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  • Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

    Hey All,

    There is a Windows Server 2003 machine that we have to keep limping along with SATA drives and Windows software RAID. The drives in Disk Manager report "Online (Errors)". One of the mirrored partitions says it's "At Risk." There's a clicking noise coming from one of the drives. The server periodically freezes up and has to be powered off and back on.

    So I bought 2 new SATA drives. What's the best procedure to swap these things out? I am thinking:

    - Break the mirror
    - shut down server
    - ghost the primary hard drive to a replacement
    - install both replacements, boot from the newly ghosted disk
    - Extend one of the partitions to take advantage of the extra space
    - Or create a new partition
    - format the new drive as a dynamic disk and re-establish the mirror for each partition

    Any potential problems with this? Will all the Dynamic Disk properties come across using Ghost?...

    Tnx

  • #2
    Re: Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

    Since its Windows RAID 1, try:
    break mirror
    remove one drive (keep as backup)
    replace
    create volume(s)
    recreate mirror
    repeat all of above for second drive

    If you can get rid of the clicking drive first, thats probably a good idea
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

      If you Ghost a drive with errors, then you will Ghost the errors to the new HDD. Actually the next line negates that information.

      Ghost has a problem with Dynamic Disks. http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT...00062209523525
      You may want to have a look at Acronis and see if that works with Dynamic Disks. http://www.acronis.com/resource/solu...mic-disks.html

      Before beginning make sure you have a tested backup of all your data, System State etc.
      1 1 was a racehorse.
      2 2 was 1 2.
      1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
      2 2 1 1 2

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      • #4
        Re: Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

        biggles - thanks for the link. It looks like Ghost could potentially work, but I don't think I'll chance it.

        Ossian - I think I am going to try your idea. I'm waiting for their backup to verify, then I will start.

        - First, shall I try the "reactivate disk" option on both disks? To try to clear up the errors?
        - Should I use the "Break Mirror" (not "remove mirrored volume") on each mirrored partition? Does it matter which disk I do this on?
        - I presume that after I break the mirror and remove the "first" drive (disk 0) that it will automatically boot from disk 1? I've heard that Server 2003 automatically changes the boot.ini appropriately, but I've never done this on 2003.

        Thanks!

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        • #5
          Re: Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

          IIRC (but please double check as its been a looooonnnngggg time......)
          Break Mirror to separate the two drives (remove mirrored volume deletes the partition
          IMHO then:
          Remove Disk 1 & replace with new empty drive
          Reboot
          Create mirrored volume on Disk 1 mirroring Disk 0

          Boot.ini should take care of itself but why not add an option to boot explicitly from Disk 1?

          btw, does your MoBo support RAID 1 itself - many SATA ones do
          If so, you should see performance gains vs Windows RAID
          Tom Jones
          MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
          PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
          IT Trainer / Consultant
          Ossian Ltd
          Scotland

          ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

            Yes - I believe it does have that option. It's an entry level Dell server from about 4 years ago. However there is not a great way to move from software RAID to SATA RAID... that I can see... reinstalling isn't an option here.

            I ended up taking your advice. Here's the cliffs notes from my procedures, I've left out some semi-unrelated things. As far as I can tell, removing a mirror and breaking a mirror do the same thing, except with the Remove Mirror option, you specifically choose which one to remove, and the other one remains "live" - i.e. retains the original drive letter -

            • Within Logical Disk Manager, chose the Reactivate Disk option. Disk status changed from "Online (Errors)" to "Online."
            • Broke mirror in Logical Disk Manager
            • Shut down the server and disconnected the primary (160 GB) drive
            • Booted from the secondary (250 GB) drive as a test
            • Windows booted successfully, but would not completely start. Received error indicating SAM could not initialize, since the directory service could not start. (This must be due either to errors on the drive, or the fact that it's no longer marked as a valid Windows system partition, because of the breaking of the mirror...?)
            • Shut down the server, connected the primary drive, disconnected the secondary, and booted into Windows successfully. Verified everything was running. The clicking noise ceased after removing this secondary drive.
            • Shut down the server. Removed the secondary drive and replaced it with a new one.
            • Booted into Windows. Removed the old drive marked as Failed. Converted new drive to Dynamic Disk. Added a mirror for system partition C: on the new drive. Received the error "logical disk manager could not update the boot file... verify your arcpath settings..." After data was finished mirroring, had to guess on the ARCPATH settings for second drive. Correct line to add turned out to be multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windo ws secondary plex" /fastdetect
            • Tested this configuration by restarting Windows and choosing the secondary line created above. Server successfully booted from (presumably) the new drive.
            • Mirrored D: partition from old drive to new
            • Shut down server and disconnected the old primary. Booted again from the new secondary. Interestingly the server would not boot uisng the secondary plex menu option, but would boot using the first one. My only likely explanation for this is that SATA controller dynamically assigns rdisk numbers to the arcpath - the first drive present is rdisk 0, second is 1, and so on.
            • Verified everything was still working, checked logs. Disconnected primary drive was not reported as Disk 1 while the new drive was reported as Disk 0 - they had swapped positions. Removed mirrored partitions for this drive, and removed the drive itself. This removed the mirror.
            • Shut down again, swapped out old primary drive for new, and restarted the server.
            • Mirrored C:\ and D:\ over to the new drive. This time, the Logical Disk Manager was able to add the extra line to Boot.ini (and it was rdisk 1 partition 1). Removed the line I manually created before.


            One thing I did not do is to test the fault tolerance once everything was in place. I didn't want to start the system with only one drive, since everything would have to resync once the other drive was reconnected...

            If anyone else has a precarious server, another good option might be, after removing the mirror, to convert to basic disk and use Ghost...

            Anyhow thanks for the suggestions!!
            Last edited by Moose1309; 19th October 2008, 01:58. Reason: Add'l info

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            • #7
              Re: Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

              There is only one way to convert dynamic to basic disks -- delete all the volumes first!

              (OK, Partition Magic will also do it for you)

              Why not try a DR -- there will be limited amounts of re-syncing with a small number of changed files -- you will feel much better knowing it was working!

              And an idle thought...
              Does breaking a mirror bring 7 years bad luck?
              Tom Jones
              MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
              PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
              IT Trainer / Consultant
              Ossian Ltd
              Scotland

              ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

                Originally posted by Moose1309
                As far as I can tell, removing a mirror and breaking a mirror do the same thing,
                NO, they are not the same thing Ossian is correct. If you Remove the mirror you will end up with 1 HDD with O/S and data and 1 x blank HDD. Breaking the mirror give you 2 identical HDDs. How do i know this for sure? Because I Removed a Mirror once and ended up in a world of hurt.

                Save yourself some potential grief and just break it.

                Originally posted by Ossian
                Does breaking a mirror bring 7 years bad luck?
                Doing it wrong can bring you to the unemployment line.
                1 1 was a racehorse.
                2 2 was 1 2.
                1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                2 2 1 1 2

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Server with soft RAID-1 : replace disks

                  Originally posted by Ossian View Post
                  There is only one way to convert dynamic to basic disks -- delete all the volumes first!

                  (OK, Partition Magic will also do it for you)

                  Why not try a DR -- there will be limited amounts of re-syncing with a small number of changed files -- you will feel much better knowing it was working!
                  I pretty much know it's working by booting from 1 drive and then another... OK, the real reason is this customer is mega-cheap and was paying for only 5 hours... and I was on hour 7 of this adventure when I finished...

                  Originally posted by Ossian View Post
                  And an idle thought...
                  Does breaking a mirror bring 7 years bad luck?
                  Erm... I'm sticking with No....

                  Biggles: That makes sense. Removing a mirror would be something you would do when there is an offline / failed disk that you want to replace... as per the MS article.... In my case I shouldn't have done either while both were online. It seems the thing to do is shut down the server, remove one, boot up and then remove the mirror; and add it back to the new disk... simple as that
                  Last edited by Moose1309; 20th October 2008, 08:32.

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