Everything, Everything - June 2010

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RAID Shenanigans
Monday 7th June, 2010 15:09
It's that time of year again when I have to do The Big Recovery.

It happened almost exactly a year since the last time something went wrong, which was barely over a year since the previous time something went wrong. On the plus side I've usually lost very litle data, typically less than if I hadn't used RAID at all.

This time I'm not even panicking. I knew exactly what settings to use with Raid Reconstructor, which detected the correct order (despite a missing drive) first time. I stuck the order into File Scavenger, with the correct settings, using my File Scavenger Version 3 Professional Use License (currently costs £134.00 from QueTek, I'm pretty sure I paid less than that a few years ago, and it's proved extremely useful and good value given the number of times I've used it). I hooked up a couple of drives to my main machine and I'm currently recovering files to the fileserver's C drive (thankfully I went with the 1TB drive in the system, rather than the 500GB I also had spare at the time). At the same time, I've hooked up a couple of drives to my main machine and I'm moving the files using Windows file sharing (using SMB2) across a gigabit switch (transfer rates are pretty good). The first two disks are now full, so I'll power down and swap drives with two new ones (that arrive tomorrow) that I'll fill over the next day or two. I could have used an IcyBox to save me from having to power down the main machine, but it's not too much hassle to switch the disks over (and it's a bit cheaper).

So what happened? It appears that 1 of the 5 Western Digital WD20EADS hard drives in my RAID5 array has run out of sectors it can reallocate. These things occasionally occur, but for some reason it caused the fileserver to fail to respond properly, so I had to power it off and on again. After it came back up, the array was showing "Failed" (and the dying disk was unallocated). Ah well, s**t happens. Even after all the bad luck I've had with WD in the past, I'm still chalking this one up to bad luck.

Hopefully the RMA won't take too long, then I can add the disk back into the array and move the data back across (it's either that or sacrifice some content or buy another drive). Until then, I'll simply hook the drives up as normal and operate without redundancy. Worst case scenario, I still have the original 4 remaining disks that I can use to re-recover the data.
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