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4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?

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Hop Litzwire
4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 14, 2011 at 3:01:10 pm

I'm about to buy a new RAID controller card for my system to fix a problem, but would like someone to weigh-in on this complex puzzle to help me decide whether that's really the problem. Here's the deal (you might want to make an outline of this if you're really interested). I have two ProAvio 8-bay dual-eSATA enclosures running from a HighPoint 4-out eSATA Controller Card. One of the ProAvios is just fine. A while back I had one drive go out on it and was able to replace the drive and rebuild without a problem. So disregard that enclosure except where comparisons are concerned. The other ProAvio (let's call it Pro2) started having a problem. If the machine was off for a while and I started up, the drive came up just fine, showing all 8 drives working properly in the RAID configuration interface, then a while later, the HighPoint card would beep and 4 of the drives would go offline. So, after doing some troubleshooting and switching the cables all around from both enclosures, and after discussing it with ProAvio through a fairly difficult language barrier, we determined that the eSATA board going to those 4 drives was malfunctioning. Got new board and installed. Worked fine for about a day, and back comes the beep....same four drives offline. More switching cables, shut-downs and restarts, working for a while, then same four drives are offline. So it's probably not the eSATA board. SO....I find a friend with a very similar enclosure (every friend has an 8-bay eSATA storage device), put all the drives in it and hook it up. Again it works for about a day....then back we go to the beep. Same four drives. I had determined long ago that there is no way that all four drives are failing at once, and if they were, why would they come back on line and work just fine for a while after a restart? I had thought that maybe it's possible that one drive is failing but making it look like all 4 on that division are, but whereas the other enclosure clearly showed the ONE drive that was failing, with a "failing" label in the interface, this is simply showing "offline" when they go offline. So I have finally come down to believing it's the card. However, the big question on that issue is....if it's the card, wouldn't the 4 offline drives change according to how I have the cables plugged in, or not necessarily? No matter how I arrange the cables between the two enclosures or how I arrange them between just the 2 inputs on the one enclosure, the four offline drives are always the same.

Thanks to any knowledgeable person who braves this question!


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Fred Jodry
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 14, 2011 at 6:08:43 pm

Might be 4 hard drives getting aggravated by an overheating problem. Also might be that one of the voltages from the power supplies of both the failing box and the test box is sagging 2 percent, or less. It also might be that there is a piece of really freaky data on one of those 4 hard drives. All 8 drives have been labelled by their formatting so you can switch cables willy- nilly and their labelling will probably stay the same. Replacing the 4 drives and shelving the originals for only the crude purposes sounds like a good idea. Also, enough people in the forum have had trouble with a HighPoint RAID card. Other than that, make a new neutrodyne coil with a Grinan angle in your Stanwyck coil winder with a Faraday shield next to it. That`ll do it.


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 7:52:37 pm

[Fred Jodry] "Other than that, make a new neutrodyne coil with a Grinan angle in your Stanwyck coil winder with a Faraday shield next to it. That`ll do it."

That solved a lot of problems for me in the past. :)

I'd also venture with a probability of just one drive failing or timing out, and the controller not being intelligent enough to figure out which drive it is and marking all four off-line. If that's indeed the case, it'd be really hard to trouble-shoot short of replacing drives one-by-one.

Alex (DV411)


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Hop Litzwire
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:10:45 pm

The first thing I did was fabricate the neutrodyne coil and interestingly enough it helped me go back in time one month and I was able to freely use the array with no problem. But the Faraday shield burnt up after a few hours, forcing me to whirl back to the present day, where the array still didn't work. I have actually considered that there is a problem with a single drive and the RAID controller is confused into thinking it's all 4 in that division. I believe I will just have to buy the new controller to troubleshoot that possibility, because after that the expense gets greater and greater, and if it isn't the controller, I will have to spend money anyway. I just wondered if there is a way the controller is seeing those 4 drives a certain way no matter how the cables are arranged. That would satisfy my most recent instinct, which is to buy a new, not exactly cheap RAID card.

Thanks for weighing in!
Hop



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Bob Zelin
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 3:39:29 am

everyone learns eventually that when you buy cheap stuff, it really doesn't work like the expensive stuff. This is not a "knockoff" woman's handbag - you make your living with this equipment. Can you really afford to lose your media ?

Bob Zelin



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Hop Litzwire
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 4:36:09 pm

Hmmm. I suppose it wasn't suggested at the time by my reseller that there was something more expensive and better for my application than two $5000 8-bay enclosures running on the suggested interface option of the time, and a $300+ raid controller card running in a $12,000 computer system, connected to a $4000 video interface connected to $60,000 worth of VTR and display equipment, playing out material acquired with my $120,000 worth of camera gear. I don't think an unwillingness to spend money is my problem, my friend....I'd like to get what I have working, not matter how cheap one finds its separate components to be, so I can get some of that info back, and money is certainly not the issue. However, it doesn't make sense to spend money on something that may not be the problem until it is believed to be a problem, which is the only reason I brought up expense. So, leaving all that pointless conjecture behind to follow up what I find to be a purposeless post, the logical options to me are to buy the same controller card and/or four new SATA drives and rebuild for each one. If I cannot personally solve the issue, believe me, I will happily pay for someone to come in here and solve it themselves. If it doesn't get solved, it's not the end of the world - much of the data is backed up to yet another $4000 worth of back-up storage. After I get my problem solved, I will eagerly look into the better and more expensive options for fast storage....I await your constructive suggestions on that.



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Fred Jodry
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 6:24:08 pm

Some things to try:
1. Aim a fan at the controller card.
2. Aim a fan at the problem hard drives. (If this works it`ll buy you time).
3. Get the data backed off in short sessions then see if the RAID box still has enough performance with 4 drives not 8.
4. Get the data backed off in short sessions then see if re-arranging the 8 drives and performing a full zero- out and reformatting fixes a data or other problem.
5. Since the problem might be one drive alone, get one replacement hard drive and zero it out before trying it in each drive`s place. Since you are working with a really big RAID it`s probably set up with redundant data not pure RAID 0. (Step 5 usually works better than step 4). You can ask on this forum how exact the replacement hard drive has to be.


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Hop Litzwire
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 6:42:05 pm

Thanks a bunch for the help! I have thought that one of the reasons could be heat on the RAID card, as it's set right next to an 8800 GTS video card, and I mean RIGHT next. The array is, of course, set up RAID 5, but I do like your suggestion #5, and I will try that. The reason I haven't done much in the way of #3 and #4 is simply because of my own time. I've got lots of editing to do lately, so I was looking for a fairly fast solution, or at least a logical reason for the same 4 drives going offline, before I scrap the whole thing and get new storage. Once I do that, I really have to go back to square one on my whole system setup, as dual-eSATA is now antiquated, and so are my only-2-year-old computer components. Shew....remember when BetaSP was a standard for like 15 years? And now there are no standards past 1 year.

Thanks!
Hop



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Fred Jodry
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 6:57:20 pm

Here a number 6, really it`s a repeat so just do it after.
6. The problem might be one of usually two, voltages going through a power plug to one or more hard drives. Jam wires in the plugs, run the box a while, then check with a good voltmeter if one of the voltages went sour 2 percent. I had a power molex socket on a favorite scsi hard drive that needed soldering. I shined a small copper ribbon and soldered a nice bridge.


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Hop Litzwire
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 8:59:29 pm

I will certainly look into that. I'll report if I have any success....at least for the sake of future troubleshooters. Thanks a bunch!



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Hop Litzwire
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 9:17:53 pm

In my last post I said I would look into that. However, I should remind you of the original post where I explain how this problem is the same across two different enclosures, leaving me to believe that the problem lies in either the controller or the drives themselves, and not any connections or boards in the enclosures (even though I replaced the eSATA board in the first enclosure thinking that would solve the problem). I would think that it couldn't be the power connections in the enclosure as this would have been remedied with the second enclosure. To backtrack a bit, I have to say that the most logical explanation to me would be that this is all drive related - given that even when I change cable positions from the card, those 4 drives are always the ones that go offline. However, the ProAvio tech support seemed to think that there was no way all four drives malfunction at once, and that would be my assumption as well, but therein lies the rub: Can a controller card, if it's the thing that's malfunctioning, always associate it's own internal problems with a select group of drives, no matter which output they are plugged into, or should the problem always move to different drives according to which output they are using? Does that question make sense? To get closer to the bottom of this, I'm about to take a step....I just got a couple of extra drives in from ebay. They are older drives and are not available through traditional sellers. I am going to replace the first drive in that 4-drive group and just see what the interface says. I will let you know.



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Fred Jodry
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 9:51:17 pm

Although it is quite tedious I would say that zeroing out the test hard drive freshly each time (Try preparing it with a full zero- out of data the first time, then zero out the first 300 MB and last 100 MB on the drive should be good for each switching places test) and trying it in each place of all 8 drives in the box, even the good ones should be good testing.


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Hop Litzwire
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 11:11:22 pm

Great idea. Will report. Thanks!



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Bob Zelin
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 17, 2011 at 12:18:17 am

So, after doing some troubleshooting and switching the cables all around from both enclosures, and after discussing it with ProAvio through a fairly difficult language barrier, we determined that the eSATA board going to those 4 drives was malfunctioning. Got new board and installed. Worked fine for about a day, and back comes the beep....same four drives offline.


REPLY -
if you are in warrantee, insist that ProAvio replace your drive box. I read that you tried your friends box, but you have already replaced the Highpoint card (you bought a new one, right ? ) - and you changed the cables, so the issue is your box. You don't have 4 dead drives. Re discuss this with ProAVIO.

Bob Zelin



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Hop Litzwire
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...Raid Card?
on Apr 17, 2011 at 2:12:11 am

I'm with ya, but the first enclosure, which is the one in question, is about 6 months out of warranty (the other one is still under warranty, but I was honest :P). At the time, their suggestion to replace the eSATA board made a good deal of sense, and it really wasn't a big deal financially or logistically to replace that card, but after that didn't work the remedy became much more a puzzle. I've disussed it with ProAvio, but their suggestions are somewhat limited to obvious things. And yes, I have bought that replacement 2314 controller card, but I still await its arrival. It's not readily available anymore, so I had to go through a seller that's seemingly not as fast as a Newegg. In the meantime, I do have a couple of extra drives that I am going to troubleshoot with. If that doesn't reveal a culprit, it's up to the card when it arrives. After that, I will feel like I've spent enough time, and will find a service to figure it out. I might have done that a while back, but by nature, and as a builder of my own editing systems, I'm curious about these problems, and if I conquer it (with help), that's a feather in my knowledge cap.



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Hop Litzwire
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline...UPDATE
on Apr 18, 2011 at 3:10:10 pm

So even though I haven't received the replacement 2314 card yet, I did get a replacement drive (although discontinued, it has the same specs as originals and I was able to find it on ebay). It MAY be - and I emphasize MAY BE - that I don't need the controller after all. I put the new drive in the first slot of the 4 drives that were going offline, and even though I have not proven proper operation yet, the other 3 drives in that 4 drive division are at least showing to be online. I'm attempting the rebuild process now, and if it works it will of course take many hours. In the meantime, I'm soliticing affirmations on this opinion: Whereas the other array I have, upon having a failing drive, showed me which drive was failing, allowing me to easily replace and rebuild, this array showed four drives completely offline, making it look like (to me and to ProAvio support) there might be a hardware problem associated with those 4 drives sharing a common eSATA interface board, common power connectors, etc. Since this was Drive #1 in the set of 4 (in an 8-disk array), is it possible that the fact that it's the first one in a line was causing the HighPoint GUI to tell me that all four in that set were offline, as opposed to the other array, where the failing drive was #2 in a set? I'm assuming now, as the array continues to rebuild, that since the other 3 in that set are now listed in the GUI as looking like the rest of the 8 - i.e., not offline - that adding this one replacement may have done the trick. In other words, this may have been all much ado.... However, I'm not counting the chickens until they've not only hatched, but have run around in the heat for a while.



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Fred Jodry
Re: 4 of 8 drives going offline.
on Apr 20, 2011 at 1:59:58 pm

That`s alright Hop, just give me an email if someone parades by some unwanted good parts like Vistacons and Leddicons. I`m not caught up. Fred Jodry
educationalbroadcasting@hotmail.com


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