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Areca RAID System Help

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My Areca RAID volume failed (RAID 5). At first, I thought it was some sort of hiccup because it was switching which drive had fallen out of the array. However, I later saw read errors mentioned in the log file for Slot 1. I have a couple of concerns. When it first failed, the content of the drives was still somewhat accessible. I could see everything and copy some stuff, but then it started having errors and went downhill from there. So, I am fairly sure the slot 1 drive has read errors. However, after the RAID failed during the rebuild, the files are not accessible anymore. This has me very worried. I had an "expert" take the RAID system, wasted a lot of money for absolutely nothing. He didn't fix anything, and charged me anyway. He said he couldn't access the RAID system admin and said the RAID system must be bad. That much was working for me before I gave it over to him. I have not turned it back on since I got it back here because I didn't want it to start rebuilding again (assuming it would). Anyway, a problem is that both times the RAID failed, it reported a different drive as being outside of the array, and it was not the slot 1 that reported read errors either time. So, one of them will be reporting as out of the array. When I eject and re-insert slot 1, then there will be two out of the array. I know RAID5 only supports one being out. So, what should I do? Please tell me my data is okay still at this stage...

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What is the hardware makeup of the platform that contains the hard drives? You mention the RAID system... is this like an external enclosure, an internal drive cage? What RAID card, what operating system and what hard drives or SSDs? The fact that different drives were popping out of RAID is a bad sign. First it sounds like either the RAID card itself, the backplane, or multiple drives are failing.

There is no easy way to say this, but I really hope you have some sort of backup. At this stage an expert would need to evaluate the setup and explore possible recovery options. This work is not cheap and not guaranteed... professional data recovery services depending on the damage can easily go into the 5 figure mark or higher. Unfortunately you assumed correctly on the RAID5 being single drive tolerant. The second another drive popped out of sync that data is far past the point of easy recovery.

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Thank you for the reply. It's an Area 5040 hardware raid system. The sad thing is that I had the most important stuff backed up until last week. I guess I won't get into all that, but I was trying to help out a family member. Anyway, the drives are all Hitachi except one (that is one thing I didn't know until this experience...that it's important for the drives to all be the same. They were when I first started with this system, but I replaced one since then.

Sadly, I don't have the funds for another expert. :( The files are very important to me...I just can't do it funds wise.

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For a DIY approach, you'd need to sort out a way to get all systems accessible to a separate system through a JBOD and a decent SAS HBA. Then run software such as this which looks at everything visible and tries to reconnect the pieces so to speak.

http://www.freeraidrecovery.com

I googled that Areca platform and it looks like an oddball integrated RAID enclosure which isn't really the best thing for these sorts of problems. Most use off-brand RAID chipsets, which may or may not be completely proprietary in the way that handle the RAID configuration.

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Thanks again for the reply and info. I will check it out. I always thought Areca was one of the top names in RAID.

One quick follow-up question. Is it of any harm of you remove all drives from system and power on? I wondering if it would be worth trying to get all drives reset, then insert them all so that they're all picked up and none out of the volume for it to rebuild. Last time I had it on myself (I can't say what happened while it was in the expert's hands), it was trying to rebuild.


(but the files were not visible to the system like they were when first in degraded state)

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Powering the drives on one by one will cause the RAID platform to completely implode... its not something it would ever expect to have happen.

Also in terms of top names, LSI and Adaptec are the key RAID card manufacturers. Areca uses LSI chipsets on some their own cards... a lot of the stuff after that are oddball no-name chipsets or custom Marvell controllers on embedded RAID platforms.

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I don't think I explained that well. I mean to power the RAID on with no drives in there. Then turn it off, insert all drives, and power it back on. Would that make it recognize them all and hopefully be ready to rebuild properly? I just didn't want it rebuilding without everything it should rightfully have (not really failed).

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If there is no import feature as part of that RAID assembly, that could make it think you are starting fresh and wipe the current remaining RAID grouping off those disks.

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I assume your card is good and it's in a PC. Do this

- Plug the card in your system's PCIe slot

- Connect ALL HDD as the order of the HDD as the RAID was created

- Turn on, press Tab key or F6, to get to Areca BIOS.

- Login with your password - if it had changed otherwise use "0000" to login

- Look under Physical drive, rec-activate ANY failed drive

- Use RESCUE or SIGNAT command to restore your raid meta tag - look at the manual

- Once you it in degrading mode, replace the BAD drive

Here is a how to replace a BAD drive in ANY raid5/6/10/1 - HOT SWAP the drive

You may need to set the newly replaced drive as hot spare, within 45 seconds the raid will rebulid

The worst thing you can do your raid volume is tunr it off the REPLACE the HDD

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