Eliminate RAID 1

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Chitwilber, Aug 16, 2007.

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  1. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    Hi Everyone,
    I've got some trouble & need to buy some software help. This seems like a great forum to get advice.

    I have a failed SATA (slave) disk in a RAID 1 setup and also a broken array even though my BIOS settings are still in RAID mode. I am currently operating in degraded mode from my master hard disk. I believe that I screwed up the array when I installed a eSATA pci card controller to add a SATA hard disk for extra storage. My Highpoint RAID software shows that I have NO hard disks available (I believe because of the eSATA pci card) and won't rebuild the array when I connect a new hard disk. XP Disk Manager shows that Disk 0 (C:) is healthy, Disk 1 is unallocated and Disk 2 (F: --eSATA storage on pci card controller) is healthy.
    SO...
    I wish to insert a new disk into the failed (slave) disk slot and copy my degraded boot disk to it in such a way that I can reset the BIOS to eliminate the RAID and use my new disk to boot the system in normal fashion. Will TI Home v10.0 enable me to do that?

    My concern is that cloning my degraded boot drive will only produce a degraded new drive (with a RAID 1 partition and file structure). I have a couple of new hard disks so even if it requires a 2 step process I would happily do it.
    Thank You
     
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    If your RAID is an actual Hardware RAID setup, then you should be able to image the current RAID 1 drive using TI 10 and then change the BIOS from RAID mode to Normal mode and restore the image to the new drive. Windows should detect the change and install the regular drivers and request a reboot.

    TI (as Windows) won't care if the RAID array is degraded. That just means that one of the drives has failed. In RAID 1 the other drive takes over and lets the system run normally. That's the whole reason for RAID 1. The backup image should be valid as long as the remaining RAID 1 disk doesn't fail.

    Since you have spare drives, this is what I would try first. If you don't have TI 10, you can download a 15 day trial version and see if it works for you.
     
  3. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    Thanks MudCrab,

    Ever read something you didn't understand, wait 2 months and then try to paraphrase it? haha That's I'm going to do. See if I'm all wrong.

    I thought I read that a hard disk set up for RAID 1 has either a different file structure or a special partition to hold the mirrored information. It is less efficient and less reliable running in degraded mode because of this -- maybe checks for a parity bit on each read or something.

    Guess I better do some online searching before I make any more trouble. I'll respond to this again later after I check my info.
     
  4. CorkyG

    CorkyG Registered Member

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    Actually, not necessarily. Either drive of a RAID 1 array can be removed from the array and run normally as a single drive.

    The safest thing to do is to backup that single good drive, then add the new drive and let the RAID controller rebuild the array using the good drive.

    I have a RAIUD 1 array for data, and weekly, I clone the array to a single external drive that is non-RAID. That gives me true backup of my data. RAID 1 provides mirrored redundancy, but is not considered a true backup because any error or corruption in one of the drives wiol appear in both.
     
  5. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    Ok, I can't find any info regarding a parity bit, a different file structure, or partition for a RAID 1. I guess I was confusing it with info on a RAID 5.

    So I've downloaded a TI free trial and right now I'm backing up my C: on a NAS drive (it probably won't finish until tomorrow).

    CorkyG -- I would love the luxury of backing up my (intact) RAID 1 array --- but as I said in my first post my Highpoint RAID software shows that I have NO hard disks available and won't rebuild the array when I connect a new hard disk. I'm stuck with backing up my 'degraded' drive. I'll then try to mount that image on a new HDD.

    It just occurred to me there might be software RAID solutions that could rebuild my broken array into a complete software RAID 1 image that could then be backed up with Acronis. Any added suggestions here would be appreciated.

    P.S. I can see this is a great forum and also that Acronis is a company that values customer service. With that in mind I am sharing a 'help' problem. I've read the Acronis help but I still don't understand the difference between a complete drive backup (disk/partition image) and cloning a drive. I'm set to start over and read everything again but I suspect there is a much better way to explain it than what is in the Acronis help. So what if the technology is sophisticated and the details are complicated -- the general usefulness overview should be a lot clearer than they've made it.
    Sell the sizzle - not the steak. Explain the benefits and not the features. Maybe do it with examples.
    Maybe I'm too tired to make sense.
     
  6. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    Sorry about the rant in my last post. At the least I should have started a new post in a different section.
    I need all the help I can get and I should have spent my energy staying focused on saving my system.

    At this rate my backup will take 3-4 days & I'm still not sure if I should be cloning or backing up. The TI manual says to clone if I want to install a new disk. I think that's what I want to do -- right?
    Should I just replace the bad RAID disk with a new disk and use TI to clone my degraded C drive onto it?
    Thanks
     
  7. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I assume the backup is taking that long because of backing up to the NAS?

    Since you have spare drives, couldn't you install one of them in the computer and save the image backup there? That way you could setup your new RAID or single drive and do the restore back to the new drive(s). It would be a lot faster than doing it over the network.

    If you have a USB hard drive you could use that, but it probably won't be as fast as using internal drives.

    I would recommend doing an image backup of the Entire Disk (check the Disk # checkbox) and then restoring that to the new setup instead of cloning.
     
  8. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    I don't know how long it's supposed to take to restore 200GB.

    I have 2 Hdd but realized I didn't have the bays or channels to put both of them in. I went to Fry's & bought a NAS disk holder & put my 500GB disk in it. I also have a new 250 GB that I originally bought to replace my failed disk & fix my RAID.
    If I abandon the present restore (at 20%) and put my 500GB hdd in the (slave) slot that my failed drive is in, I won't be able to restore because I'll have to reformat the 500GB disk to get it back into the NAS.
    And I'm still going to be stuck with restoring from the NAS.
    Looks like I'll be living with this for a week or two.

    You're saying it won't work if I replace the failed drive in the slave slot with my 250GB hdd and then clone my degraded RAID to it?
    Actually, I don't think I want to break the backup at this point anyway so I'll just keep my fingers crossed & wait it out.
    (Thanks again MudCrab)
     
  9. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The transfer rate from/to the NAS is greatly dependent on the NAS device and the network connection. Is it 100Mbs or 1000Mbs? If it's 1000Mbs then your transfer rate could be 1-2GB per minute, the same as on external USB or interal hard drive (depending on hardware and drivers, of course).

    200GB should only take about 200 minutes give or take as an approximation. Yours is obviously taking much longer.

    Have you timed any transfers to the NAS from Windows?

    If you have a separate internal drive (your 250GB "spare") and can install it in the computer, you should be able to save the backup image to it. Then you could fix your RAID and restore from the 250GB internal drive.

    However, if you only have two connectors and they're both going to be used by the RAID drives, then you won't be able to do that.

    Are these IDE drives or SATA drives? How many connectors do you have? If IDE, do you have an IDE CD/DVD drive? Are both connectors used on it?
     
  10. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    My network speed is 100Mbs. I haven't tried any transfers from Windows. I bought this NAS to help me out with this problem (and without thinking it through). I have all SATA drives --- 2 SATA drives connected to the only two SATA connections on a LanParty motherboard (it's a few years old). I later bought a SIIG eSATA controller PCI card and installed another internal 250MB SATA hard disk (my F: drive) .
    IMHO this card broke my array. After it runs through BIOS bootup my screen shows
    ch0 - 0master drive, 0slave --
    ch1 - 0mster, 0slave (NO hard disks!).
    Highpoint raid software also shows -0- hard disks so it can't repair my RAID. (But XP Disk Manager and TI finds them).

    I considered removing my F: drive temporarily (maybe I should have) instead of buying the NAS but I have Microsoft Visual Studio 8 installed on F: and I was afraid of booting XP without having all the Visual Studio internals in place.
    Maybe I should go back to Fry's & get another ($60) 250MB hard disk to put in my F: drive to backup to.
    I'm still worried about screwing up Visual Studio or XP with a bogus boot.
     
  11. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    YAY!!

    My boot drive backup to my NAS completed last night. It took 3 1/2 days. XP Task Manager reported the TI backup process used only 6% of my LAN bandwidth.
    I turned off the computer, connected my new 250GB hard disk, and booted up. I selected disk recovery in TI and it found the .tib file on my NAS drive, but couldn't find my new hard disk that I just connected. I could only see the C: drive from TI (I want to recover to my new drive).
    XP disk manager said my new drive needed to be initialized so I initialized it and it came 'online' in XP Disk Manager. (But still no logical drive created -- so it didn't appear in Windows Explorer).
    TI still couldn't find the new drive.

    I then thought I would try to recover from the Acronis boot up disk. It was then that I first realized that I would lose the use of my computer during the (3 1/2 day) recovery process. I opened the TI Startup Recovery Manager Wizard. and stopped at the Disk Selection menu. I was pleased to see my new disk was now listed as Disk 2 as I would expect but the Interface column reported it as IDE(0) Primary Slave indicating that my RAID 1 might not really be broken.

    Then when I read the TI instruction header and read:
    "Please choose a hard disk drive to create Acronis Secure Zone on"
    I just threw up my hands and started writing this.
    Secure Zone as I could determine in the Help information seems to have no relevance in this context. Every time I click on a Help file subject (problem to solve) I get another list of 10-20 links of problems to solve instead of solving the the problem at hand.
    I admit I don't get it.
     
  12. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    I just started the image validation process. Looks like I'm in for another 3 days for that to complete. The Back up wizard didn't prompt me to set a Secure Zone -- In fact when I did try the Secure Zone wizard, it only showed me my 3 hard disks (not the NAS drive that I backed up to).

    MudCrab:
    "you should be able to image the current RAID 1 drive using TI 10 and then change the BIOS from RAID mode to Normal mode and restore the image to the new drive."

    By image I assume you mean back up and by restore I assume you mean the Restore Data Wizard! (that I get when I click on 'Recovery'). That's the process that won't let me see my new drive that I want to restore to -- it only shows access to my current backed up C: drive.

    Have I at least started the correct process?
    I didn't partition the new drive should I have? Then could I see it in the Restore Data Wizard?
    Thanks
     
  13. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    RAID 1 jsut makes two drives act in tandem as a mirror of each other -- whatever is written on one is written on the other, essentially invislbe to the user. The drdivers and hardware take care of making the mirroring work, to the rest of the system the array should look just like a single regular drive. If one fails, the other can keep things going.

     
  14. Chitwilber

    Chitwilber Registered Member

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    Thanks shieber, I'm kinda past that part now. As I noted above, the BIOS is set up for RAID but it has been broken -- XP Disk manager sees 2 disks instead of one. Unfortunately, the TI Recover Data Wizard only shows one drive so I can't recover to the second (new) drive.

    My backup is almost verified now, so I guess when I get home from work I'll try partitioning my new drive to see if TI Recovery can see it then. I'm working two jobs right now so maybe I'll catch up on some sleep & start again tomorrow.
     
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