dealing with a failing drive

David Newman dnewman at
Sun Nov 25 14:58:13 PST 2007

Hash: SHA1

On 11/24/07 12:39 PM, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> The output of idacontrol show will show if one of the
> hard disks in the SmartArray has failed.  Your choice with
> a hardware array is to either run it with redundancy or not.
> (ie: raid5 or mirroring or striping)  You have to choose 
> which is more important for you.
> IMHO it is very foolish to stripe an array that you have
> critical data on and assume that you can predict a failure
> of a disk using smart or other monitoring, and replace it
> in advance of a failure.  If your concern is redundancy, then
> add more disks to the array and create a raid 5 or a mirror.
> Then ignore all the predictive junk and let the array card
> concern itself with detecting if a drive has failed.  Run
> idacontrol periodically out of a script that checks for a
> failure of a disk and e-mails you if there is one.

Thanks, this is good advice, but it doesn't answer the specific
questions I had:

1. How to diagnose the health of a *physical* disk that's part of a RAID
array (RAID1, in this case) in an old Compaq Proliant server?

2. Is it normal for idacontrol to generate soft write errors?

Backstory here is that Proliant server #1 generated beaucoup hard and
soft read and write errors and eventually locked up. I thought it was
one of the disks but replacing one at a time didn't help. So I took both
disks and put them in identical Proliant server #2. Ergo, I would
conclude server #1's RAID controller flaked out.

idacontrol is useful for telling the health of the logical disk. What it
doesn't tell me (or maybe I just don't see it) is whether the physical
disks are ok, and those "soft write errors" concern me. I had a failure
situation, and need to figure out whether just the controller was bad or
whether I need to replace at least one disk too.

Thanks again!


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