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I have a production server (Dell T110 Windows 2008 R2) that was up and running just fine. It has 4 drives 2 256GB drives a spare, and the OS, a 512 that is setup for MSSQL2008R2 Server Data drive just responsible for holding the the MDF files, and an old style TB disk drive for archiving data to.

This server has been in production for a few months and has not had any issues. Suddenly the OS quits finding the data drive. This was very intermittent starting Friday night and by Saturday afternoon it was dead. I know SSD's have a shorter life expectancy and configured settings to preserve the SSD's as long as possible, but the way this drive failed was more like windows issue than a hard drive issue.

The first sign was windows explore/disk manager couldn't find the drive, yet for a little while we were able to run queries and still use the device in MSSQL.

I also have no entry in Disk Management for it. If the hard drive had simply failed I think it would show up as a bad or unusable drive. Is this a sign of a IO controller failure?

Has anyone seen anything like this before? Is there any way to get windows to try and see the drive again besides the re-scan drives? My servers are out of town so I don't have any physical access until I make a trip to the co-location.

Any help would be appreciated.

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If you don't even have the drive show up in Disk Management, re-scanning disks would be the logical first step. Do you have Server Administrator installed? If so, what does it say about the disks? Do you see errors or warnings related to the disk subsystem in the eventlog? – Ansgar Wiechers Sep 10 '12 at 17:30
I can't get anything to even realize there is a drive plugged in. The event log was a good call, as it is showing controller errors. I should mention I am somewhat new to to this Sys Admin thing but as the most qualified here I get the job. – Benjamin Sep 10 '12 at 17:49
And your backups are where? – Simon Catlin Sep 10 '12 at 20:56
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Get the service tag of the server and download Server Administrator and DSET from the Dell homepage. Install Server Administrator. If you happen to have a controller failure, it should be able to provide you with some more details.

Do you have a support contract with Dell? If so, contact their hotline and open a case. They'll probably ask you to create a system report with the DSET utility, so make sure you have the tool ready.

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