External RAID "dirty"

Monopoly money comes in many flavors: 7, Vista, XP, 2K, ME, 98, etc.

Moderators: Flying Fox, Ryu Connor

External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:50 am

Hey all,

I accidentally unplugged my external RAID today, and now Windows is reporting the volume is "dirty". It's read-only and I can't do anything with it.

I tried CHKDSK first, which gives me the message "corruption was found while examining the volume bitmap.". It hangs there for at least an hour, and I'm not actually sure if it's still doing anything? I gave up at this point and spent some time on Google, which hasn't offered me any further info aside from using CHKDSK.

Does anyone have any advice? Should I leave check disk running after the "corruption was found" message appears?

Thanks for any info :)

Windows 7 btw.
i7 4930k @ 4.2GHz | Asus P9X79 LE | Gigabyte GTX750Ti | 16GB DDR3 1600 | Corsair RM750 | Samsung Evo 256GB SSD | Corsair H100i | Fractal Design R4 White Case
Storage: 2x Crucial MX100 512GB SSDs - RAID 0 | 2x Western Digital 3TB HDDs - RAID 1
suicidemonkey
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:39 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:20 pm

I think some more information about the array would be helpful - make/model, connection type (esata, usb, firewire, etc), RAID type, etc. Did you accidentally unplug the power or the data connection? If it was power, does the array have any kind of battery backup for the cache (assuming write-cache) was enabled. If it doesn't it could be that there were cached writes that were lost. A quick google brought me here: http://superuser.com/questions/583153/h ... -dirty-bit
i7-3770K | Asus P8Z77-V LK | 8GB DDR3-1600 | HD5850 | 128GB 840 Pro | Samsung F3 1TB | U2412M | Define R4 | Seasonic 520W M12II | Win7 Pro x64.
frumper15
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:25 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:27 pm

As you indicated, this is an array inside an external enclosure, correct? That being the case, the first thing you'd want to do is log in to the external device's management software and let that software check the file system on the array. I've found that as long as the array itself considers itself dirty, it doesn't matter what the OS it eventually "attaches" to thinks.
Pagey
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:29 am
Location: Middle TN

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:42 pm

frumper15 wrote:I think some more information about the array would be helpful - make/model, connection type (esata, usb, firewire, etc), RAID type, etc. Did you accidentally unplug the power or the data connection? If it was power, does the array have any kind of battery backup for the cache (assuming write-cache) was enabled. If it doesn't it could be that there were cached writes that were lost. A quick google brought me here: http://superuser.com/questions/583153/h ... -dirty-bit


It's a Stardom 2-bay USB 3.0 RAID enclosure (SR2-SB3), currently set up as a mirrored RAID. It doesn't have any UI I can log into, but it does have a display that says that each hard drive is "OK".

I knocked out the data connection. And as far as I can see, it doesn't have any kind of battery backup.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out :)
i7 4930k @ 4.2GHz | Asus P9X79 LE | Gigabyte GTX750Ti | 16GB DDR3 1600 | Corsair RM750 | Samsung Evo 256GB SSD | Corsair H100i | Fractal Design R4 White Case
Storage: 2x Crucial MX100 512GB SSDs - RAID 0 | 2x Western Digital 3TB HDDs - RAID 1
suicidemonkey
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:39 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:25 pm

Does this thing have its own RAID processor, or are you using Windows software RAID? It makes a big difference in how you proceed to try and fix this.

Edit: Looks like it has its own internal RAID processor. Unless its internal firmware is buggy (which is a possibility...) this is probably a Windows problem. If all else fails, copy all of the data off, and repartition/reformat it.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37705
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:30 pm

just brew it! wrote:Does this thing have its own RAID processor, or are you using Windows software RAID? It makes a big difference in how you proceed to try and fix this.

From what little I can Google it really wants to be attached to a Mac.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Captain Ned
Global Moderator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 20256
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:33 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Does this thing have its own RAID processor, or are you using Windows software RAID? It makes a big difference in how you proceed to try and fix this.

From what little I can Google it really wants to be attached to a Mac.

Well, the first product listing I found indicates Mac/Windows/Linux...

It also has only one data port, which implies that the RAID processing is all internal to the unit.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37705
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:36 pm

Yep it has a RAID controller built-in.

I can't copy all of the data off easily, there's almost 2TB of it and short of buying a new external drive, I have nowhere to copy it to.

The LCD display on the front of the enclosure indicates the hard drives are "ok", so I think it must be a Windows problem.

I just tried Seatools and it failed the "long generic test" but didn't give me an option to fix it. So I guess I'll try chkdsk again.
i7 4930k @ 4.2GHz | Asus P9X79 LE | Gigabyte GTX750Ti | 16GB DDR3 1600 | Corsair RM750 | Samsung Evo 256GB SSD | Corsair H100i | Fractal Design R4 White Case
Storage: 2x Crucial MX100 512GB SSDs - RAID 0 | 2x Western Digital 3TB HDDs - RAID 1
suicidemonkey
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:39 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:53 pm

suicidemonkey wrote:Yep it has a RAID controller built-in.

I can't copy all of the data off easily, there's almost 2TB of it and short of buying a new external drive, I have nowhere to copy it to.

The LCD display on the front of the enclosure indicates the hard drives are "ok", so I think it must be a Windows problem.

I just tried Seatools and it failed the "long generic test" but didn't give me an option to fix it. So I guess I'll try chkdsk again.

Just because the individual drives are healthy doesn't mean the array is.

I would not trust the results from Seatools if the drive is connected through an outboard RAID controller; the individual drives need to be directly connected to a motherboard controller port.

Like I said, it could be flaky RAID firmware in the enclosure, but my bet is on it being a Windows file system corruption issue. And file system corruption is one of the scenarios where RAID-1 (or -5 or -6) does not help you, since the array dutifully mirrors the corruption. That's why you still need backups, even if you have RAID.

Edit: Another potential concern with external RAID enclosures like yours is, if the enclosure itself dies you need to get another (possibly identical, but at least from the same vendor) enclosure to recover your data. This is why I tend to stick with software RAID...
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37705
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:07 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Edit: Another potential concern with external RAID enclosures like yours is, if the enclosure itself dies you need to get another (possibly identical, but at least from the same vendor) enclosure to recover your data. This is why I tend to stick with software RAID...


I don't think that's the case. I can pull either of the drives out, put them into a USB hard drive caddy and Windows will read them. I guess that's because they're simply mirrored - striping would be a different story.

Anyways, guess I'll have to find an external drive to copy the files to so I can format the RAID.

Thanks for the info.
i7 4930k @ 4.2GHz | Asus P9X79 LE | Gigabyte GTX750Ti | 16GB DDR3 1600 | Corsair RM750 | Samsung Evo 256GB SSD | Corsair H100i | Fractal Design R4 White Case
Storage: 2x Crucial MX100 512GB SSDs - RAID 0 | 2x Western Digital 3TB HDDs - RAID 1
suicidemonkey
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:39 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:43 pm

suicidemonkey wrote:I don't think that's the case. I can pull either of the drives out, put them into a USB hard drive caddy and Windows will read them. I guess that's because they're simply mirrored - striping would be a different story.

That's somewhat unusual; frequently with 3rd party RAID solutions there's some extra meta-data layered underneath the file system, even with mirroring. Consider yourself lucky.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37705
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:52 pm

Would rebuilding the array destroy the data?

If you could chkdsk each drive separately and choose the better copy (or flip a coin), could you then nuke one and rebuild the mirror?
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
Airmantharp
Gerbil Elder
 
Posts: 5005
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:41 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:01 pm

Airmantharp wrote:Would rebuilding the array destroy the data?

If you could chkdsk each drive separately and choose the better copy (or flip a coin), could you then nuke one and rebuild the mirror?

Given that his RAID enclosure seems to be doing sector mirroring at the raw drive level, that may be an option. Depends on the RAID enclosure's firmware. My concern would be accidentally mirroring the "wrong" way, i.e. from the messed up one to the good one (if there is indeed one that is better than the other).

The other concern is that the drives may be equally messed up at this point. He yanked the data cable to the array; the RAID controller in the enclosure probably wrote the same (corrupted) meta-data to both drives.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37705
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:51 pm

I found an old hard drive lying around, so i'm temporarily transferring the data to that so I can just format the RAID. Fingers crossed.
i7 4930k @ 4.2GHz | Asus P9X79 LE | Gigabyte GTX750Ti | 16GB DDR3 1600 | Corsair RM750 | Samsung Evo 256GB SSD | Corsair H100i | Fractal Design R4 White Case
Storage: 2x Crucial MX100 512GB SSDs - RAID 0 | 2x Western Digital 3TB HDDs - RAID 1
suicidemonkey
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:39 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:19 pm

Why is every thread I see about RAID always about problems? I can't say I know a whole lot about RAID but sheesh, enough to make me not want to use it.
i7 3820 @ 4.4, Custom Water Loop | ASRock X79 Extreme4 | 8GB G.Skill 1600mhz
EVGA GTX 670 FTW | BenQ XL2420T 120Hz | Samsung 840 250GB |WD Black 1TB | Win 8 Pro x64
X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro | Sennheiser HD555 | Corsair TX850V2 | Fractal Arc Midi R2
Prestige Worldwide
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:57 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:23 pm

Prestige Worldwide wrote:Why is every thread I see about RAID always about problems? I can't say I know a whole lot about RAID but sheesh, enough to make me not want to use it.


Can't really blame it on RAID, I did yank the cable out when it was running. Doing that would be bad for any setup.

I've been using RAID in various forms for years. This is the first real issue i've had.
i7 4930k @ 4.2GHz | Asus P9X79 LE | Gigabyte GTX750Ti | 16GB DDR3 1600 | Corsair RM750 | Samsung Evo 256GB SSD | Corsair H100i | Fractal Design R4 White Case
Storage: 2x Crucial MX100 512GB SSDs - RAID 0 | 2x Western Digital 3TB HDDs - RAID 1
suicidemonkey
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:39 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:44 pm

suicidemonkey wrote:
Prestige Worldwide wrote:Why is every thread I see about RAID always about problems? I can't say I know a whole lot about RAID but sheesh, enough to make me not want to use it.

Can't really blame it on RAID, I did yank the cable out when it was running. Doing that would be bad for any setup.

I've been using RAID in various forms for years. This is the first real issue i've had.

On the surface, this sounds more like a file system glitch than a RAID issue per se.

RAID protects you against data loss from hard drive failures and improves uptime/availability. Any problems that occur upstream of the RAID array -- whether due to user error, hardware failure (other than the drives themselves), OS/filesystem glitches, malware, etc. -- will affect the RAID array just like they would a single hard drive.

Now, a journaling filesystem like NTFS *should* in theory protect you from filesystem damage in the event of a yanked cable, power loss, etc... and in my experience, it usually does. But it isn't perfect.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37705
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:58 pm

Prestige Worldwide wrote:Why is every thread I see about RAID always about problems?

Well, how often do you think, "My system's running fine; I think I'll post to TR about it"? Same deal here; people are more likely to post to these forums if they're having problems. Lots of people use RAID without any issues; my NAS (12x3TB, RAID 6), for example, is running quite happily, has been for a few months now. (to be fair, there's nothing on there that I can't afford to lose...)

Professionally, the biggest issue that I see (second hand; I don't work in the SAN space, although I wouldn't mind building up my skills there) is hard disks failing, needing to be replaced, and the rebuild taking a while. But that's with enterprise-grade controllers and arrays; your mileage will vary with consumer grade equipment. At home, I'd recommend sticking with software RAID; less risk of unresolvable issues, IMO.
sjl
Gerbil
 
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 5:14 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:11 pm

Yes, I should have also pointed out that:

- We've been using RAID-1, -5, and -6 (both software and hardware based) for the past 6+ years where I work, and have had good results with it. All of our file servers and some of our desktops use RAID in some form.

- I've been using RAID-1 and RAID-5 (all software based) for the past 4+ years at home, and have had good results with it here as well. My file server and two desktop systems run software RAID arrays.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37705
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:04 am

JBI wrote:- We've been using RAID-1, -5, and -6 (both software and hardware based) for the past 6+ years where I work, and have had good results with it. All of our file servers and some of our desktops use RAID in some form.

- I've been using RAID-1 and RAID-5 (all software based) for the past 4+ years at home, and have had good results with it here as well. My file server and two desktop systems run software RAID arrays.


As you said previously, I think the key there is software. Just like you, I don't think consumer-grade hardware RAID is ever a good idea. That does seem to introduce more problems than it's worth.

You mentioned hardware-based RAID at work, but I imagine that's probably better-tier stuff? If so, same deal with my work. It all works great, but it's not even remotely consumer-grade.

I use a lot of software RAID-1 at home, and I haven't had a problem either.
Glorious
Darth Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 7851
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:23 am

Glorious wrote:You mentioned hardware-based RAID at work, but I imagine that's probably better-tier stuff? If so, same deal with my work. It all works great, but it's not even remotely consumer-grade.

Yup. Enterprise-grade controllers & SAS drives, servers with redundant PSUs, UPSes, the works. The non-hardware ones run Linux software RAID.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37705
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:49 am

just brew it! wrote:
Glorious wrote:You mentioned hardware-based RAID at work, but I imagine that's probably better-tier stuff? If so, same deal with my work. It all works great, but it's not even remotely consumer-grade.

Yup. Enterprise-grade controllers & SAS drives, servers with redundant PSUs, UPSes, the works. The non-hardware ones run Linux software RAID.


We use crappy HP DL360/DL380's for our appliance servers, usually with just a pair of drives in a mirror. It's my understanding that these servers aren't terribly expensive and they do provide all of the above-mentioned features; I have to wonder if grabbing one of those isn't the easiest way to solve such problems.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
Airmantharp
Gerbil Elder
 
Posts: 5005
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:41 pm

Re: External RAID "dirty"

Postposted on Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:49 am

So I ended up transferring all the data off the RAID and formatting it. That fixed the problem.

Now this afternoon its done the exact same thing again. I can't access the drive, CHKDSK won't help. This time I didn't unplug a cable or anything.

Now, I've used this drive on my Mac for a year without any issues up until a week ago when I went back to Windows. And seeing as formatting the drive fixes the problem, it must be a Windows issue.

Any other ideas as to what I can do?

Thanks in advance.
i7 4930k @ 4.2GHz | Asus P9X79 LE | Gigabyte GTX750Ti | 16GB DDR3 1600 | Corsair RM750 | Samsung Evo 256GB SSD | Corsair H100i | Fractal Design R4 White Case
Storage: 2x Crucial MX100 512GB SSDs - RAID 0 | 2x Western Digital 3TB HDDs - RAID 1
suicidemonkey
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:39 pm


Return to Windows

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests