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Topic: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

  1. #1

    Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

    I have been fighting my Giga PC for about 11 hours now... including a 3 hour call to Microsoft in New Dehli - and I am no further along than when I started. I thought about jumping, but my studio is on the 3rd floor, and I'd probably just hurt myself.

    The PC is a P4/2.4 (yes, it's underpowered, but still works fine) w/ 1.5 gigs ram. Win XP pro SP2. GS3 3.12;

    This morning, I was updating some files, a developer sent me some .art files, etc... all was fine. I started working... and one of the files that I had added this morning was not in the QS database, so I did a quick update... still not there... so I initiated a full QS database rebuild. About 50% done - and the PC crashed. Not stalled, not paused, but dead. Had to pull the plug to restart it. Now, after restart, my F: drive (the drive with all the .gig files) shows up, but can not be accessed.

    The F: drive is actually (2) WD 160 gig 7200rpm/8mb drives (about 4 months old), striped in a RAID 0, using the raid controller built into my motherboard. It is the Promise 133 FastTrack controller -- has been working just fine. It continues to report "functional" on startup (in the BIOS). However, once we get into WinXP, the F: drive is "offline" - winxp thinks the drive is a removable and the tray is open or something like that...
    "The drive is not ready for use; its door may be open. Please check drive and make sure that a disk is installed and that the drive door is closed"
    chkdsk can not see it. disk management can not see it. we started up with the winxp cdrom and tried a few things -- nada.

    In "my computer" - the drive appears as "local disk F:" and if I click on it, I get an error: "The device is not ready"

    I pulled a pair of new drives from the shelf and swapped it out and made a new raid 0 - it works fine. I can say that I have no issues with the raid controller and it appears to be working.

    The raid controller reports the F: drive (the raid 0) as functioning at boot - if I go into the raid utility in the BIOS, I can see the individual drives, and all checks out OK. Only when I get to Winxp that I get the "can not access" error messages. The F: drive appears in the list of drives, but is "offline".

    I tried pulling one drive, and the RAID got mad... until both drives were plugged in, in the correct order, with the correct cabling (A to A, B to B, etc..) the RAID wasn't happy and would return error messages. Once I cabled it up correctly, the RAID reported "funtional" at boot... but Winxp would not mount or access it.

    97% of the data on the drive(s) are from commercial DVDs and CD-ROMs that I have -- except many have been updated with .art files for GS3 (VSL) and SISC -- and since I was one of the early VSL purchasers, my DVDs are hit and miss... many errors and I have accumulated about a dozen more CDs with VSL fixes. I figure it will take me 12-15 hours to rebuild this array. Yes, I'm backed up, but DDS4 is painfully slow for a full restore over the network. 280gigs will be faster from the DVD drive. Fortunately, all my perf files are on my C: drive and fully backed up.

    I tried a variety of data recovery utils, such as GetDataBack - and of course all of microsoft's utils... it can't even see the drive.

    So: my questions....

    1. Any hard drive rocket scientists out there who may know how I can salvage this raid?

    2a. Let's assume that I will not be able to salvage the data... I will then buy a brand new PC for Giga... is it worth building my own when I can buy something like Sonica Audio Labs -- I already own a RME HDSP9652, so maybe the price will be adjusted? I'll call them in the morning.

    2b. If you were building a new PC right now for GS3, what hardware would you go after? I need this yesterday -- so I don't want to deal with long shipping times or backorders.... if you build PCs, please contact me. I'm in NYC.

    3. Could GS3 have anything to do with this, or is it simply a fluke that the drive(s) failed during a QS database update?

    4. If you were me, what would you do: a) try to fix it; b) buy a new rig; c) jump?

    Thanks to all for reading this and to the experts who may have a solution.


  2. #2

    Re: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

    Your RAID is dead. That's the problem with RAID 0. If either drive fails, or if they get out of sync, you lose everything. That cuts your men time between failures in half. doubt that GS caused it. The RAID should operate at a lower level than GS.

    That said, I'd go with load balancing in the future - use two different drives and put the violins and violas on disk 1, cellos and basses on disk 2, etc. In the case that you're balanced, you'll get better performance than with the RAID. If you keep copies of your samples on both drives you can manually balance things no matter your choice of instruments.

    Who knows what blew. Your RAID controller? Disc 1? Disc 2? Just out of sync? If it's the latter, maybe there's a utility out there that can fix it. I don't know.

    Best of luck getting back in business.


  3. #3

    Re: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

    I've posted this before. I can attest to the effectiveness of this program. Get it and see for yourself. Since the BIOS recognizes everything as O.K. then this program will be ablt to recover data for you. See the description below for more info. Good luck!

    What Is SpinRite?

    SpinRite prevents mass storage systems from crashing or warns the user of pending catastrophe. If SpinRite is not used until after a crash, it skillfully picks up all the pieces, recovers your data, and puts everything back together again.

    SpinRite is the most capable, thorough, and reliable utility
    that has ever been created for the long term maintenance,
    recovery, and repair of mass storage systems.

    SpinRite has had imitators. They've come and they've gone. But no other utility has ever matched SpinRite.

    How does SpinRite operate with RAID arrays?

    There are three possible situations with different consequences for SpinRite:

    A "thin" RAID controller in a striping, RAID-0 configuration:
    SpinRite is able to operate upon drives behind a thin RAID-0 controller configuration without any modification. By a "thin controller" we mean a controller like an add-on Promise controller, or typical RAID controller built into a motherboard. Specifically, one that is not providing its own high-end microprocessor with megs of independent RAID caching RAM memory. Since RAID-0 does not offer the mirroring redundancy of RAID-1, SpinRite's reads and writes are spread out and "striped" between the RAID drives, but there's still a "one for one" relationship between virtual and physical sectors, so SpinRite will be able to operate without requiring the drives to be temporarily removed from the RAID configuration.

    And, in fact, for SpinRite v6.0, which uses the RAID controller BIOS, RAID-0 drives can not be removed from behind the controller since one of the drives will contain a partition table describing a "virtual drive" that's larger than the actual physical drive. SpinRite will see this and refuse to proceed since it always chooses to do nothing unless it's completely certain of what's going on.

    A "thin" RAID-1 mirroring controller or a high-end RAID controller with on-board caching:
    In the case of a RAID-1 mirroring configuration, or where a high-end controller is providing its own isolating cache RAM, SpinRite needs to be able to operate upon the individual drives directly. SpinRite CAN be used upon the individual drives behind a RAID array if they are temporarily physically removed from the array controller and attached to a standard non-RAID controller. Since SpinRite can perform analysis, maintenance, repair and recovery on "raw" unformatted drives, it can do the same for drives formatted in any RAID fashion WITHOUT disturbing the special RAID array formatting.

  4. #4

    Re: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

    Deak: THANK YOU -- I will look at SpinRite as soon as I get into the studio.

    I will also check out RAID Reconstructor

    Jon: Thank you for your post. The reason I made the RAID 0 is partly for convenience... I like the idea of all my samples in one place... but many experts also said streaming RAID 0 for GS3 is superior.

    I'm primarily a mac/protools guy and I have a DDS4 network backup - and also DVD+R - I am quite outspoken re: backup or it's lost -- this is one case where since I have the installer DVDs, it is lessof a concern.

    My big question to you and the forum, for the future - when you speak of "load balancing" - aren't we giving up individual streaming specs? What if I had a SATA controller and a single 300 gig drive, as opposed to (2) IDE drives striped RAID 0 ? What if I had a SATA controller and (2) SATA 300 gig drives striped RAID 0?

    I know you're saying RAID 0 can be a mess (obviously) but if I'm fully backed up, why not?

    Overnight, I did some homework and am seriously looking at the Sonica GigaBOX3 - very nice specs and the price point is just a fraction more than buying the components raw. It seems to have today's technology and should last 18-24 months, I hope. Anyone have opinions on this rig?

    After doing the homework on the RAID restore tools, and reading more than I should have on RAID technology, I am pretty much going to give up on this and simply restore my data from DVDs and CDs. When this stuff goes south, it's a real mess... time to replace it.

    Thanks for your input.

  5. #5

    Re: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...


    i am personally from europe, so i can't comment about the price but it seems relative expensive to me. I would think you could buy the individual components for 1.600-1.800$(edit, after seeing how much the 9652 costs in the USA, wow!) , but perhaps i am wrong. I would ask them about the graphic card though. My personal expierience with Ati PCie Grafic cards has been awful concerning Gigastudio load. It seems to me that Ati graphic drivers want a certain memory range for themselves rendering Gigastudio unable to load more than 56% no matter how many tweaks you use.


  6. #6

    Re: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

    Quote Originally Posted by karin66
    I would think you could buy the individual components for 1.600-1.800$(edit, after seeing how much the 9652 costs in the USA, wow!) , but perhaps i am wrong.
    Well, yes... you can buy the components for about $1800 and the manufacturer needs to make a profit for the labor and expertise...

    I spoke with him, and his delivery time due to the holidays will not meet my needs. I think Sonica is making a good product for a good price...

    SO -- I'm now trying to figure out what to buy... I am going to start a new thread, since it may interest more people than my silly RAID problem.

    PS -- I bought a new 300gig maxtor this morning (on sale for $90) and will attempt to restore the RAID.

  7. #7

    Re: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

    I had MAJOR issues with my raid setup also ....Thankfully all I had on it were samples that I had the DVD's for as backups....I would really NOT depend on the Promise controller for SH __ _ .....If you are going to deal with Raid0 at all, go with the Intel ICH5 controller if it's available to you ...My problems were with the Promise controller also .....It has been discussed on the forum on another thread ....Actually, you might be better off doing what Jon said, and divide your instruements up between your drives , and don't even run Raid0 ...... 11 hours was just the beginning for me !!..... Don't forget to turn off the raid settings in your BIOS .... I went WEEK'S trying to figure this mess out !!...Performance at what cost ?.....Not me , never again ...Good Luck..Jim

  8. #8

    Re: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

    Quote Originally Posted by synthnut
    I went WEEK'S trying to figure this mess out !!...Performance at what cost ?

    As we discussed in the other thread, I replaced all the hardware...

    And how did you know that it was the PROMISE raid controller that took out my other rig?

    And restoring from DVD is not as easy as it sounds... I was fortunate that I kept my giga performances on my Cdrive, which is backed up nightly... but I had excluded the GIG drive - because it was "too big" and I had the master DVDs. What I failed to account for -- .art file updates. Lots of them. SISC and VSL both have extensive mods/revisions with .art files -- this took countless hours to reconcile and update. Even with the auto-art utility. Transferring 280 gigs of data from DVDs took almost 3 days.

    My solution for now is:

    1. in my giga PC: SATA II RAID 0, 2x WD 320 gig SATA II drives. (600 gig raid)
    2. in my server: a dedicated 300 gig IDE drive as online backup for the 1st 300 gigs of the RAID. I'll add another 300 eventually. This is IN ADDITION to the 300 gig frewire drive that I use for retrospect. This is in additon to the DVD+R that I burn nightly with retrospect.

    I always backup my data religiously to DDS4 and hard drives (now DVD+R as well), and always preached, "it's not if your drive will fail, it's when..." - but I had a false sense of security having all the installer DVDs -- the real value of the raid (or the large drive) is that all the data is in one place. The backup must also deal with this. With hard drives getting cheaper every month, there's no reason not to drag along a few terrabytes of storage... 300 gig drive are routinely on sale for under US$100 -- no reason not to have a bunch of them. BUT -- this is not for archival storage -- just temporary backup. I do not trust hard drives to last... that's what tape and DVD+R is for. As long as I have 2 working copies at all time, I'm happy.

    There's a thread on the DUC about long-term data storage, and consensus is that DLT is the thing... a fixed head solution. Even AIT-2 scares the daylioghts out of me (I simply don't trust helical scan tape for archival use)... and is very expensive.

    So there... brute force wins this one. Sometimes all you can do is throw money and time at the problem, and you will beat it.

  9. #9

    Re: Hardware/RAID 0 madness; I am ready to jump...

    Here's your best solution although have had the same sort of problems.
    Hire a real orchestra, It's faster.

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