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lyonadmiral
September 6th, 2012, 12:02 PM
Does anyone know how to run cards on a RAID Controller itself? I've got a Dell CERC 1.5, and its throwing kernel errors and drive errors and what have you, I've updated the firmware, I've downgraded the firmware, I'd just like to find out if there is a way to tell is it the controller or the drives? I don't have a SATA dock so I can't tell otherwise.

Thanks,
Daniel

Shadow Lord
September 6th, 2012, 02:36 PM
Does anyone know how to run cards on a RAID Controller itself? I've got a Dell CERC 1.5, and its throwing kernel errors and drive errors and what have you, I've updated the firmware, I've downgraded the firmware, I'd just like to find out if there is a way to tell is it the controller or the drives? I don't have a SATA dock so I can't tell otherwise.

Thanks,
Daniel

Are you trying to test the CARD itself or are you trying to test the DRIVES through the card w/o breaking the RAID? If its the latter you can use smartmontools (http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/smartmontools/wiki). If it is the former your only bet would be to call the manufacturer. However, I doubt they have much in terms of testing tools. Is this a cached controller? In that case make sure to check out the RAM if you can. Also if it has battery backup that could be causing problems as well. I've seen the backup battery on the Areca cards cause all sorts of head aches!

lyonadmiral
September 6th, 2012, 06:27 PM
I'm trying to test the card itself, of course it was one of those deals where it is a Dell branded card manufactured by Adaptec, and Dell doesn't have anything on the website in terms of diagnostics for the card, and Dell's own diagnostics don't test most PCI devices including said RAID adapter.

The card from what I can tell, is a 6 connector SATA, card that has 64 megs of onboard RAM, with no battery backup.

The problem is when you boot up, the card kernel might start, detect all connected drives, install its BIOS and boot, or it might not. If it doesn't, the error message I get might be different or the cursor will just sit there blinking until I restart the server again. The error messages I have seen are either; Kernel Unable to Start, Kernel Unable to Start BIOS, etc. Now I've run thorough diagnostics on the systems memory, because in my experience when systems start acting up, its one of two things, either faulty hard disk, or faulty RAM, I've rarely (and I mean rarely) seen a failure of another type (such as retainer for a chipset heatink break and the motherboard thermally destructed).

Hopefully if it is the card, it's something that can be fixed because six channel RAID cards of this type are not cheap.

patscc
September 6th, 2012, 06:44 PM
Isn't there something in the CERC configuration utility ?
patscc

Shadow Lord
September 6th, 2012, 07:15 PM
It could be the memory on the card itself. Is it removable? Can you start it up without that memory? Unfortunately RAID cards are just like very simple computers and anything that can go wrong with computers will go wrong with them as well. My latest RAID card an Areca 1882ix-24 just decided to stop loading its kernel two weeks ago. This was a three week old card. I rebooted the server for an unrelated SW reconfig and the RAID card failed to load and run the FW. No idea why, but it did. Frankly, about the only thing fixable on these cards now a days is the memory. If you can test it outside of the card you can rule it in or out as the cause. But if you rule it out or you can't test it your only option is to buy a new card. I know, sucks. How critical is the server?

patscc
September 6th, 2012, 07:39 PM
What's the Dell P/N of the controller ?
patscc

lyonadmiral
September 6th, 2012, 07:52 PM
@Shadow
I haven't taken the card out of the system yet, but there doesn't look to be removable memory on it. I did downgrade the firmware, reinitialized the drives, created 6 separate containers; 1 for each drive and now have SpinRite going to down on the drives as best it can.

The server is not critical, it was a hand me down I was using as a Windows Home Server. If the card truly is dead, I'll part out the server and sell the components here in the Off-Topic Marketplace.

@patscc
The Dell part number is WC192 according to the configuration as ordered page.

patscc
September 7th, 2012, 06:40 AM
It appears to be an Adaptec AAR-2610SA card, which I think is Dell's 21610 for anyone interested.
Memory is soldered onto the board.

patscc

patscc
September 7th, 2012, 06:53 AM
According to the manual, if you initialize the disk, you write a new RAID signature to the disk. Presumably this overwrites the old one, which means it won't recognize your volume.
In the manual, there's some stuff listed that might be helpful as far as utilities is concerned, take a look, hope it helps (if you haven't already seen it).
http://www.adaptec.com/en-us/support/raid/sata/aar-21610sa/_docs/sata_scsi_raid_iug_pdf.htm?nc=/en-us/support/raid/sata/aar-21610sa/_docs/sata_scsi_raid_iug_pdf.htm
patscc

lyonadmiral
September 7th, 2012, 08:20 AM
@patscc
Thanks for the link, the card is slightly different, when SpinRite finishes on its current drive, I'll bite the bullet and pull the card out.

barythrin
September 7th, 2012, 09:50 AM
Doesn't the card have it's own BIOS that appears when booting? All the Dells I've used you would configure the RAID, test disks, detect disks, etc using the raid controller itself. We only used the OS if we were doing software raid but that was only on some converted "workstations" when we didn't have the proper hardware.

patscc
September 7th, 2012, 10:12 AM
It does, accessible via Ctrl-A like most Adaptec stuff.
patscc

lyonadmiral
September 7th, 2012, 12:06 PM
@barythrin
It could be either the card or the disks, but the way the card is giving me error messages, it is more suspect than the drives. I've got SpinRite running right now on a single drive volume. I'm not going to mess with it much longer, if it is the card, I'll toss it, and post the rest of the good parts (there are alot) in the Off-Topic Marketplace.

barythrin
September 7th, 2012, 12:16 PM
I would think if it was the card you would end up with errors during it's own test/initialization routing. Have you tried any other operating system by chance?

lyonadmiral
September 7th, 2012, 01:11 PM
I do get errors during its own test and initialization. Sometimes the kernel won't load and say BIOS cannot be installed, and sometimes it doesn't.

lyonadmiral
September 10th, 2012, 10:18 AM
Update:
SpinRite has been running for the past four days, and it has yet to encounter an error. What I did is I created 6 individual containers, each container its own drive. SpinRite is operating at Level 1 juts go faster, the first drive (0) took just about a day to scan through, but the second (1) drive took about 50 hours to scan through and it appears it is going to take that long on the third (2) and subsequent drives.