Foreign Drive on Perc

Walked into a new site.  There are two Virtual Drives set up, and both show as functioning.  But on the 01 Virtual drive only, it shows 3 Foreign Drives on the Perc H710 Controller and one other as ready.  The local person(not Technical) has assisted the previous Tech to add two additional drives recently (i believe after one was already marked as Foreign).  I removed the two that she added when she said she did not do anything after inserting the drives.  Can I clear the config?   Will it affect the working Drives or just Clear the Foreign Config from that one Drive?
Wayne YounkerAsked:
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If there was data on the foreign disks then I would say not clear the config but import because clearing would delete the array.

However you stated that there was nothing done after the two disks where placed and they where later removed. If you're really sure about that then you can clear the config as Clear Foreign will ONLY clear present disks WITH a Foreign Configuration.

PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Is there data on the drives that you are trying to bring back? or are you just trying to set up storage for them? They may have destroyed what was on it.

What RAID level was it before?
Was there a hot-spare?
Why were they replaced?
How were they replaced? One at a time? both together? while powered off?
Wayne YounkerAuthor Commented:
I wish I could answer all of those questions. I would doubt very much that there was any hot spare. The other answers are unknown to me. The customer is prepared and know they might have lost data, but I need to ensure that I don't lose more.  We can proceed assuming data on the Foreign drives is lost, as long as i retain the data they currently have.  They have a tape backup but have not had a chance to check on its state.
     Is there ANY chance a disk marked as foreign is still supplying data to the virtual drive?
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
No. Foreign means it is completely offline and non-participatory. There are reasons for each question, because how I would proceed, if nothing truly has been done since they were replaced (including a rebuild), I would probably power down, pull the two "new" drives, put the two "old" drives back in, boot up and then attempt to import the foreign configuration IF it is still offline and the drives are healthy enough.

There are many scenarios here, so the questions are important:

If this was a RAID 5, then their data is gone unless you can get it back up with the OLD drives (the new drives are useless until it is recovered on the old ones or you give up on recovery). If it was a RAID 5 with no hot-spare and two drives actually failed - like dead failed - then their data is gone, end of story (unless they want to invest in expensive professional data recovery). If the drives simply fell offline (for any of a number of reasons), then you may be able to get it back online using the original drives. Advice to replace two drives at once in ANY RAID 5 scenario is faulty.

RAID 6 (or RAID 5 with a hot-spare), you MAY have some options, but it is still precarious, at best. Same with RAID 10, especially with the array currently offline.
Wayne YounkerAuthor Commented:
Two of the drives were new, so were never part of the array in my opinion.  I doubt if they were ever added properly.  I did exactly as you have suggested in removing the two new drives.  The import fails.  It seems the only option left for me is to clear config.  Agree?
andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
New? Do you mean second hand ones new to this system?
Wayne YounkerAuthor Commented:
The tech advertised them as new and new to the system.  Let's go with that assumption.
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Well, if your next step is to wipe it out and start over, you could try a "re-tag". You basically delete the VD then recreate it (be sure to NOT initialize the VD!). This is pretty hit/miss, and can destroy data if incorrect settings are used (VD size, number of disks, RAID level, stripe size, etc.), so if whoever set it up changed any of the sensible/defaults, then it will kill it off. If you/they are considering at all to sending them out for data recovery, then don't do a retag.

If that doesn't work or you simply decide to start over, be sure to Initialize the array when setting up a new permanent VD.
andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
I think these are just some "new" disks they bought to add to the server PET.

Wayne, is there any data missing at the moment that you need to recover from these disks?
Wayne YounkerAuthor Commented:
No.   The data is still there.  Just one foreign disk at the moment because i removed the two "new" drives.
andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
Safe to erase the foreign config then, that just wipes the metadata out.

Scares me erasing the foreign config, you would think that as it is the metadata on the disk you are erasing you would do it by selecting the disk but it's done at the controller level.
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
With the retag, I was assuming the old disks were put back in ... importing/repairing a RAID 5 without the original drives is the same as using two "new" ones - impossible.

Yeah ... you can see the foreign configuration(s) on the foreign tab, so the disks may have foreign configs that don't even match each other - the controller just does what it can to reconcile them and import if there is a "working" config available during the process. So, clearing the foreign configuration at the controller level ignores foreign configurations on all drives.

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Wayne YounkerAuthor Commented:
Thanks to you all for your comments and instruction.  I cleared the config, and the system has been fully restored. I really appreciate the time you gave.  Sleep will come easier tonight.
Wayne YounkerAuthor Commented:
Clearing the config was the answer after it failed to import the drive.  The previous tech should have noted an issue with the drives and resolved that issue before proceeding.
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