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Old 01-07-2006, 02:07 PM   #1
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Linux Software RAID failure - NEED HELP!

I have a fairly confusing situation and am in need of some help and direction.

We have a NAS appliance running linux and software RAID (IDE). The unit has 4 250GB drives in it.
The 4 drives are numbered from left to right 1 - 4. A few weeks ago, #2 lit up amber and was reporting as a failed drive. Upon further discovery we learned that the 4 drives we purchased for this unit are "fake" refurbed Maxtor drives. Maxtor told us to get our data off those drives ASAP. So we ordered 4 new drives from a more reliable source.

We took out # 2, put a new drive in, the array re'syncd and a few hours later, #4 lit up with an amber light and we pulled that one out and put a new drive in and told it to re-sync.

Here is where the fun begins...
While trying to sync up #4, #2 lit amber again and the sync could not complete. The system would hang and the unit would need to be reset.
The now 3 drive array was running degraded and every time we tried to get data off, the system would hang becuase of #2.
So, we figured something's wrong here because #2 is brand new! Well...#2 was a tad differenet from the other 3 in which it had a warranty sticker on the front the other 3 didn't have...and Maxtor then tells us "oh, that's a refurbed drive...legitimate, and under warranty, but refurbed".

We took the drive out, put it in a regular system, tested the drive and SMART says it's going to fail and then a diag tells us the drive has tons of bad sectors.
We try to run SpinRite on the drive and 75% into repairing the drive, it finally fails!

So here's what we have,
all 4 original drives in tact with data (but #2 and #4 are no longer recognized because of the re-sync) and 4 new drives that we can't do anything with until we figure out what to do in regards to getting the data.

We figure if we SpinRite the original 4 and then somehow edit the partitions on the original #2 and #4, we can get the array back up and try this whole thing again.

Is that possible since it's software RAID? There are 5 partitions on each drive and with all the utilities we have, we can see them and clone the drives...but with the sync all messed up, we are stuck.

And of course, our backups are not as up to date as they should have been and there is data we MUST retrieve.

Any help, suggestions, directions would be most appreciated!
Old 01-07-2006, 06:01 PM   #2
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There is nothing you can do but send the two drives to a data recovery service. Have them extract the data from the platters and put the data on a known good hard drive.

IDE hard drives has an automatic relocation feature. This means if the sector is bad, it will move it to a known good sector. Hard drives usually have 1.25 to 1.5 times the space than what is advertise to make this feature work. I suggest using the hard drive manufacture utility to disable this feature. Also I suggest disabling the on-board cache for each hard drive. By doing this, it should minimize any problems that will come up when using RAID with IDE or SATA drives. I read this on the internet, so I may be right or wrong.


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