I was contacted by a client about this system that they're having trouble with.
As the system boots, I can hit ALT + 3 to enter the 3ware bios and it shows the drives are available in an exportable unit.
Once the system boots up into CentOS, it does not see the 3ware controller on /dev/sdb where it had formerly appeared.
lspci shows a 3ware controller of unknown type.
'fdisk -l' does not show anything on /dev/sdb

No one has done anything with the hardware or software of this system, it's just been sitting running for 5 or 6 years in the customer's office until one day they could no longer access their content on the raid.

From the symptoms I gather the drivers got lost or corrupt or maybe the controller has gone bad in some minor way?

I wonder how I can troubleshoot or what is the best way forward to get their data back?
Should I move the raid to a new system or is there a way to get the 3ware drivers back into the kernel, or has something else gone wrong?

  • 2
    With a system that old, I'd just replace the hardware and restore from a backup. It's very unlikely that troubleshooting or repairing hardware that's that old is going to be cost effective. – David Schwartz Nov 4 '14 at 3:09
  • right, I hadn't heard from the client in years until just last month when they had Email trouble and I had to go to their office to configure some Outlooks, I saw this server (that my former coworker installed 6+ years ago) and asked if they had backups, they looked confused so I told them to get the root password so I could back it up for them. next i heard from them was a month later that the system is down, now they have the root pw. so yeah no backups as far as i know. haha. – user16081-JoeT Nov 4 '14 at 3:44
  • If the data wasn't worth the minimal effort of backing up, it's surely not worth the major effort of recovery. – David Schwartz Nov 4 '14 at 6:25
  • I told them we should really back it up, sent an email to remind them the next day, maybe they thought I was just trying to get more business for myself. I know the data has some value to them but whether it's worth the cost to try to recover remains to be seen. – user16081-JoeT Nov 4 '14 at 14:32

Try reseating the controller, but I think the problem must be one of the following has gone bad
1) the software / drivers / OS
2) server board
3) raid controller card

To test these do the following
1) Boot with a live CD or installation CD to see if the raid is detected. If it is, repair or reinstall the OS.
2) move the controller and disks into a different known good motherboard
2b) maybe try another PCI slot in the same system first?
3) replace the controller with one of the same type

As David said in the comments, this will be time consuming. It's not guaranteed to recover the data, and a good backup would have been a much more cost-effective solution.

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