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NVIDIA MediaShield RAID5 story

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
A client's server crashed today. I have configured many RAID arrays in my day. Although I have to admit, I've never had the chance to rebuild a RAID5 array...

A8N32-SLI MB (we usually use Tyan), Opteron, 4 x WD320GB in RAID5.
Windows is installed on this array with a second partition for the data.

As you might know NVIDIA uses the MediaShield Utility to configure hard drives.

I don't know how the server failed, whether there was a BSOD or what (I didn't pick it up from the client). When booting the server, I got the error message that the system hive was missing or corrupt.

The HD on SATA port 2 failed. In the MediaSheild, it reported the array as "Degraded". We replaced the hard drive, went into the MediaSheild Utility and added the new drive to the array and Rebuilt the array. It showed status as "HEALTHY". But it didn't seem like the hard drives were working on rebuilding the array. Nor did I get a status bar with the current progress, which would have been ideal, but I don't think that's standard.

A RAID5 array should be able to function after you replace the failed HD and rebuild the array. Performance will take a hit, but all the files will be intact.
But Windows was effected by the initial HD failure, I kept getting the system hive error (which I expected to happen).

I'll omit some of the other troubleshooting thoughts/steps and get straight to the point...

I just so happened to have another client with the same motherboard in the shop with an IDE hard drive. So I tossed that in the server and booted into Windows (saved me the time of installing Windows on another drive). The array was recognized. Because the Forceware 9x.xx drivers were installed on the system, I received an message that the RAID5 array was being rebuilt.

The boss stayed to fix the server... I assume everything went well. But I know Windows was still messed up and probably threw that same system hive error. That's what happens when Windows crashes bad like it apparently did.

So now I will never keep Windows on a RAID5 array. It's too prone to corruption when there is a failure. A RAID like 1, 0+1, 1+0, or the like where if a drive fails, the system continues operation as if nothing happened.
Hope you learned something, I did.

On another note, I was looking on my server (Server2) when I got home because I have a Promise RAID5 array... I hadn't really reviewed the Promise RAID utility in Windows - WebPAM. I must say I really like the features available. You can get email notifications, access the utility remotely and securely, check the discs with S.M.A.R.T., run other diagnostics, rebuild an array and configure everything so very easily! You can even setup a spare HD to kick in when there is a failure! I am very impressed with this utility!
...I could go on but I doubt anyone will actually read this so I'm probably wasting my time...
    
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post #2 of 3
That's weird, as tech relative's shop is MS/Intel and he maintains RAID 5 setups all of the time for businesses with no problems rebuilding arrays.

Seems more to do with what controller is being used, not the OS, as his shop uses many flavors of Windows (yes even the outdated NT 4.0 for clients that can't afford upgrading due to Novell <-- DIE, DIE, DIE) with Intel server boards or Adaptec addin cards for stability.
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
I thought I was reading that wrong, I read you post over 5 times, its confusing but I think I get the point...
    
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