By April 9, 2007

This is a RAID.

You know you’re in trouble when the tech support for your hardware replies:

Dear Customer,
If your controller bios will not see the raid set over there, then you have
to create the raid set again over there. (It will lose all the data on the
hard drive).
Thanks for your patience.

Best Regards,

Michael,

Thanks for your patience? Stupid assmonkey. So, just to summarize for you playing along on the home edition, my SYBA SD-SATA-4P RAID card took a shit on me and forgot what my RAID structure looked like. I figured that the data would be okay, since the disks were reporting as “healthy.” I found a few data recovery options, including GetDataBack from Runtime Software. The problem was that my array wasn’t recognized by Windows.

With trepidation I took Michael’s advice and deleted the old RAID array in the controller’s BIOS. I rebuilt the array exactly as I had it before, even down to the name. I booted Windows, and the storage manager recognized the drives. However, I still didn’t have a drive letter, and the partition was inactive. I tried to activate the partition and Windows asked me if I wanted to format the drives. “HELL NO” was missing from the options, so I just selected plain-ol’ “No” instead.

GetDataBack to the rescue. It was able to see the drive array, and I started to analyze the data. I let the software run for seventeen hours and it found almost 32,000 files in over 2500 directories. I started copying data from the original array to leftover disks I had in my closet. I’m well on my way to filling up a 250GB drive, and I am going to bring a 160GB drive online if the 250 gigger is done today. It’s a slow process, but I’m willing to wait.

New RAID equipment is on the way, including a new Highpoint 2220 SATA RAID card and two additional 500GB disks. 750GB drives are still too expensive. I’m saving enough money that the financial cost should offset the additional failure potential by running more smaller-capacity drives than fewer larger-capacity ones. The 500GB drives will serve as holding stations for the original array’s data. After I’m done offloading the data I am going to install the new RAID card with the original three disks, create a new RAID 5 array, and then copy everything back over from the “offload” disks to the new array. After that I am going to add the two offload 500GB drives to the new array, giving me two terabytes of storage capacity. Unlike the SYBA, the Highpoint 2220 will allow for online capacity expansion, meaning that I can add same-sized disks in the future. Older RAID cards force you to keep the array at a fixed size once you build it.

Anyway, we’re not out of the woods yet, but I am feeling much better about my array failure. Hopefully the new stuff will ship today and I’ll have the goodies installed by Tuesday.

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