Wednesday, October 24, 2007

RAID and Hot Swap Drives

Yesterday morning we got a defunct drive on our main Domino server. No problem, I called IBM and they arranged to send out a replacement drive within 4 hours. We got the drive within about 3. (Good Job).

I mentioned to my boss that although the drive was a hot-swap drive, there was a chance, however slight, that it could bring the server down. This is my standard disclaimer nowadays.

Well, I removed the old drive and waited about 30 seconds before plugging in the new one.

Instead of the expected rebuild operation, the RAID controller flagged the new drive as defunct and Windows Server 2003 obliged by giving me a blue screen of death.


I had a look at the packaging that IBM sent... Reconditioned Drives... not good.

I don't begrudge IBM for using reconditioned parts but I think it is a little bit cheeky.

At Any rate, following a call to IBM was told to update the firmware on the drives as the replacement drive have shipped with the very latest. Isn't that just a typical IBM response. When in doubt, update the firmware.

I had to schedule an outage and this morning I upgraded the firmware.

Did it work?

Nope. We're still in the poo.

Maybe we'll get a chance to try out our DRP after all.

I've just gotten off the phone to an IBM tech. He said that sometimes they use other brand drives and rebadge them as IBM. He asked me to check the drive.

I took it out, turned it upside down etc. and looked at the circuit board. Maxtor. The IBM tech said that it was ok for Maxtor and that it was Fujitsu that we had to worry about. (whatever?).

Anyway, I plugged the drive back and... it immediately started rebuilding.

Now, I'd plugged and unplugged the drive before and after the firmware update. The difference was that this time, I'd turned the drive upside down to read a label.

I guess those drives need a little shake before installation.

And I'll be extra-diligent on the backup until I trust the drive, that's for sure.

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