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If my server goes down, how can i access the data on the SAS drives?

I don't have another server to plug them into, and even then connecting the drive to a different controller (while keeping the data) is not a certain thing.

Yes, we have a full backup solution with snapshots, offsite replicas etc., still the backup could be up to 15 minutes behind and in some cases i would need the backup server (which could be down) running to access the data from the backup sets anyway.

Being able to restore from the production drives, or at least access the data on them for recently changed files etc. would be a major advantage, if i could only get to the data.

Other then buying a raid controller and plugging it into a workstation (in which case i still may not be able to connect the drive while leaving the data intact as this is a raid controller, not a simple HBA), what are my options?

Does something like a simple (non raid) PCIe HBA card that just lets you plug in an SAS drive exist? or better yet some sort of external enclosure? I can't find either on google.

Thanks

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2 Answers 2

You assume that your server being down is not due to the SAS drives (highest probability of failure). I have found the simply moving a drive from one system to another is not necessarily successful for a variety of reasons. In fact, one of the drives might be corrupt itself causing the server to die.

You already have backups in place, so you seem to be covered there. The max of 15 minutes back on your backups seems very aggressive to me. If this is true, I'm surprised that you are worrying so. This MAX 15 minutes of data loss seems quite low in comparison to the rest of the sites I have been familiar with over my experience base.

Perhaps the question you really want to ask is that aside from using backups, what alternatives are there towards speeding up a recovery of data in the event of failure. Also, perhaps you should elaborate on why you need something better than 15 minutes data loss. Desireability, I understand, but be aware of the fact that as you strive to the up-to-the-minute recovery, the larger the costs become.

Also, you are much more familiar with your site and its requirements than any of us on the internet....thus the information you are likely to obtain may not be applicable to your situation. I.E. outside users will likely be unable to design something like this that meets you needs through a question like this.

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thanks. i guess since you did not mention an HBA or enclosure, you haven't seen any. it just irks me that the best and fastest to restore data set is sitting right there (on the production drive which is a raid1 in answer to your drive failure point) but i can't get to it... i could live with my backup data. thanks for the spelling correction. –  Make it useful Keep it simple Dec 26 '12 at 7:19

I don't have another server to plug them into, and even then connecting the drive to a different controller (while keeping the data) is not a certain thing.

Other then buying a RAID controller and plugging it into a workstation (in which case I still may not be able to connect the drive while leaving the data intact as this is a RAID controller, not a simple HBA), what are my options?

In most cases you can just get an identical or similar RAID card, plug in the drives and access the data. This will just work, and this is something you can test. And if you are concerned about 15 minute delays then make sure you have such a card as a spare.

Does something like a simple (non raid) PCIe HBA card that just lets you plug in an SAS drive exist? or better yet some sort of external enclosure? I can't find either on google.

Yes, ofcourse that exist. They are often the same pysical cards as SAS RAID cards, but with a different firmware.


Did you consider keeping a copy of all the data on the network. Sort of a RAID 1 (mirror) where one part of the RAID is a local drive(s) and one part is on the network?

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You can't do a RAID set where some of the drives are network-mounted. Sounds like you're thinking about a distributed filesystem like Isilon or Gluster. In which case : easy or cheap, pick one. –  mfinni Dec 26 '12 at 12:22
    
Aye. Isilon or Gluster. Or windows DFS (if you can get the replication time set to instantenious...not sure if that is possible). Regardless of the implementation: Somewhere off the main server and in an instantly accessibly format. –  Hennes Dec 26 '12 at 12:32
    
No, DFS would not be suitable for what he thinks his needs are. –  mfinni Dec 26 '12 at 13:55

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