Another RAID failure

Another RAID failure

03/02/11 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware

Actually, this is two stories. A client had a mirror RAID die on them about 4 months ago, but could not be convinced to spend the money on a second drive (about $100) to replace the failed drive and rebuild the mirror. So, 4 months later the other drive failed. And they had to pay for 2 hours labour to recover the data, luckily they had a relatively current Time Machine backup. And they were down for days.

This underlines the earlier point that similar drives have similar failure rates. If you build a RAID with identical drives, expect the 2nd drive to failure not long after the first, and if you build a RAID-5 with identical drives, you are asking for trouble.

The second story is about an external RAID-5 box. A couple of clients have had these. They are a nice idea. An external device that does RAID 5, and connects to the host with eSATA, USB, Firewire etc, and does all the building itself. What they offer is a self contained and reliable storage. However, my experience with these devices is that they aren't quite reliable enough. In one instance there was a brief power outage causing the RAID box to report itself as failed (the server etc came back up without issue). It necessitated an onsite, and re-reading the config from the drives. In the second case, the RAID box was powered down over the christmas break, and on restart reported itself as faulty, necessitating an onsite and same procedure of re-reading the config from the drive.

This RAID box failed at the core task of a RAID, reliability and continuity. In both cases, no data was lost, but time was lost. If the device fails at one of its core duties, it fails as a product.

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