Dell PE T410 and SBS 2008

I have a Dell PE T410 with a RAID1 software configuration. There is an amber light on the front panel of the server. I called Dell and gave them the information:

    E1810 hard drive 1 fault. Review and Clear SEL.

I opened System Administrator and it said:

    -Connector 0 (RAID)
        -Physical Disks
            -Physical Disk 0:0:0 Online
            -Physical Disk 0:0:1 Failed

A Dell tech remoted in and basically found what I found and more. He said not only is Physical Disk 0:0:1 failed but the RAID software is bad, so if I were to replace the failed HD and when the good one would try to restore information on the replaced HD, the problem would carry over to the new HD. He said he would have to send two HDs and that I would have to reinstall everything from scratch. So much for having a RAID 1 with RAID software! I have everything backing up daily onto an external hard drive using Windows Server Backup. I also have my data backing up to a NAS device. I am currently looking at buying a new server but I am afraid this server will not last very long under this condition. The Dell guy said it may last a week and then it will fail. He also said not to reboot the server because it will not reboot in this state. My question is what steps should I take to preserve the Exchange mailboxes if this server fails before I get the other server setup and configured?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:

But I don't know how the guy thinks the drive will pass on the "fail" to a new drive.

I would ensure your backups are good, then replace the confirmed dead drive and allow the RAID to rebuild.  Then replace the failing drive once the RAID is rebuilt and let it rebuild again.

Another alternative is to P2V the SBS server (if it were virtualized to begin with you could just move it to a laptop for a week or two... or a any other system you can install a hypervisor to.
TlingitAuthor Commented:
But I don't know how the guy thinks the drive will pass on the "fail" to a new drive.

He says the software RAID controller has also failed, so if I replace 0:0:1 with a new drive that this will not work. He used the term "punctured software RAID."
Chris HInfrastructure ManagerCommented:
He's saying your stripe is punctured and even a new disk will not rebuild the array.  Sh*t happens.  If you have backups, especially windows server backup images, you're good.  But do excatly as he says.

A puncture is a feature of Dell's PERC controllers designed to allow the controller to restore the redundancy of the array despite the loss of data caused by a double fault condition. Another name for a puncture is "rebuild with errors". The RAID controller will detect a double fault, and because there is insufficient redundancy to recover the data in the impacted stripe the controller create a puncture in that stripe and allow the rebuild to continue.
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Chris HInfrastructure ManagerCommented:
I think he's saying you have a file delta missing and a reboot will cause a complete degradation in the file system.  You're in the "ride it till the wheels fall off" mode.
TlingitAuthor Commented:
I think he's saying you have a file delta missing and a reboot will cause a complete degradation in the file system.  You're in the "ride it till the wheels fall off" mode.

That's putting it lightly.

I have a full server backup using Windows Server Backup. He says even doing a restore from an image wouldn't work. He suggests making sure the backups that are running are good and to restore only data files and emails. How do I verify my Windows Server Backups are good, I believe they are.
Chris HInfrastructure ManagerCommented:
Windows will verify them when they're run.  I doubt he's saying that.  I think he's saying restoring to the one drive with the failed drive in the raid array will repeat the symptoms and keep the state in degraded/failed mode.  He wants you to replace both drives, replace or update the RAID controller(or software?) and then have you restore the image.  That shouldn't cause an issue.  But, as it stands, your RAID array sounds volatile from the drive level and the controller level, which is a bad state to be in.  Unless you have some kind of malware that is injecting boot code on your controller or drives, I can't see how restoring a backup would be a bad thing, unless the backup was taken at the controller level (like a san)  In your case, it's a windows backup which is essentially a raw disk image with a little compression.
David AtkinTechnical DirectorCommented:
I'd agree with the above.  I imagine that your Backup is ok and the controller error shouldn't affect your actual restore.

This being said, the safest thing to do would be to carry out a test restore now - Prior to a failure.  Look at restoring the server to a Virtual environment as a test.
TlingitAuthor Commented:
This being said, the safest thing to do would be to carry out a test restore now - Prior to a failure.

I did a practice restore to another PC. The first time I did it, it only restored the NOS with no data. The second time I did it with a new backup it restored the NOS with some of the data, no AD and no Exchange information. I am a little worried to say the least. My main concern that I have is saving and restoring Exchange. I have a good backup of all my data files and should be able to restore them without a problem, but the only thing I have to restore email is Windows Server Backup backing up to an external hard drive.
Chris HInfrastructure ManagerCommented:
Follow the steps below to restore:

Just make sure on step 4 you see your drive on the new target server (or load drivers otherwise).  

Restore, make sure clock is correct and reboot, making sure your IP address is correct and you should be all set.

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Windows Server 2008

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