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Replacing disk before it fails

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I have a pool with 3 drives in it. I suspect one of them will fail soon - increased number of bad blocks, read errors etc. I have a replacement drive ready but I'm not sure how to set it up. There is an option to swap in a new drive, is that what I'm looking for? Or should I add the new drive and then remove the suspected faulty drive from the pool?

 

How will I know when it is safe to remove the old drive and all data has been copied off it?

 

Thanks. (FYI I'm using WHS2011)

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I think you can either use the swap method (I think it tells you when it's done) or you could just add your new drive to the pool and once it's added you would do a remove on the drive that's failing. I think the swap function really does this under the covers.

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If your pool has enough space available to pick up the slack (before adding a new drive), do a remove drive now while it is still accessible..

 

I'm just worried that adding the new drive now entails you shutting down and powering up the server. That could aggravate the condition of the failing drive, based on experience.

 

Otherwise, follow w3wilkes' advice.

 

 

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OJ88 has a good point on the power cycling of your server possibly aggravating the condition of your failing drive. So yes, if your current pool usage will fit on 2 of your 3 drives you should remove the failing drive first.

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The size of the drive isn't what matters, it's how much space is used on the drive. If the drive is half full, that would be 1 TB. If your remaining 2 drives have a little more than 1 TB free it should fit, but you'll have to do your own evaluation of this.

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I think it matters. The pool has 1.5 TB free, so even if the other drives were full I could only remove 1.5 TB from the pool. 2 TB is too much.

 

But that's not important right now. What is the best way to find out what files are on the bad drive?

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I'm not aware of any type DB function that identifies what file are on which pool drives. I think there is something along these lines in the Feature Request section, but I've not seen anything beyond that.

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What I've previously done is attache the incoming drive via a USB bridge:

1. Attach the incoming drive to the USB device, power up and attach to the server

2. Initialise, partition, and format the drive

3. Switch to Device Manager and find the drive in the Drives branch (should indicate it's connected via USB)

4. Open the drive's properties, click over to the Policies tab; and choose the "Optimise for Performance" radio button, then click OK

5. Windows will detach / re-attach the drive with write caching enabled

6. Swap the drive via the usual DB method

7. Shut down the server and swap the outgoing drive out for the incoming one

 

This keeps the server from being shut down or otherwise affected. The only issue is that USB 2.0 isn't the fastest bus available these days...

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Can I suggest that someone "official" (Engineering, maybe) make an FAQ out of this with a "Best Practices and Options" KB article?

 

It appears I have this to do, and I think I understand how "Remove" and "Swap" might work, but an official recommendation and technical details around the process would be absolutely fantastic and confidence-building in the product.

 

ALSO: Feature Request: Maybe an OPTION when SMART indicates a critical issue with a pool-member-disk, either have DB "avoid" writing anything further to that physical disk, and/or automatically initiate a "Remove" (assuming that the above posts are correct, and Remove copies all files off this disk and then marks the disk offline)?

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