RAID – Rebuild – page 2

In order to manage the RAID on Windows Server you need to install the software that came with the RAID Controller. For this demonstration I’ve used Intel RAID Web Console 2. There is a version 3 launched and I’ve tried but it’s a web based application and I’ve had some problems at the beginning accessing the RAID. Version 2, personal opinion, is faster and works the same like version 3. Everything that you do with version 3 you can do it with version 2, maybe has a newer design, but the functions to REBUILD the array are the same. Let’s start by running the program.

  • On the first window you will see the Host and IP address. If doesn’t show up, put the IP and click on Discover Host. After the host is found, click on it and Login.
  • Next it will open another window where you type your user and password. Leave the default “Full Access” otherwise you’ll not be able to do anything, you’ll only see the problem but cannot fix it.
  • Once you login, the Dashboard will load up information about the current RAID configuration. You will see three tabs, very useful to check/rebuild the configuration: Dashboard, Physical, Logical. At the bottom there are log messages, very useful when a problem occur. Right now the status of the RAID is Optimal.
  • To check the physical drives, click on Physical tab.
  • To check the Virtual Drive and logical drives, click on Logical tab.
  • Any changes to the current configuration, go to Physical tab and right click on Controller. It will open a popup menu from where you can do most of the changes for the controller. One option, very useful, when a drive fails the alarm will start, from this menu you can Silence Alarm. Another important option is Update Firmware Controller, always try to have the latest firmware.
  • If you need to make changes to the Virtual Drive, go to Logical and right click on Virtual Drive. From the new popup menu you can: Rename, Delete, Consistency Check, Initialize, Erase.
  • Problems with a drive, or need to replace it for a new drive, go to Logical, right click on the logical drive and you have the options: Make Drive Offline, Start Locating Drive, Stop Locating Drive and Prepare for Removal. You will use Prepare for Removal for a non-failed drive when you want to replaced with a newer bigger drive. If you ever need to use a drive in another configuration use: Make Drive Offline, the drive status changes to Offline. Then select Mark Drive as Missing and the status changes to Unconfigured Good. You can use the drive in another configuration.
  • OK, let create a problem since the RAID is Optimal. My current configuration is RAID 5, it will be OK with one drive fail. I’ll remove one of the drives with Windows running. Right away after removing the drive a popup alert window showed up and the alarm started. You need to Dismiss All, otherwise you cannot do anything. You can see the same message on the log report later.
  • We will check the Logical tab after the drive “fail”. It will show the Virtual Drive is Degraded. Also, check the log at the bottom and you will see all the messages about the incident. Also, if you look at the drives it shows only 7 drives, the drive in slot 6 is missing.
  • Next step is to plug the drive back and see what happen next. The same drive (good drive) now shows: Unconfigured Bad and has a Red circle in front. Also, the drive has an amber light (solid) close to the flashing green light. This light shows the drive failed. The alarm started again, the same right click on controller and Silent Alarm.
  • The same it will show when you go to Physical tab.
  • Similar message it will show on Dashboard tab. It will say Status: Needs attention and the picture with the array shows Unconfigured capacity 12.5%
  • Let’s start the fix. First step go to Physical, right click on the bad drive and choose: Change to Unconfigured Good.
  • The drive will change the status to: Unconfigured Good and the Red circle changed to an empty good drive.
  • Next step, right click again and choose Replace Missing Drive.
  • A new window will open and tells you about current configuration (RAID 5) and the drive that we replace (Slot 6). Click on OK.
  • Next, the drive it will show a new status: Offline.
  • Next step, because is the same drive you have two options. If was a new drive the second option will not work, but for the purpose of learning I’ll choose the option as the drive is a new one. The option that works for all drives, right click on the drive and choose: Start Rebuild. The second option in this case, because is the same drive, you could choose the option Make Drive Online (when the drive shows Offline) and in this case will not start the rebuild process. This second option works only because is a good drive that was used in the same configuration and still has the data on it. Let’s choose the Rebuild option.
  • A new window will popup and you need to check the box “Confirm” and click Yes.
  • The new window shows the Rebuild progress. You can close the window and the process will run in background.
  • When you go back to Dashboard tab, you can see also the rebuild progress there and still shows with the Status: Needs attention. This message will be until the rebuild is done.
  • Similar messages with Physical and Logical tabs.
  • Almost done. The time depends on the size of the array, for bigger drives takes longer and more time for HDD (spinning drives). It’s much faster with SSD drives.
  • Finally the process is done. Now the messages are clear, the status changed back to Optimal.

Always try replace failed drives right away, when a drive fail is a good change that a second or third drive fail if you don’t rebuild it in time. If is possible, make sure you have setup Hot Spares and try to check the logs for error messages. Always be prepared with backups when a drive fails, you never know when another drive fail with the same RAID. Also, keep the firmware update for drives and controller.