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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Aug 2011
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    RAID 1 HD Failure - Ideas for cause

    Systemax Xeon VLS Small Business Server Essentials Server / Quad-Core Intel® Xeon E3-1220 3.1GHz processor / 2x500GB RAID 1 Enterprise Drives / 8GB DDR3 ECC Memory / 2xGigabit LAN / SBS Essentials


    I have a small server w/ RAID 1 configuration for data protection. I have lost SATA drive 0 two times in the past 6 months. I'm looking for ideas on a possible cause and ways to prevent it from happening again.

    - Both instances, there was a power outage. Battery bck up died w/ out shut down the first time. 2nd time is unknown
    - Both instances the failed drive was drive 0 and located in the same place in the enclosure.
    - I've had this happen before on an older computer, and I determined heat build up was the cause. Wondering if heat could be a combination w/ this issue due to the drive 0 being slightly crowded at the top of the HD case (bottom of the drive has air space).

    The server originally shipped w/ 500 gb drives. Worked flawlessly for 1 1/2 years. Replaced those two drives w/ 2 - 2tb drives WD Black. Have had both failures with those drives.

    I plan on adding hard drive fans & installing battery back up software to monitor power and shut the server down when battery power is low.

    I'm looking for other suggestions to keep this from happening again.


  2. #2
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Central Florida
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    Just a little experience:

    As I've said in another thread, the only HD's I've replaced, as a computer tech, in the past few years has been a WD drive.
    I will not have one, for my own use or as a replacement drive for one of my customers.

    Second: In every PC that I've seen with two hard drives, whether in RAID configuration or not, there is NO provision for cooling air to remove the heat from the drives.

    I will not install any hard drive in my own computer(s) without a two-fan drive cooler, seen here.
    The 1/4" spacers are necessary, for proper air flow. A lot of testing went into this little mod.

    Then of course, the heat coming off of the drive has to be removed from the case by an Exhaust Fan.
    I don't use an exhaust fan, but I do have three case fans in the front of my PC case to bring in cool, room air which forces the hot air out the back of the case.

    A second hard drive in a tight case, can even be mounted to the bottom of the case, for better cooling.
    This was one friends solution to the problem:

    The LED's in the fans is optional. lol Notice, he's using my technique for cooling a drive with a
    two-fan drive cooler, setting on 1/4" spacers, for better air flow.
    A drive mounted and cooled like this, will never get above room temperature.

    Many times we have to get really Creative, to keep our PC's from overheating.

    Good Luck to you,
    The Doctor
    Last edited by DrWho; 2011-09-12 at 11:40.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP
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    Dec 2009
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    I had failures with 2 Seagate drives in a 2 drive system, turned out to be a firmware issue. As you've had 2 failures with the same disks I would suspect manufacture / design issues that should be sorted by the replacement units, but extra cooling in a server is always a good thing. You can run SpeedFan to view the temperatures on the drives.

    cheers, Paul

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger
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    Dec 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
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    The power outages certainly aren't helping you. Heat? Maybe. But I'm more suspicious of the RAID controller itself, especially since this didn't happen until you had a power outage. Either the hardware or the firmware could be an issue. In servers where drives in the same slot repeatedly fail, more often than not it's caused by a bug in the controller's firmware. However, because of the power issues, I'm leaning toward a faulty RAID controller.

    RAID is designed to keep data available, and therefore your business running, in the event of a drive failure, not protect the data itself. Data protection is the job of the backup system. RAID 1 is in my opinion a poor choice for data drives, and if it were my business, I wouldn't trust RAID 1 that wasn't hot swappable. but you have the server and sometimes you have to work with what you've got. That being the case, I'd seriously consider just replacing that RAID controller. Why take a chance? Second, I'd use the RAID drives just for the OS and hang a RAID 5 drive array with hot swappable disks off the back of the SBS server (or get a NAS, Network Attached Storage). There are many affordable solutions for small business. Drobo makes excellent, high quality drive arrays for small businesses.

    Also, change your UPS batteries every 18 months.
    Last edited by Doc Brown; 2011-09-13 at 15:36.

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