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RAID-5 Is Dell BSing me?

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Old July 10th 03, 10:42 PM
Grandma Wilkerson
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Default RAID-5 Is Dell BSing me?


I'm running Windows2000 on a Dell 2450. I have 4 identical harddrives
configured for RAID 5. It was shipped this way from the factory. Today the
amber warning light on drive #2 starts blinking indicating a problem with
that drive. The server, however, is still running just fine. The data is in
tact. This is what I would have expected with RAID 5 -- one disk goes down
and the system stays up. That's the whole point of RAID, or so I thought.

I called Dell, hoping that they'd send out a replacement drive [I have a
4hr service contract with them]. The tech wanted me to jump through a series
of hoops [take the drive out and "re-seat" it, run a rebuild via a
SCSISelect utility, etc.]. The SCSISelect utility showed that there is a
problem with drive #2 which I expected. The tech had me do a rebuild anyway.
The rebuild appears to work at first, with drive #2 happily writing data --
but then at 20%, the rebuild fails. This came as no surprise to me because I
figured the drive was bad.... but here's what the tech said that confuses

He says that because the rebuild failed at 20%, it would be pointless to
send me a new drive. He says that I need to delete the container and
re-create it which means I'd lose ALL of the data. I should then reinstall
Windows, restore my data from tape, etc. This seems crazy. I thought the
whole point of RAID-5 is that my data is safe if only one drive fails --
and in fact my data IS safe! The server is running just FINE on only 3
drives. All I want is to do is replace drive#2 so that I have my redundancy
again... but he's telling me that replacing drive #2 won't help and that I
need to backup everything, recreate the container, rebuild, and then restore
everything... and I didn't understand his explanation as to WHY I had to do
this. Something to do with "parity" errors? He says he's seen this problem
"100 times." I don't understand. This seems crazy. The data is still OK. It
seems like I should be able to just stick a new drive in there, and the RAID
5 array should automatically rebuild itself. Help!


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