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View Full Version : RAID Me


das Monkey
06-23-07, 09:46 PM
So it's time to build a file server with all the crap I have laying around, and I could use some creative advice. I don't have the mobo with me, but I'm pretty sure it's this Tyan Tiger MPX (http://www.tyan.com/archive/products/html/tigermpx.html). Not sure what RAM or procs are in it, but I'm guessing it's spec'd well enough for XP. I think I have an extra 450W power supply and an Antec tower cluttering storage too.

The purpose of this box is simple: sit in a closet (heat issues?) and store files, accessed over wireless and controlled (when necessary) by VNC or a similar interface. I'll access it from time to time, but I won't hammer it. Redundancy trumps speed.

I don't have any RAID cards and there is no RAID support on the mobo (I guess in theory I could do a software RAID -- not sure how that would work).

Here are the PATA drives I have (all should be 7200 rpm, but I'm not positive on the 40s). One or two has bad sectors from previous TiVo crashes, but I have no idea which.

40GB x 2 (probably won't use, but in the interest of full disclosure)
80GB x 2
160GB x 4
200GB x 2

The obvious choice is to just set up a bunch of mirrors. I guess another option (if this is possible? not an expert here) is to stripe the two 80s into a 160, and then do RAID 5 or RAID 6 across all the 160s and under-use the 200s as 160s (if my math is correct, using the 200s as 160s will be better).

Any suggestions or opinions? Can I put 8 drives in a tower like this and get away with it without going crazy on the cooling? Is this just a really stupid idea?

Thanks,

das

4KRG
06-23-07, 11:00 PM
The whole point to a server really is to have muliple users access the same data.

It more sounds to me more like you will be the only user and you just want a big hard drive.

IMO - I wouldn't go through the hassle of what you are attempting above just to get a 'big hard drive' from spare parts.

IF you want to do it as an experience of doing it, well that I can understand :)

Mixing in the 200gb drives would make me uncomfortable

If all the 160's are the same drive and all are in good condition, that would be your best bet.

RAID controller worth having for 4 drives and using RAID 5

http://www.pcmall.com/pcmall/shop/detail.asp?dpno=296317&Redir=1&description=3Ware-Escalade%207506-4LP-Controller%20Interfaces

or you can go cheap and use RAID 0 +1

http://www.pcmall.com/pcmall/shop/detail.asp?dpno=135190&Redir=1&description=Promise-FastTrak%20TX4000%20-%20ATA-133%20Storage%20Controller%20RAID-Controller%20Interfaces

MAYBE, I would look for a different solution if I knew what your end goals really were :)

Patman
06-23-07, 11:03 PM
Raid 1 on the two 80GB, and then do RAID 5 on the four 160GB drives and 1 200GB, and keep the other 200GB as the spare drive WHEN the RAID 5 array does take a hit on one of the hard drives in the future. Chuck the 40GBs.

Drexl
06-23-07, 11:15 PM
Windows can do something like a software RAID: http://www.techimo.com/articles/index.pl?photo=149

You might want to try that out before deciding if you want to spend money on RAID hardware controllers and such.

das Monkey
06-23-07, 11:17 PM
<b>4KRG</b>,

Well, I have all the stuff laying around and figured I may as well use it. My "goals" are redundant storage that's not inside my primary machine. That's about it. Oh, and I guess not spending a lot of money. And sure ... something to do that exercises my brain a bit. :) I could always buy two big drives and mirror them, but I'd have to put them somewhere anyway. :shrug: And I would access the data from multiple machines, just not likely at the same time. I'll check out those links as soon as Buy.com stops giving me "high volume" errors.

<b>Patman</b>, good call about keeping one out of the mix. That's probably a good idea.

Thanks.

das

4KRG
06-23-07, 11:31 PM
yeah, I should have looked closer at those links, they came from what is left of froogle and I do not think they are working right. PCmall had about the same prices, fixed links in above post

http://www.3ware.com/products/parallel_ata.asp

The escalade 7506-4LP


The other was to a promise controller card

http://www.promise.com/product/product_detail_eng.asp?product_id=104

The software raid 1 and 5 on XP is only available via a hack, it is really only suppose to work on windows server OS's

You might be better off using linux for your sever with a linux software RAID - this in line with your not spending money goal :)

I would get 2 500gb or 750gb drives and just Raid 1 them in the primary machine with a little extra cooling. I never turn my primary machine off, so it is available to other machines on the network. I would still backup again to another external drive of simialr size once a week if I really cared about the data using some type of incremental backup method.

Dave99
06-24-07, 12:43 AM
If you don't need windows & software raid is ok, check out openfiler:
http://www.openfiler.com

or perhaps freenas:
http://www.freenas.org

das Monkey
06-24-07, 03:27 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. I didn't realize RAID controllers were so expensive.

I hadn't considered linux, but that's a good idea. It's been a long while since I've had the free time to mess around with linux (outside the Knoppix Live CD I use when hacking my TiVo), and I've never really done anything trying to network Windows and *nix boxes together locally. Will it be a pain in the ass getting the two to talk to each other? Guess I'll need to check on drivers for the POS wireless card I have (some FAR thing I got on Black Friday one year).

Also, if I go software RAID, would it be beneficial to build the OS on one of the 40GBs to isolate the config from the RAID disks?

Btw, the 160s are all the same drive (different mfg dates, I think). I believe there may be some bad sectors in one of them. Can I lock those down, or is the drive useless for RAID? And is there a significant reason to avoid using the 200s with the 160s other than a tendency to keep everything as constant as possible?

Thanks for all the help. I smell an adventure on the horizon.

das

4KRG
06-24-07, 07:40 AM
If bad sectors show on an IDE drive, IMO - throw it away, it is a bad drive. The internal mechanism is suppose to re-map all bad sectors automatically so your OS never sees them. If you have seen them, you have bigger problems with the drive


Honestly, mixing in the 200gb drives would work better with software RAID 5 than it will with hardware RAID 5. (RAID 1 doesn't really care as much) The only way to know how well it works with your specific drives is to try it. It is usually an issue of timing. If one drive is much slower or faster than the rest, it can screw with a hardware raid controller, the software isn't as exact.

You are always better to have a separate boot setup, usually 2 drives in a RAID 1 to boot from (like Patman said) and a separate data RAID, depending, it can work fine as all one setup, but RAID 1 boot and RAID 5 data is common on windows server setups.

GHackmann
06-24-07, 11:13 AM
It's been a long while since I've had the free time to mess around with linux (outside the Knoppix Live CD I use when hacking my TiVo), and I've never really done anything trying to network Windows and *nix boxes together locally. Will it be a pain in the ass getting the two to talk to each other?
Your distro should include an app called Samba (http://www.samba.org/) which provides Windows file sharing under Linux. It can be a little tricky to get working as a server for the first time, since you'll probably need to do some configuration-file editing to get the shares set up just right. If you're lucky, your distro will include a graphical tool to do all the configuration black magic for you. Otherwise, Webmin (http://www.webmin.com/) can do most (or all) of the heavy lifting for you.

Guess I'll need to check on drivers for the POS wireless card I have (some FAR thing I got on Black Friday one year).
Obviously, native drivers are the best way to go. But in a pinch, you can fall back on NDISwrapper (http://ndiswrapper.sourceforge.net/) to load the Windows drivers.

das Monkey
06-24-07, 01:18 PM
This is going to be fun. :)

Where is the information for software RAID stored? Let's say I used one of the 40s/80s as a boot and put the 160s in RAID 5, and then the 40 died. Would there be trouble? However, if I put the boot in software RAID 1, I wonder how I set that up. Get the OS up and running and then somehow add the other drive after the fact?

Another thing I can consider is that I'm sure I can find a used hardware RAID 1 solution through friends. I could set the boot hardware RAID 1 and the data software RAID 5.

<b>GHackmann</b>, thanks for the linux info.

das

GHackmann
06-24-07, 01:49 PM
Where is the information for software RAID stored? Let's say I used one of the 40s/80s as a boot and put the 160s in RAID 5, and then the 40 died. Would there be trouble?
Linux software RAID stores the RAID configuration as a file on the boot disk, and optionally in a special "superblock" at the beginning of all disks in a RAID array. If you enable the superblock and your boot disk dies, the Linux can recover the RAID configuration just from the 160 gig disks.

However, if I put the boot in software RAID 1, I wonder how I set that up. Get the OS up and running and then somehow add the other drive after the fact?
Most distros nowadays let you set up software RAID as part of the installation procedure. You should be able to migrate to a RAID array later, but I've never personally tried it.

If you want to read up more on Linux's software RAID functionality, there's a very nice HOWTO (http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Software-RAID-HOWTO.html) available. Again, depending on your distro, you may not have to touch the configuration file stuff detailed in the HOWTO; but it should give you an idea of what you can and can't do.

das Monkey
06-24-07, 09:52 PM
That all makes sense. Thanks. I'll go check out that HOWTO later this evening -- looks like good stuff. :up: I know it's outside the scope of the original thread parameters, but care to recommend a distro? :)

das

Dave99
06-24-07, 11:16 PM
das, if you don't want to bother building something from scratch, the openfiler link gives you a prebuilt setup, and you config everything through a browser. It might save some time. freenas is the same way, but bsd based instead of linux like openfiler.

das Monkey
07-02-07, 07:43 PM
So, after hours of heartache messing with openfiler, I believe one of the 80GB drives is bad. I'm installing a test case on the other 80GB now. In the process of this, I did find a 120GB drive, though, which brings the total to:

40GB x too many
80GB x 1
120GB x 1
160GB x 4
200GB x 2

New opinions on a RAID config? Try to mirror the 80 and 120?

Also, a thought: the mobo I'm using I think is dual Athlon 1800+, and I suspect it gets pretty hot in there. The PS is a True 550. I also have access to an Intel Celeron 2.4 GHz mobo. At least that's what's printed on the case. Who knows what's inside until I check it out. Would I be better off using that instead?

das

<i>Edit: Got openfiler completely installed, but it fails to boot the kernel :sad:</i>

das Monkey
07-02-07, 09:02 PM
*sigh* So, the other 80GB is now doing what the first was doing: randomly clicking off and then spinning back up. I guess it's not the drive. Power supply? Motherboard?

Anyway, I put the drive in another machine and installed openfiler without incident, but it refuses to let me create a physical volume on the drive. When I installed, I told it to clear all partitions and start anew.

http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/975/hdkd0.th.jpg (http://img224.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hdkd0.jpg)

Grr.

das

das Monkey
07-02-07, 09:58 PM
Default settings partitioned the majority of the drive into the openfiler root. :mad: Redid the install, manually creating the partitions myself. Success. Moving on ...

das

<i>Edit: Tricky config, but I think I have it working correctly on my network. Got the fileshares up with write access. Now to try and RAID this ...</i>

4KRG
07-02-07, 11:13 PM
once you get it running, figure out how to 'take out' and replace a drive and see how hard it is to rebuild the array

No point in having it if you don't already know how to replace a drive when one craps, sucks to figure it out when you need to :)

das Monkey
07-02-07, 11:17 PM
<b>Dave99</b>, any ideas how to mirror the openfiler boot partition? It didn't seem possible to install to a mirror, and now that it's set up, I seem only able to RAID newly created volumes. I'm sure I could do this manually in linux somehow, but I don't want to screw up the way openfiler is treating everything.

das

<i>Edit: On the openfiler forums, they claim you </i>can<i> create a RAID-1 install. I didn't see how the first time I did this. Let's try this again ...</i>

<i>Edit Edit: I think I figured it out, and it wasn't the least bit self-explanatory.</i>

das Monkey
07-02-07, 11:19 PM
once you get it running, figure out how to 'take out' and replace a drive and see how hard it is to rebuild the array

No point in having it if you don't already know how to replace a drive when one craps, sucks to figure it out when you need to :)
I rebuilt an SATA hardware mirror last week. No experience with software RAID or with linux RAID, though. Guess that's something else to learn. :) Good suggestion.

das

Dave99
07-03-07, 12:57 AM
Glad you found the solution, I didn't have it. ;) I'm still in the tinkering stage as well with openfiler, mainly testing some iSCSI configs. Once I get a little more comfortable with it, I'll be putting together a backup archive server in the 2-3TB range for some work stuff.
<b>Dave99</b>, any ideas how to mirror the openfiler boot partition? It didn't seem possible to install to a mirror, and now that it's set up, I seem only able to RAID newly created volumes. I'm sure I could do this manually in linux somehow, but I don't want to screw up the way openfiler is treating everything.

das

<i>Edit: On the openfiler forums, they claim you </i>can<i> create a RAID-1 install. I didn't see how the first time I did this. Let's try this again ...</i>

<i>Edit Edit: I think I figured it out, and it wasn't the least bit self-explanatory.</i>

das Monkey
07-03-07, 02:25 AM
In case you need the info, I had to create all three partitions (/boot, /, and swap) manually on both hda and hdb using the RAID button instead of the NEW button, which allowed me to make them RAIDable partitions. Then I had to use the RAID button 3 more times to mirror each pair, name them, and choose a file system. <i>Then</i> I let the installer run through, went into the browser, and partitioned the free space on each drive as RAIDable, and mirrored it. Seems to be working OK.

What I'm trying to figure out now is how to configure sendmail to work properly. There's supposed to be an alert notification that will email you when something goes wrong, but nothing's happening. During the initial setup, I didn't type in any DNS entries (just set up my gateway), so I figured that was part of it. Tracked down resolv.conf and added my nameservers successfully, but still no go. Also tracked down the maillog and can see it trying to send, but I suspect my ISP is dropping them. I assume I need to figure out how to manually add an authorized SMTP server to sendmail.cf?, but I'm a little tired right now. This has been a hell of a lot of learning for 6 hours (outside of my TiVo, I don't think I've touched *nix since the 90s), and I still need to figure out what's wrong with my other box (power supply, mobo, cable -- problem's intermittent and a bitch to test).

das

P.S. Regarding &gt; 2 TB, you probably already know this, but I stumbled on this earlier this evening: https://www.openfiler.com/community/forums/viewtopic.php?id=888

twikoff
07-03-07, 07:26 AM
be sure you have a defaultrouter set.. should be a defaultrouter file in /etc
and yea, need to add your smtp server to sendmail.cf

also might want to peek in the nsswitch.conf file and make sure dns is enabled

Dave99
07-03-07, 11:11 AM
For the sendmail prob, add the following in the sendmail.cf, placing the IP address in brackets:
# "Smart" relay host (may be null)
DSsmtp:[192.168.10.65]

das Monkey
07-03-07, 11:31 AM
<b>twikoff</b>, when I added the nameserver records to resolv.conf, domains started resolving, so dns should be enabled, although it did take a while to resolve to an IP (~5 secs). I'll check defaultrouter tonight. I did specify a gateway during the openfiler install.

<b>Dave99</b>, I tracked down the DS line in sendmail.cf last night, but I didn't test changing it, because I'm pretty sure my SMTP server requires authentication. I'm guessing I need to specify more than an IP somewhere?

This has definitely been fun. Outside of hacking my TiVo, I don't think I've done anything in *nix since the 90s. It's amazing some of the stuff I still remember how to do (without thinking, I was running adduser and pwd and bopping around through vi) and frustrating how much I've long forgotten (for the life of me, I couldn't remember to ^D to EOT an email).

Oh, I'm going to also need to setup telnet. I tried getting telnetd up and running a few times before going to bed, but nothing was working right.

Also, I couldn't seem to get my accounts configured correctly. When I log on as root, I have path access to run all the necessary tools, but when I log on as a regular user and then su into root, things don't work right. I spent about 7 seconds messing with this, though, so it may be something obvious. Maybe I need to start a linux thread now. :) Curse you, <b>Dave99</b> *shakes fist*!!!

das

Dave99
07-03-07, 12:39 PM
Here are a couple of postings about using a smarthost with smtp auth. I'm not sure if openfiler has the libraries needed to make it work. I don't have to use auth for my smtp traffic on my home testing stuff, I route everything to a win2k3 box, which then relays out to the ISP mailservers.

And yes the linux stuff can be frustrating, but kind of entertaining for the IT geek in me. I've always been a windows guy, now I have 5 linux systems in use for work stuff. (3 mailscanner/spamassassin spam filters, a nagios/cacti monitoring system, and an asterisk PBX box).
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?t=210883
http://www.issociate.de/board/post/301307/sendmail_relaying_to_isp_with_authentication_with_no_dns_lookup.html

das Monkey
07-03-07, 10:00 PM
Thanks. I'll read up on those tonight.

Re: telnet, I'm an idiot. I forgot about ssh, and there's an ssh daemon set up already. There's even a java interface in the web app, but since it crashes Firefox, I didn't give it much thought.

das

GHackmann
07-03-07, 10:34 PM
Also, I couldn't seem to get my accounts configured correctly. When I log on as root, I have path access to run all the necessary tools, but when I log on as a regular user and then su into root, things don't work right.
Odds are the tools you're looking for are in /sbin or /usr/sbin. Since they're administrative tools that normal users generally shouldn't tinker with, many Linux distros are set up so that /sbin and /usr/sbin only get added to your PATH if you log in as root.

The easiest solution is to just use the full pathnames for stuff in /sbin or /usr/sbin. If you don't know what the full pathname is, whereis can usually find it for you.

twikoff
07-03-07, 10:38 PM
su -

if you want to load the profile of the account you are switching into.. without the -, you are keeping the profile (env variables, etc..) of the account you are switching from.

das Monkey
07-03-07, 10:57 PM
Many thanks. Here's another one: care to recommend a boot floppy/cd diagnostic tool I could use that would put the drives under some load? The problems I was having earlier with the power supply/motherboard/cable combo are still unresolved and intermittent. I'm hoping that if I put a drive on there with some load, the problem will manifest itself in a repeatable pattern so I can start swapping components until I find the problem.

<i>Edit: Looking at UltimateBootCD right now</i>

das

das Monkey
07-04-07, 12:28 AM
Grr. So I'm running Western Digital DLG Diagnostics on these drives, and everything checks out with the good mobo and the ps and cable that were failing earlier. One might then assume that something's wrong with that other mobo, but I bet I could hook the whole thing up and have nothing go wrong for days and then suddenly experience errors again. I'm thinking I'll just run this config for a while and see what happens. I still have to dick around with sendmail anyway. If it's stable, I'll just move on.

das

das Monkey
07-04-07, 12:59 AM
Look at this ... a semi-topical RAID question that actually belongs in this thread:

Let's say I go with 7 drives (2 RAID-1, 5 RAID-5). I have 2 channels on the mobo and 2 more channels on a PCI IDE controller. Is there a particular way I should organize these for maximum efficiency? If it matters, I'll likely use the RAID-5 the most.

das

Dave99
07-04-07, 02:15 PM
I'd say if you had 4 drives in the raid-5, I'd put them on the pci controller. But since you have 5, probably doesn't matter much, it's going to be spread across different controllers no matter how you do it.

das Monkey
07-04-07, 03:54 PM
That's kind of what I was thinking too. I guess I'll just keep the RAID-1 on the primary channel directly from the motherboard and distribute the others.

Update on sendmail. I was able to modify my sendmail AuthInfo database and makehash it. I also changed my sendmail.mc so everything should work correctly, but when I m4'd it, I got an error that sendmail-cf doesn't exist on the openfiler distro. So I tracked down sendmail-cf for my version of sendmail, but it's packed rpm, which openfiler doesn't have. So I tracked down the rpm source code, untarred it, tweaked the makefile, and ... openfiler doesn't include a c compiler! :hairpull: Throw me a frickin' bone here! I'm kind of stuck now, because I can manually set my smtp server in the sendmail.cf file, but I haven't figured out how to manually apply the AuthInfo database.

Anyway, I did have a small stroke of good luck. My ISP requires authorization, but not if I'm sending mail from my ISP domain to my ISP account (and probably any other account on the domain). This means I can't send to gmail without authorization, but I can send to my ISP account (which I've never used for anything in 7 years) and have gmail pop it in the background. I'm still annoyed that I can't do it the "right" way, but at least I now have a notification system in place for RAID failure.

Now I just need to test it.

das

NotThatGuy
07-04-07, 03:56 PM
Yeah...this thread is above my head, but an interesting read.

-p

Dave99
07-04-07, 04:48 PM
try doing a 'conary update sendmail-cf' to see if that gets you the package you need.

das Monkey
07-04-07, 11:15 PM
You are the man. Success!

conary updated the sendmail-cf, which allowed me to m4, which (after some tweaking) is now allowing me to send directly to gmail. Woo hoo!

I also got the 4 160s installed and ready for RAID-5. Still need to clean off one of the 200s before I finalize the RAID (I can't easily <i>add</i> to a RAID-5 config, can I?). One thing about openfiler proved really annoying. Some of these disks still had partitions on them, and the openfiler interface won't let me remove a partition, only create. So I had to fdisk them before the UI would let me set them up for RAID. Just in case, I also used parted to change their labels to gpt.

Now that I have everything set up I realize these 80GB drives are kind of loud. They're old WDs and exhibit a high-pitched whir. It's a bit annoying, but I'll probably add one more fan to this that will likely drown it out a bit. Plus, where I'm planning on sitting the box, I don't think anyone will hear it. :fc:

Side note: while I've been working on this, I've had old James Bond films running in the background, so when I saw your post about using "conary", it really made me laugh. I don't know if it was funny or if I'm just delirious from working on this thing. :)

One 200GB drive away from a potential RAID server at total cost of $0. :up:

das

das Monkey
07-04-07, 11:24 PM
Yeah...this thread is above my head, but an interesting read.

-p
Don't encourage me. :)

das

Dave99
07-05-07, 12:33 AM
I don't think you can expand a raid-5 through the web-ui (yet anyway), but there appears to be a way, takes a while though:
https://www.openfiler.com/community/forums/viewtopic.php?id=741

das Monkey
07-05-07, 04:23 AM
That looks like fun.

Well, I cleaned off the 200GB drive, added it to the box, plus another fan, and have been having a miserable time trying to set up the RAID-5. No matter what I do, it seemingly doesn't like the last disk. If I add hdc1, hde1, and hdf1, something goes wrong with hdf1. If I try all 5, something's wrong with hdh1. This is true if I use the GUI or mdadm --create. When I use the GUI and watch the server screen, it echoes all of the devices to the screen except the last one and says "raid5: raid level 5 set md4 active with 4 out of 5 devices, algorithm 2" (or 2 out of 3, etc). It also says, "--- rd:5 wd:4". Then I get something like this when I try to view the details in the GUI:

http://i15.tinypic.com/52q7hhw.jpg

If I try two disks in RAID-0 or RAID-1, they seem fine, but RAID-5 looks all wrong, regardless of which disks I choose. The mdadm --detail output:

/dev/md4:
Version : 00.90.03
Creation Time : Thu Jul 5 04:09:43 2007
Raid Level : raid5
Array Size : 640310784 (610.65 GiB 655.68 GB)
Device Size : 160077696 (152.66 GiB 163.92 GB)
Raid Devices : 5
Total Devices : 5
Preferred Minor : 4
Persistence : Superblock is persistent

Update Time : Thu Jul 5 04:09:43 2007
State : clean
Active Devices : 5
Working Devices : 5
Failed Devices : 0
Spare Devices : 0

Layout : left-symmetric
Chunk Size : 64K

UUID : 9c7d3b72:a8fe1cf7:90db713c:4ea46c57
Events : 0.1

Number Major Minor RaidDevice State
0 22 1 0 active sync /dev/hdc1
1 33 1 1 active sync /dev/hde1
2 33 65 2 active sync /dev/hdf1
3 34 1 3 active sync /dev/hdg1
-1 0 0 - removed

5 34 65 5 active sync /dev/hdh1

:hscratch::wtf:

das

Dave99
07-05-07, 10:38 AM
I think that -1 is normal, I'm pretty sure I got that on my test machine also (using 3 70g scsi drives). It appears your array is there, it's seeing all 5 drives and indicates they are in sync.

das Monkey
07-05-07, 11:49 AM
I'll post about it over on the forums, but it sure doesn't look right to me.

On a related note, when I tried to create the volume across this set, I got some I/O errors, and <i>one</i> of my drives was "removed" from the set. It's probably bad -- I'll run Maxtor diagnostics on all of them tonight (I feared one of these 160s was dead already). Anyway, when <i>one</i> drive "failed", the array appeared to degrade until I rebooted, when it said during boot that only 3 of 5 devices were active, and the array was gone, implying that the array was not really in sync as it claimed to be. I tried this a couple of times and got the same result. Strangely, when I did the entire process manually (using fdisk and mdadm), I didn't get -1, but some 8-digit negative number. :hscratch:

Further confusing, I took the drive that "failed", fdisk'd it, ran mkfs.ext3 on it, and then did "fsck -c" overnight. No errors. Is there a better way to test a drive in linux? That's the best thing I could come up with, not really knowing what I was doing.

So close and yet so far ... :sad:

das

das Monkey
07-06-07, 01:55 PM
Something not linux related:

When I first started building this combination of parts, I had two 80GB Western Digital drives. To test the mobo/PS/cable combo, and to ensure that the drives were OK, I ran each of them through Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostics tool. At the time, I had the two drives as primary master/slave and the CD-ROM that controlled the DLG boot CD on secondary master. Everything was fine.

<i>Now</i>, with the confusion over linux, I thought it would be good to thoroughly test these 4 160GB Maxtors. So I download the Seatools boot CD (Seagate + Maxtor), and it hangs on load. So I try the Seatools option on the Ultimate Boot CD. It throws a cryptic opcode error on load. So I try the Max Blast boot CD I have from a SATA drive I purchased recently. It hangs on load. So I try the <i>same</i> Data Lifeguard Diagnostic I used before, and it throws the same cryptic opcode Seatools threw! The only thing that has changed is that I've added the PATA IDE controller and the 4 discs. Very strange. Is it possible that the size of the drives is an issue somewhere in the process? Could my PATA controller be balking at 4 160GB drives? I don't think anything I'm using is old enough to have problems with &gt; 127GB drives.

I plan to isolate everything over the weekend and thoroughly test each drive individually, but this is confusing me.

das

das Monkey
07-06-07, 10:53 PM
More updates (if anyone's even listening anymore :lol: ):

None of the major disk diagnostic tools will work when any disks are attached to the PATA controller. This is strange. The controller BIOS seems happy. The mobo BIOS works with the controller BIOS, and both properly recognize the drives. I began wondering if somehow the controller wasn't lba 48. Then I remembered how I got the thing in the first place. It came packaged with a WD 200 gig drive in case you had a mobo that wasn't lba 48, so that's not the problem. I went looking for BIOS update info and found that there were two BIOSes for the card, the one that shipped with the WD drives and the general Promise BIOS. Since the drives I'm using are Maxtor, I figured maybe this is related. I checked the latest Promise update and it claimed to fix a linux boot problem. Most of these boot CDs use some form of linux. So I updated the card to use the Promise driver set instead, which should obviously fix the problem. Nope.

So, one by one, I'm connecting the Maxtors directly to the mobo and testing them. Interestingly, the first one I tested found 2 bad sectors, which I repaired, and the first 2 disks claim to have gone overtemp (55c I think) at some point in their lives. These were originally striped in a TiVo box with heat issues, so that seems reasonable.

I posted about the -1 thing over at openfiler, but their support forum seems pretty useless, so I doubt I'll get a response. Of course, it's not always -1. Observe a 3-disk config:

http://i13.tinypic.com/4tqh378.jpg

:shrug:

das

TheKobra
07-06-07, 11:40 PM
[QUOTE=4KRG]If bad sectors show on an IDE drive, IMO - throw it away, it is a bad drive. The internal mechanism is suppose to re-map all bad sectors automatically so your OS never sees them. If you have seen them, you have bigger problems with the drive[QUOTE]

Wouldn't Spinrite (http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm) fix bad sectors? I've used it in the past and it seemed to correct the problem.

das Monkey
07-07-07, 12:09 AM
The way I understand it, drives contain extra sectors for this purpose, and if a few of them fail, they can be rerouted to the extras. I have a copy of spinrite somewhere from a recovery I had to do on another drive years ago, but I'm trying to use the manufacturer's tools if possible. They probably all do the same thing, but one would hoep the manufacturer's tool is the most likely to provide accurate results in the "repair" process.

Here's another interesting bit of :wtf:. When I connect only Maxtor drives to the mobo and only Western Digital drives to the IDE controller ... Maxtor's boot disk actually boots <i>and</i> recognizes <i>all</i> the disks. I really hate computers. :hairpull:

das

das Monkey
07-07-07, 03:48 AM
<b>Dave99</b>,

Openfiler e-mails me about a DegradedArray event whenever I create a RAID-5 or reboot with one. The contents of the email imply that it's working OK, but fires the event anyway. It's as if it thinks that -1 was supposed to be in the array and isn't. RAID-6 works as expected.

das

twikoff
07-07-07, 10:09 AM
Wouldn't Spinrite (http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm) fix bad sectors? I've used it in the past and it seemed to correct the problem.

the drives are have built in protection for bad sectors
a harddrive actually has around twice as much space as advertised, but a huge chunk of the drive is saved for error correction, to fix these bad sectors.

your drive is moving off bad sectors all the time and you never realize it... so by the time bad sectors start to show up, there is a fairly good chance that the correction space has been used up and you are now operating without any safety net.. just begging to have your data lost..

there are utilities out there that will let you format your drive and gain the use of all that protection space.. and this makes the drive much bigger.. but also pretty much guarantees data loss.


that all said.. using one as part of a raid configuration isnt as dangerous, since you are implementing other forms of protection.

Dave99
07-07-07, 06:53 PM
I've gotten quite a few of those messages as well, now that I've setup the email notifies. I'll have to play with my setup a little more, to see under what circumstances it's sending those.
<b>Dave99</b>,

Openfiler e-mails me about a DegradedArray event whenever I create a RAID-5 or reboot with one. The contents of the email imply that it's working OK, but fires the event anyway. It's as if it thinks that -1 was supposed to be in the array and isn't. RAID-6 works as expected.

das

das Monkey
07-07-07, 08:12 PM
I think the code's just buggy. Even a "cat /proc/mdstat" indicates that the array members are tagged incorrectly, as if there's this missing phantom member of the array.

das

das Monkey
07-08-07, 03:35 AM
Reading is fundamental.

http://www.linuxmanpages.com/man8/mdadm.8.php

For create or build:

-f, --force
Insist that mdadm accept the geometry and layout specified without question. Normally mdadm will not allow creation of an array with only one device, and will try to create a raid5 array with one missing drive (as this makes the initial resync work faster). With --force, mdadm will not try to be so clever.
This doesn't address why openfiler has the confusing -1 removed disk thing going on, but it does address why there is a gap before the last disk.

One thing that was pissing me off was that no matter what changes I was making behind the scenes, openfiler config files were reseting some of my changes. So I just reinstalled from scratch. Then I did a "conary update mdadm" to get the latest mdadm. Then I told the openfiler GUI to go screw itself and fdisk'd my partitions and ran mdadm manually for a RAID-5 of 5 disks. The phantom disk is there, but the -1 nonsense is gone.

Along the way, I figured out (I think) how to erase all traces of a RAID array to start over (without a new install), so it doesn't keep trying to rebuild an array you don't want on boot:

mdadm --stop /dev/md4
rm /dev/md4
mdadm --zero-superblock /dev/hda1 (repeat for each device)

and then edit /etc/mdadm.conf to remove openfiler's dummy reference to the array.

I noticed that when I upgraded mdadm it started balking at those openfiler commands in the mdadm.conf, but I don't think it matters.

Oh, and I went to see <i>Live Free or Die Hard</i> in the middle of all this. It was awesome. :)

das

das Monkey
07-08-07, 03:02 PM
http://i14.tinypic.com/6ewjsqv.jpg

;)

das

das Monkey
07-08-07, 09:36 PM
I can't win. Now that I have everything set up correctly, I'm getting I/O errors on the secondary IDE channel. When I start copying files, everything will be fine for a while, and then I'll get a few I/O errors writing to hdd, which in turn shuts down dma on hdc, which ultimately slows my file transfers to an infuriating crawl. I ran comprehensive scans on both of these drives, and the both seem OK. :hairpull:

das

Dave99
07-08-07, 11:52 PM
only thing I can think of would be get rid of the 5th drive (so you wouldn't be running the array across different controllers). That just sounds like a prescription for trouble.

das Monkey
07-11-07, 11:23 PM
http://i14.tinypic.com/63h7ayc.jpg

:) I don't know how long it will continue, but thanks for all the help. Every once in a while, dma goes out, and I just re-enable it after a bit, and things are fine again. I may set up a cron job to forcibly enable it periodically.

das

Dave99
07-11-07, 11:52 PM
hopefully it will be stable for you. I'm getting ready to start my project a little more in depth, I got my pci-x 8 port sata card today. Probably go with 4x 500GB to start.
www .buy.com/prod/8-channel-serial-ata-adapter-with-300mb-s-per-channel-64-bit-pci-x/q/loc/101/201962138.html

das Monkey
07-12-07, 12:07 AM
Yeah, but I built mine for free! :)

Looks like a good setup. Good luck with it. My post over at the useless openfiler forum still sits atop the forum. :lol: At this point, I think I learned enough about linux that I could just do the whole thing myself, but it's stable and working, so I'm just going to leave it alone :fc:. I'm only getting about 10MB/s out of it, but that's enough for my purposes. It's just data storage with the occasional streaming video or audio file.

Hopefully your setup won't be as adventurous as mine.

das

das Monkey
07-15-07, 10:23 PM
Turns out it was my 4th drive that was the problem. Over the weekend, hdd1 "failed" and brought down the RAID-5 array. I used SeaTools and SpinRite to test the drive, and they both say it's fine, but when I put it back in and tried to rebuild the array I got the dma issues again. So I yanked it out and added a 200GB WD and rebuilt with that. About 20 hours in and so far no dma problems. :fc:

Of note, RAID failures do not immediately generate an e-mail. I didn't get an e-mail about it until I rebooted the machine with a degraded array. It's possible that over time a job would have run to alert me, but it was certainly not immediate.

Any ideas on how to get drive temperature info on openfiler? All my drives are SMART enabled and should have some data, but I don't know how to access it. I found hddtemp, but it's an rpm, which was the problem from before. I did use conary to get gcc and gcc-c++, but the configure script still doesn't like it. It would be nice to know if my cooling strategy is effective or not.

das