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post #1 of 14 Old 09-26-2017, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Regarding Hard Drives in unRAID Server

I've been running one of the Supermicro 24 bay servers from Tamsolutions (with the original hardware) for awhile with unRAID 6.22 and has been running great. I've filled all 24 bays with 2TB drives with one being parity giving me a total of about 46 TB.

My question is, when a hard drive fails how do we know which one has failed? The web console I know will show the drive as having failed but which does it correspond to location wise physically? The SM Chassis has the red lights that light when the server is first turned on but won't come on when a drive dies. I am guessing that feature is for SAS based drives or controller card dependant. I have one drive in there now that's giving alot of errors so have a feeling it may go under at some point. There has to be an easier way to identify which drive physically when they fail and location.
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-26-2017, 09:02 AM
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I have one drive in there now that's giving alot of errors so have a feeling it may go under at some point.
I'd get a drive now and at the very least have it ready to go (precleared) when you need it, or ideally, just replace the failing drive now.
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There has to be an easier way to identify which drive physically when they fail and location.
The easiest way takes foresight/planning, and that's to mark the drive SN on the drive carriers so you can just look in the unraid console at what drive (SN) failed, and grab that one.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-26-2017, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd get a drive now and at the very least have it ready to go (precleared) when you need it, or ideally, just replace the failing drive now. The easiest way takes foresight/planning, and that's to mark the drive SN on the drive carriers so you can just look in the unraid console at what drive (SN) failed, and grab that one.
I have extra drives ready to go in the case of failures. And while I can label the SN on the drive trays, I would still have to pull out the tray to properly identify the drive so would have to shut the server down first.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-26-2017, 05:17 PM
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I have extra drives ready to go in the case of failures. And while I can label the SN on the drive trays, I would still have to pull out the tray to properly identify the drive so would have to shut the server down first.
This is hindsight, but as I was adding drives to unRAID there is a notes field for the drive. I added Column (1-4) Row (1-6). You can also just shut it down and go by serial numbers.

If you are using a proper server with IPMI you might have some options to flash the drive bay light based on serial number.

You might want to consider a second parity drive at this point.

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post #5 of 14 Old 09-26-2017, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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This is hindsight, but as I was adding drives to unRAID there is a notes field for the drive. I added Column (1-4) Row (1-6). You can also just shut it down and go by serial numbers.

If you are using a proper server with IPMI you might have some options to flash the drive bay light based on serial number.

You might want to consider a second parity drive at this point.
The server does have IPMI so what options are available to flash the drive bay light?

Yep I have another parity drive ready to go. What I plan to do since all the drive bays are occupied I will probably remove the drive that's erroring out and put in the new parity drive.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-26-2017, 06:57 PM
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Yep I have another parity drive ready to go. What I plan to do since all the drive bays are occupied I will probably remove the drive that's erroring out and put in the new parity drive.

If you only have 24 bays and you take the bad drive out and replace it with a good drive thinking you can make that a second parity drive. I do believe your array will see that config as invalid and wont start.
In order to get a second parity drive you will need to take the bad drive out and shrink the array to 23 drives. then add the second parity drive in and rebuild & synch parity. You are best to ask these questions on the Unraid forum.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-03-2017, 10:28 AM
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You probably won't know that a drive has failed until you reboot the server. The drives will tend to function until this occurs so it's not a bad idea to reboot every so often just to check the integrity of the drives. Upon rebooting the server, the array will fail to start as if a drive is missing. The web GUI will indicate which drive is missing. The drive is identified by the brand and serial number. Shut down the array and locate the failed drive. I put small labels on the front of each drive tray to identify which drive is which so it's easy to locate them later.

Remove the faulty drive and swap it with one that has already been pre-cleared. I like to keep a spare drive on hand and pre-clear it ahead of time in case I need to replace one. Just connect the drive to a spare SATA port if you have one available and run pre-clear in the background, either using the command line prompt directly on the server using a keyboard and monitor or using the plug-in and run it from the web GUI. Pre-clearing not only prepares the drive for use in the array but also tests it to make sure it is fully functional. Search for pre-clear on the unRAID forum and you'll find out how to run it.

You can actually install a drive in unRAID without having to pre-clear it if you're replacing a failed drive as every location on the new drive will be overwritten anyway. If you're adding a drive to an existing array it must be pre-cleared first. Install the new drive in the slot and fire up the array. Go to the web GUI and assign the new drive to the slot previously occupied by the bad drive. Start the array and it will automatically rebuild the data from parity. You'll be presented with a prompt or two along the way so just answer yes to all of them and let the array do it's thing. Note that you can still access data on the array while data is being rebuilt. You just can't add any more data until the data rebuild cycle is complete.
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The server does have IPMI so what options are available to flash the drive bay light?

Yep I have another parity drive ready to go. What I plan to do since all the drive bays are occupied I will probably remove the drive that's erroring out and put in the new parity drive.
You can certainly do this, but you'll have to delete the configuration file on the flash drive and start with a new configuration. I believe you can also indicate that it's a new configuration in the web GUI. You can assign the drives to whatever slot you want since it's going to rebuild parity from scratch anyway. The latest version of unRAID supports up to 30 drives and two parity drives. If you have an empty PCI slot you can install an simple 2-port SATA controller and add a new parity drive that way. You can also use an SATA port on the motherboard if you have one available. I got rid of the stock motherboard and other hardware as soon as I got my Supermicro server and replaced it with my own hardware. I use a standard PC PSU instead of the power supply that screams like a banshee that came with it.

You will have to rebuild the data using the existing configuration before you can update the parity drive and add a second one. If your new parity drive is the same size as the rest of your drives I would recommend keeping the new drive as a spare and getting a larger drive to use as the parity drive. This will allow for much easier expansion or upgrades down the road. You'd have to upgrade both parity drives if they're the same size as the rest of the drives in the array before you could upgrade to a larger drive elsewhere in the array. I'm not sure how large you can go with the drives using the stock SATA controllers. That's one of the reasons I swapped my setup out with my own hardware. My SATA controllers will support drives as large as 4TB and probably larger. I'm up to 30 drives (28 data, one parity, and one cache) for a current capacity of about 89.5TB.

Last edited by captain_video; 10-03-2017 at 10:41 AM.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-04-2017, 02:51 PM
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You can also use the notification feature in unRAID to send you an email when a drive fails.
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-04-2017, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
You probably won't know that a drive has failed until you reboot the server. The drives will tend to function until this occurs so it's not a bad idea to reboot every so often just to check the integrity of the drives. Upon rebooting the server, the array will fail to start as if a drive is missing. The web GUI will indicate which drive is missing. The drive is identified by the brand and serial number. Shut down the array and locate the failed drive. I put small labels on the front of each drive tray to identify which drive is which so it's easy to locate them later.

Remove the faulty drive and swap it with one that has already been pre-cleared. I like to keep a spare drive on hand and pre-clear it ahead of time in case I need to replace one. Just connect the drive to a spare SATA port if you have one available and run pre-clear in the background, either using the command line prompt directly on the server using a keyboard and monitor or using the plug-in and run it from the web GUI. Pre-clearing not only prepares the drive for use in the array but also tests it to make sure it is fully functional. Search for pre-clear on the unRAID forum and you'll find out how to run it.

You can actually install a drive in unRAID without having to pre-clear it if you're replacing a failed drive as every location on the new drive will be overwritten anyway. If you're adding a drive to an existing array it must be pre-cleared first. Install the new drive in the slot and fire up the array. Go to the web GUI and assign the new drive to the slot previously occupied by the bad drive. Start the array and it will automatically rebuild the data from parity. You'll be presented with a prompt or two along the way so just answer yes to all of them and let the array do it's thing. Note that you can still access data on the array while data is being rebuilt. You just can't add any more data until the data rebuild cycle is complete.

You can certainly do this, but you'll have to delete the configuration file on the flash drive and start with a new configuration. I believe you can also indicate that it's a new configuration in the web GUI. You can assign the drives to whatever slot you want since it's going to rebuild parity from scratch anyway. The latest version of unRAID supports up to 30 drives and two parity drives. If you have an empty PCI slot you can install an simple 2-port SATA controller and add a new parity drive that way. You can also use an SATA port on the motherboard if you have one available. I got rid of the stock motherboard and other hardware as soon as I got my Supermicro server and replaced it with my own hardware. I use a standard PC PSU instead of the power supply that screams like a banshee that came with it.

You will have to rebuild the data using the existing configuration before you can update the parity drive and add a second one. If your new parity drive is the same size as the rest of your drives I would recommend keeping the new drive as a spare and getting a larger drive to use as the parity drive. This will allow for much easier expansion or upgrades down the road. You'd have to upgrade both parity drives if they're the same size as the rest of the drives in the array before you could upgrade to a larger drive elsewhere in the array. I'm not sure how large you can go with the drives using the stock SATA controllers. That's one of the reasons I swapped my setup out with my own hardware. My SATA controllers will support drives as large as 4TB and probably larger. I'm up to 30 drives (28 data, one parity, and one cache) for a current capacity of about 89.5TB.

Definitely appreciate the info, thank you. I did a bit of reconfiguring with my server yesterday. Since I had planned to test doing a SAN based build for my Windows 2012 R2 based servers (putting a small lab together) I removed about 8 drives from my unRAID server which had no data on them, including the one that is starting to fail which will not be reused. I then added the second parity drive and reset the configuration. I started the new parity re-build last night which just finished a short while ago.

I still have the original AMD based hardware in the currently running unRAID box with the original controllers and other hardware. I did replace the original screaming PSU with a quieter one that doesn't make a sound when the system is off. Only thing with this system is that while I can put in an HBA card, the backplane itself won't support over 2TB drives. I have two more 24-bay Supermicro server boxes though so I would have to probably replace the backplanes to get beyond the 2TB+ support.

What version of unRAID are you running now, I am still on 6.2.2 version. I have extra SATA ports on the motherboard but no where internally to put the drives, that would be perfect for the parity drives and free up two more slots on the backplane.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-04-2017, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by AVTechMan View Post
Definitely appreciate the info, thank you. I did a bit of reconfiguring with my server yesterday. Since I had planned to test doing a SAN based build for my Windows 2012 R2 based servers (putting a small lab together) I removed about 8 drives from my unRAID server which had no data on them, including the one that is starting to fail which will not be reused. I then added the second parity drive and reset the configuration. I started the new parity re-build last night which just finished a short while ago.

I still have the original AMD based hardware in the currently running unRAID box with the original controllers and other hardware. I did replace the original screaming PSU with a quieter one that doesn't make a sound when the system is off. Only thing with this system is that while I can put in an HBA card, the backplane itself won't support over 2TB drives. I have two more 24-bay Supermicro server boxes though so I would have to probably replace the backplanes to get beyond the 2TB+ support.

What version of unRAID are you running now, I am still on 6.2.2 version. I have extra SATA ports on the motherboard but no where internally to put the drives, that would be perfect for the parity drives and free up two more slots on the backplane.
I'm running version 6.3.5, which I believe is the latest version. I never had to replace the backplanes to support drives larger than 2TB. I bought the same Supermicro server from TAMS Solutions years ago. There are numerous posts in the server thread with photos of my build, although I believe I may have upgraded my motherboard since I posted them. LOL, I don't even recall what hardware I have installed in it at the moment as far as the motherboard and CPU. I just upgraded the firmware in my 8-port SATA cards to version 0.21 to use larger drives. I use three Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 controllers with fifteen 4TB drives, six 3TB drives, two 2TB drives, and five 1.5TB drives. I will eventually replace the smaller drives with 4TB drives if I need more storage. I use a Supermicro CSE-M35T-1B 5-bay rack sitting on top of the server chassis to give me five more drive bays. I use longer SATA cables and power cord extensions to connect it to my motherboard and PSU. I'd like to add a 2nd parity drive, but I haven't had the time to work out how to install it yet.
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post #11 of 14 Old 10-04-2017, 04:09 PM
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What version of unRAID are you running now, I am still on 6.2.2 version. I have extra SATA ports on the motherboard but no where internally to put the drives, that would be perfect for the parity drives and free up two more slots on the backplane.
I am on the current stable release...6.3.5
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-05-2017, 03:59 AM
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I've got half WD 8TB Reds and half HGST 7,200 NAS 4TB. I still have empty bays so I'm keeping them for now. I seem to buy a new 8TB Red each time they go on sale for $160 at BestBuy.

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post #13 of 14 Old 10-05-2017, 05:19 AM
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I have considered going to drives larger than 4TB, but the time it would take to preclear them or rebuild data from parity could literally take days. As it is, a 4TB drive takes over 20 hours for either task. I've already got more media on my server than I will ever watch or listen to in my lifetime so at some point I will probably have to start deleting things to make room instead of continuing to feed the beast.
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I have considered going to drives larger than 4TB, but the time it would take to preclear them or rebuild data from parity could literally take days. As it is, a 4TB drive takes over 20 hours for either task. I've already got more media on my server than I will ever watch or listen to in my lifetime so at some point I will probably have to start deleting things to make room instead of continuing to feed the beast.
Your 2TB drives are slowing down your parity checks. Parity will only check as fast as your slowest drive until that drive clears then onto the next slowest drive.

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