HELP! I lost my RAID 5 array
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Thread: HELP! I lost my RAID 5 array

  1. #1
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    Unhappy HELP! I lost my RAID 5 array

    I have a Gigabyte K8N Ultra 9 (nForce4 ultra Socket 939) with a built-in SiI 3114 controller. I have four Maxtor SATA 80GB drives connected to the 3114 controller in a RAID 5 array. Last night, out of the blue, two of the drives lost power (loose connector I'm guessing). Of course, Windows freaked out because on of its disks had just disappeared (the RAID array), so I quickly shut down the computer, wiggled the power cords, and powered back up again. All 4 drives are now back again, but the controller says that the array is now invalid! Instead of just shutting off the other two drives that were still powered, it marked them as orphans, so when I booted up again with all 4 drives, I now have 3 orphans and 1 available drive. It seems that some simple modification of the RAID metadata on the drives would fix this situation, but I have not been able to find any way to do this with the RAID Tools utility that came with the motherboard. Are there any such tools to do this kind of repair? Thanks.

    Matt

  2. #2
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    Your array is dead, no recovering it. Whenever you lose more than one drive, all data is lost. RAID5 is nice because you have a 1 drive failure limit to keep the array going, but when you lose two or more drives like that the RAID5 has no way to do XOR calculations which keep the array going.
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  3. #3
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    That's why I'd never use a raid configuration like that.
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  4. #4
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    I understand that if two drives die, the array is dead. However, the drives didn't die, they just lost power temporarily. The drives are still perfectly healthy and their data should be intact. The RAID controller just doesn't know that, since it marked the two drives that didn't lose power as orphans. I'm hoping that I can somehow tweak the RAID controller's data on the drives so that it will see them as healthy again.

    Matt

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtleggjp
    I understand that if two drives die, the array is dead. However, the drives didn't die, they just lost power temporarily. The drives are still perfectly healthy and their data should be intact. The RAID controller just doesn't know that, since it marked the two drives that didn't lose power as orphans. I'm hoping that I can somehow tweak the RAID controller's data on the drives so that it will see them as healthy again.

    Matt
    Losing an array also consists of losing power to the drives. If two drives lose sync with the array for any reason, the array is dead.

    Quote Originally Posted by nodnod
    That's why I'd never use a raid configuration like that.
    Really, then what RAID configuration would you use? The only thing more redundant and financially feasible would be a RAID 50 configuration.
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  6. #6
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    not saying this had anything to do with it or not, but i have had problems with onboard raid controllers of the Silicon Image brand. im not saying that yours is bad, but to me it seems using a windows software raid setup would be a little safer- as you can usually fix software problems

  7. #7
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    Earlier today, I posted a link to a WinXP hack that enables RAID 5. That post is obviously no longer here. I'd like to know if it was deleted by the moderator or just got lost in cyberspace.

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  8. #8
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    Well, given the current situation, I don't think I will be setting up another RAID 5, whether I get this one back or not. I've always been afraid of something happening to my array, since it is so complicated, and Silicon Image RAID 5 controllers are seemingly non existant except on motherboards. That means I'd have to replace the motherboard if the array ever went out due to a controller malfunction, and even then there's no guarantee I could get it back. I've built a few mirror arrays lately, and I like how you can usually connect the individual HDDs by themselves and evacuate data if needed. No way you could do this with a RAID 5 array, hence I am in trouble unless I can find some kind of utility to help me tweak the metadata. Maybe if I had finished my Computer Science degree, I could write such a utility myself.

    BTW, this is my second one of these Gigabyte boards. With the first one, the RAID 5 controller didn't work at all. I could never get an array successfully created and initialized. I guess I should have read that as a bad omen. This one has worked great for the past few months that I have used it. Write speed totally ****s (3-5 MB/sec ) but since I used it mainly for storage of TV Shows and music, I didn't write to it that often.

    Matt

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleMan
    Earlier today, I posted a link to a WinXP hack that enables RAID 5. That post is obviously no longer here. I'd like to know if it was deleted by the moderator or just got lost in cyberspace.

    t-man
    It's there.... just saw it, thanks BTW
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  10. #10
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    Wow, it's back again: I must be working too hard. (Not likely). Cyberspace warp?
    Anyhow, it looks like a solid method if you're brave enough.

    t-man
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  11. #11
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    It's not back again... signing off

    t-man
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleMan
    It's not back again... signing off

    t-man
    http://discussions.hardwarecentral.c...768#post942809
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  13. #13
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    I'm still not ready to give up on this yet. I still think that all it will take to fix this array is just a little tweaking of the raid metadata. It's like deleting a file. The data is still there on the disk, but with nothing in the file system pointing to it, it is simply treated as garbage data until something else writes over it. After seeing that the array was corrupted, I have since disabled the RAID controller in the BIOS, so nothing else should have done anything to these drives. So even if there is no utility for helping me directly, is there any other utility that would allow me to check or modify data in the boot sector of a hard drive (or wherever this metadata is stored)?

    Matt

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