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Failing Smart Array 5i Controller?

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Alex Eldridge
Occasional Contributor

Failing Smart Array 5i Controller?

This past July, I upgraded from 36GB to 72GB Ultra 320 SCSI hard drives in an HP Proliant DL 380 G2. There are 6 physical drives configured as RAID5, with 1 logical drive. The upgrade went smoothly. About 1 month later, I noticed a red light on one of the drives and the ACU software displayed that this drive had failed. I rebooted the server and the drive was re-recognized and rebuilt into the array. About 1 month later the ACU showed a different drive as "failed" (the original problem drive was working fine). As a creature of habit, I again, rebooted the server and, again, the controller re-recognized the drive and began rebuilding it into the array. However, during this rebuild, the server completely crashed which forced me to manually reboot. The server came back up and after recognizing the controller it displayed a message to either press "F1" (which would not allow the server to boot to the Logical drive) or press "F2 to accept data loss and boot into the logical drive", which I eventually did. The server is now up (with all drives recognized and working - all drives are showing 73.4GB except one which displays 72.8GB). I'm worried that this will happen again so I contacted my reseller who said the Smart Array 5i is no longer made, so they shipped me a Smart Array 641/642 controller. I've never had to replace a controller like this so I wanted to 1. double check to see if this problem sounds like it is truly a bad controller or if I it's worth it to simply upgrade the firmware first. Also if there is documentation that explains how to upgrade the firmware and/or array controller? Because of this crash I spent a lot of time restoring backups, which I don't want to do again, so I want to make sure my diagnosis / remedy is done properly to mitigate the potential for further data corruption / loss. Thanks in advance for your help!
3 REPLIES
Rob Leadbeater
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: Failing Smart Array 5i Controller?

Hi Alex,

Firstly, rebooting the server when you've got a failed drive, is likely to cause problems, as you've discovered.

You'd have been better simply pulling and reinserting the drive, with the Operating System running.

From what you've said, it is possible that the onboard SmartArray 5i controller is faulty, however there are other things that could also have an impact.

1. Firmware on the drives.
2. Firmware on the SmartArray controller.
3. Faulty SCSI backplane.
4. Faulty drives - if all 6 drives were bought at the same time, it's possible that they were from the same batch. In which case its not uncommon for multiple drives to fail in a short time period.

I'd agree that you'd be best to upgrade the firmware first, before swapping the controller. You can download the latest firmware CD from here:

http://h18023.www1.hp.com/support/files/server/us/download/24777.html

Simply boot off this CD and follow the prompts to update the firmware.

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Rob
Alex Eldridge
Occasional Contributor

Re: Failing Smart Array 5i Controller?

Thanks for the info! Can you recommend a way that I would be able to pinpoint one of these factors as a "more likely" culprit than the others?
Rob Leadbeater
Honored Contributor

Re: Failing Smart Array 5i Controller?

It's difficult to say...

The output from the ADU (Array Diagnostic Utility) may help though.

This should detail what the previous faults have been caused by.

Cheers,

Rob

P.S. Don't forget to assign points
http://forums1.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/helptips.do?#28