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RAID 5 Drive Replacement

By keving98 ·

I have a Dell Poweredge 1900 in a RAID 5 configuration running SBS2003. One of the drives failed and instead of taking the drive offline first I just pulled the bad drive out and put in a new drive. I purchased what was supposed to be an exact match but it turned out to be slightly smaller and I didn't realize it. In the Dell OpenManage software it was still listed as failed (I assume now because I never took the actual failed drive offline) so I first tried to tell the OpenManage software to rebuild the drive and it failed (refused to try). I then chose the option to put online. This caused the drive to no longer be listed as failed and the OS (sbs2003) didn't crash but it became semi-unresponsive.

I had to leave because the business was closing. I was hoping that the drive was just rebuilding and I would be able to remote in when I got back to my office. When I couldn't remote in I called the owner. The owner was still in the office and when she checked the server it was sitting with a black screen and a blinking cursor. Apparently the server crashed and rebooted itself and now won't load Windows. I had her remove the drive I put in and leave it one drive short and it still won't boot. I realize my original mistake was forcing online a drive that is smaller than the working RAID drives.

My plan is to meet her there first thing in the morning and try to get this resolved. What should be my first step? Should I leave the drive out and try to recover the RAID? Should I put the failed drive back in and force it online (or force rebuild)?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kevin G

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RE:- What should be my first step?

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to RAID 5 Drive Replacement

Get a suitable drive that can be used in the RAID would be my first suggestion. It needs to be Identical in Size or bigger and if it's bigger there is going to be some of it unused but it's going to cause you real problems.

Also some of these Drives particularly the IBM/Hitachi Drives are an Odd Size so you need to use a Drive from the same Maker to get the right size. For example a 40 GIG Hitachi/IBM Drive is 42 GIG and no other Drive maker makes a similar size drive so you have to use another Hitachi/IBM Drive in the RAID unless you want to put yourself to a lot of trouble.

Anyway after you get the replacment drive you need to rebuild the Array from the Boot Screen not from within Windows and if your replacment drive is to small it will not rebuild. Even if you have the right size drive I think you'll be up against things as you have messed things up so badly by now and you may be unable to rebuild the Array and need to reinstall the entire thing after Rescuing any unsaved data. Of course a Complete Clone Backup would be nice but by what you have said I don't think that one exists.


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Reponse To Answer

by keving98 In reply to RE:- What should be my fi ...

Well, I'm here now. The boot screen raid configuration shows the drives in an array and online but degraded (which is where I started). I didn't put any drives back in so I have 2 out of the 3 raid 5 drives inserted. I booted to my Acronis Enterprise rescue disk and it sees a 39.06GB "C" drive but nothing else except my usb drive. The array is ~140GB. I'm making a mirror of the "C" drive now (about 40% complete). If I'm not mistaken I had the array split into 2 partitions (C and D) but Acronis only sees one. Does the fact that is sees any partitions mean that the array is okay? Is it possible my partition table is just a little whacked and the "D" is there somewhere? When the backup is complete I'm going to boot into the safe mode version of Acronis and see what happens. I'll also boot to Acronis Disk Director.

There's no chance I'm going to be able to get a drive the same size or larger locally and being down all day is not really an option. I do have an Acronis mirror of the server but I don't know how old it is as I was having problems with the software and only used it manually. I do have other backups, including online, but no mirrors. When I booted with the Acronis it didn't see my other backup sata drives attached to a pci card for some reason so I can't say for sure what mirrors I have. Booting to the safe version may help.

Sorry so long winded.

Kevin G

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