• joseph flores

6 Reasons Your RAID May Have Stopped Working

The Most Common Reasons for RAID Failure

Have you experienced RAID failure but are not sure what caused it? Check out this article that outlines the most common reasons for RAID failure.

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is a storage method which is often chosen with the intent of safeguarding against disk failure. But RAID failure can and does happen.

A RAID 1 configuration is one of the simplest options. This is where you have multiple hard disk drives, which each mirror the data on each other. When you save working data, that data is written to each of the drives.

The idea is that if one hard drive fails, it doesn't matter so much (this is what the 'redundant' part of the acronym relates to). There are still other copies the data on the other disks.

You may be interested to know, however, that there are other types of RAID systems built on the same multi-drive array configuration. They don't all fulfill the same purpose.

For example, RAID 0 puts two or more hard drives 'together' so that they act as one storage unit. There's no enhanced protection against individual disk failure here.

Unfortunately, even the most well-maintained system can experience RAID failure. Here are the 6 most common reasons your RAID is failing.

1. Multiple Disk Failure

Sure, RAID is more reliable than basic external hard drives which are used to backup data by some individuals. It's definitely a more sound choice for a large database than this approach.

That's not to say you can live without a backup - best practice demands that RAID is backed up too!

Within RAID, the chance of two or more disks simultaneously failing due to wear and tear is remote.

However, if one disk goes down, you need to act fast. Continuing to run your RAID system while one disk is out of the running is risky. Doing so can enhance the chances of multiple disk failure.

It's always vital that you fix or replace dead drives as soon as possible. Especially if you have a small array of disks in your RAID, as there are fewer redundant drives to rely on.

2. Physical Damage

This should be easy to diagnose - so long as someone witnesses it happening. Or if the damage is very obvious. Visual inspections of any important hardware should be undertaken regularly, just in case.

If something has fallen down onto your RAID (let's say a ceiling tile), it's time to start checking it out.

Or if someone has fallen into the array by accident, be sure to thoroughly check for issues. This is one of the reasons it's so important to keep hardware bays tidy. Tie all cables away, and make sure there's nothing blocking the floor.

You don't want your colleagues to get injured as much as you don't want to lose data.

3. Controller Failure

RAID is generally directed by a single RAID controller. This means that within your network, the RAID appears to be a single device. For all intents and purposes beyond data backup, it should be considered to be one.

As with all electrical equipment, RAID technology can be prone to power surges from the grid. This can cause controller failure - but it's just one example of an underlying cause. There are others too.

If the controller fails, the RAID will be inaccessible too.

If you want to replace the controller, you'll need to get hold of the same exact model for its replacement. If more than a few years have passed since you built the system in the first place, you may find this very difficult.

In these cases, it is often a better option to bring in specialist data recovery technicians to ensure the safe retrieval of data from your RAID. You can then work on rebuilding the system from scratch.

4. A Rogue Server Caused RAID Failure

No business ever wants to be dealing with server failure. It's a real headache.

If the server hosting your RAID goes down, you can't just restart and hope for the best.

A server outage can be caused by many problems and can be the root of other problems too. It depends on how your network is mapped out, and what you were relying on that server for.

You need to have a strategy mapped out for this type of worst-case scenario. The first step should always be to keep a backup of all your data on a system which isn't networked with your server.

5. Your Rebuild Didn't Work

When rebuilding a system after RAID failure, you need to pay close attention to what's going on. Working without distraction - and planning out a clear course of action from the start - is crucial.

As you build the system back up to where it was, any discrepancies can cause corruption. Which in turn can lead to permanent loss of data.

Mistakes and delays can also cause you to be locked out of the entire system. Not great. You need to be sure of every step or use a specialist technician when rebuilding your RAID.

6. Partitioning Becomes Corrupt

Here's a headache. You spend ages carefully partitioning your drives to create extra redundancy functionality, or to keep things running smoothly.

Then, the RAID striping fails and your partitions just disappear.

The system doesn't even recognize them, as they've become too corrupt. This can lead to complete RAID failure, as it's possible that more partitions will become corrupt from the striping error.

Don't fiddle with the data yourself, as this can cause further problems. The moment you notice the symptoms of corruption, call in a technician for assistance.

Expert Data Recovery Services

If you need help recovering data from a RAID system, Network Attached Storage (NAS) or even an individual hard drive holding crucial data, we can help.

We'll spell out our process in a clear way for you, and advise on the best course of action that is most likely to restore your precious data.

Whether it's business-critical or treasured personal files, we'll do our utmost to recover and restore your data. Get in touch today to arrange an evaluation.