missing, or worse, corrupted due to media error ... you need to hire a professional and pay them to fix this.  [I am not implying I want to do this.  I am flat out saying I am not interested. ]

The important thing to know is that you're not going to get this data back by typing in a command or downloading some shareware to fix everything.  

So give up.  Tell your customer they need a professional recovery lab and don't make things worse by trying stuff.  For all you know the HDD is in stress and every moment it is powered up risks further loss.
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GiggzManagerAuthor Commented:
thanks guys for the replies,

I did ask him again, and this is what he said which exactly happened.
one day he turned on his computer, and it was giving him some graphics issues, it turns out the graphics card he's got is not fully compatible with the motherboard he's got, unless he updates the bios to a newer edition. which was suggested by the ASUS live-chat technicians who he chatted with. and sure enough, one of the bios updates listed that they corrected the issue with his specific graphics card. so he followed the instructions to update his bios, not realizing that he's got a RAID setup in his computer (Software LSI RAID).
he's got 1 SSD drive which has win7, and 6x 2TB drives which was setup as raid(0 or 1 or 10).
after the bios update, his windows started up, and his video issue is resolved as per asus tech's instructions; but now he can no longer access his 6x 2TB drives.
he also mentioned that after the bios successfully updated, the computer rebooted, then it showed him an error msg saying something like "VD not found, press enter to skip", he's not 100% sure of the exact message, but he said it came up 2-4 times where he had to press enter after each other, then his windows 7 booted up.

he doesn't know how to format a drive, or play with RAID configs. he doesn't even know how to get into the RAID configuration utility that starts up when computer is booting up.

after he noted his data is not there, he called me and said he's bringing the computer over to check it out.

as for your suggestion regarding runtime reconstructor, it only works with raid 0 and raid 5, and i know it's not raid5 because his controller doesn't even support other than raid0, 1, and 10. and i highly doubt it would be raid0, but i'm not sure as i didn't build it for him.

so i'm not so sure that his situation is this bad where it requires a data recovery lab to work on this setup, because none of the drives are malfunctioning and/or formatted. so in reality, it's only the virtual disk which was configured in the LSI settings has been removed from there after the bios update, so it should only be recreated there.
i'm not an expert with raid systems, and this is why i have not done anything to the raid controller or the drives yet, until i find some kind of a solution for it.

also if i go and buy 6x 2TB hard drives just to mirror them so i can keep his data safe while i play with different configs, it would take too much time, and cost too much money (~$600 only for cost or HDs), and all of this without a guaranteed solution yet.

i'm not sure of what else can be done.. maybe contact LSI manufacturer to get some help from them to see if it's still possible to re-create the VD and get back in business?
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
As far as I know the VD is the virtual drive which uses the space available on these drives in RAID configuration. And if you write information to the volume in Windows then it is written to the virtual drive. In other words the data must be in this missing VD.
What happens if you go to the RAID configuration utility of LSI with these drives connected on this machine?
Does it detect the existing or missing configuration? Which options does it give to you?
You need first to contact Asus and ask how could it come to the fact that BIOS update destroyed the RAID?
And why DID NOT warn the engineer of ASUS that data on all drives MUST BE backed up before applying this update?
Gerald ConnollyCommented:
Remember, unless you take a copy of the disk, any attempts to fix the problem, will make it difficult, maybe impossible for a professional recovery firm to get your customers data back, but thats only if they dont have any backups (they do have backups don't they?)
DavidPresidentCommented:
RAID reconstructor isn't smart enough to also deal with configurations where you have more than one RAID group in the drives, and/or RAID1/10; LUNs that don't use 100% of the disk; and configurations that ran degraded for any amount of time.

So it just isn't going to work for you. Unless the firmware was downgraded instead of upgraded, then the metadata on the drives would have been imported into the controller, converted, and saved to the disks.

This did not happen.  If it didn't convert after the upgrade, you won't be able to convert it by running any BIOS setups (unless RAID controller is in a JBOD mode or something silly like that)

In any event, only way to get this back is an experienced human who can take part the hex dumps on raw physical blocks and use software you can't afford to put things back.

I'd tell the customer to prepare to spend $3000+ and there are no guarantees.  Frankly, I expect this was RAID0, which means you need 12TB worth of scratch disks and it will take about a week just to run software even if you had the scratch drives.

Cut your losses, and tell the customer the bad news.    Perhaps their business insurance covers data loss.  Regardless, you're just postponing the inevitable and wasting your time.  Some data recovery companies do offer a no-charge assessment, but beware those assessments with RAID typically cost you $1000-$1500 PER DISK DRIVE to recover.
GiggzManagerAuthor Commented:
thanks guys for all your suggestions:

dlethe: so i took your initial suggestion of trying runtime software for the heck of it. it's worthless piece of c(beep)p. not because it didn't find anything, but because it's just, missing many functions/options which are available in other alternatives on the web.
so i did some intensive reading and searching on the net, and finally decided to give ReclaiMe free raid recovery software, which is actually FREE, and yes it does way more than runtime's software, and supports raid 0, 1, 10 and more.
i let it do it's thing on the 6 drives, it figured out that it was on raid10, and gave me the settings, which i used R-Studio older version which i already have a license for, and i plugged in all the proper settings, bingo, i can now view the files without having to mirror or image that huge 6TB image, since there is only about 3TB worth of data.
it's recovering as we speak.
even though i found the solution to this issue myself, but it was with the help of dlethe's initial suggestion. thank you.

now i can tell my client to go get some sleep :)

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GiggzManagerAuthor Commented:
the real solution was using the free software which i found after doing my own research. but i wouldn't have been doing this research if it wasn't for the initial suggestion from dlethe when he/she suggested to check runtime's raid reconstructor.
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