Prelude

I had the following devices in my /dev/md0 RAID 6: /dev/sd[abcdef]

The following drives were also present, unrelated to the RAID: /dev/sd[gh]

The following drives were part of a card reader that was connected, again, unrelated: /dev/sd[ijkl]

Analysis

sdf's SATA cable went bad (you could say it was unplugged while in use), and sdf was subsequently rejected from the /dev/md0 array. I replaced the cable and the drive was back, now at /dev/sdm. Please do not challenge my diagnosis, there is no problem with the drive.

mdadm --detail /dev/md0 showed sdf(F), i.e., that sdf was faulty. So I used mdadm --manage /dev/md0 --remove faulty to remove the faulty drives.

Now mdadm --detail /dev/md0 showed "removed" in the space where sdf used to be.

root@galaxy:~# mdadm --detail /dev/md0
/dev/md0:
        Version : 1.2
  Creation Time : Wed Jul 30 13:17:25 2014
     Raid Level : raid6
     Array Size : 15627548672 (14903.59 GiB 16002.61 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 3906887168 (3725.90 GiB 4000.65 GB)
   Raid Devices : 6
  Total Devices : 5
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

  Intent Bitmap : Internal

    Update Time : Tue Mar 17 21:16:14 2015
          State : active, degraded
 Active Devices : 5
Working Devices : 5
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 0

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 512K

           Name : eclipse:0
           UUID : cc7dac66:f6ac1117:ca755769:0e59d5c5
         Events : 67205

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8        0        0      active sync   /dev/sda
       1       8       32        1      active sync   /dev/sdc
       4       0        0        4      removed
       3       8       48        3      active sync   /dev/sdd
       4       8       64        4      active sync   /dev/sde
       5       8       16        5      active sync   /dev/sdb

For some reason the RaidDevice of the "removed" device now matches one that is active. Anyway, let's try add the previous device (now known as /dev/sdm) because that was the original intent:

root@galaxy:~# mdadm --add /dev/md0 /dev/sdm
mdadm: added /dev/sdm
root@galaxy:~# mdadm --detail /dev/md0
/dev/md0:
        Version : 1.2
  Creation Time : Wed Jul 30 13:17:25 2014
     Raid Level : raid6
     Array Size : 15627548672 (14903.59 GiB 16002.61 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 3906887168 (3725.90 GiB 4000.65 GB)
   Raid Devices : 6
  Total Devices : 6
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

  Intent Bitmap : Internal

    Update Time : Tue Mar 17 21:19:30 2015
          State : active, degraded
 Active Devices : 5
Working Devices : 6
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 1

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 512K

           Name : eclipse:0
           UUID : cc7dac66:f6ac1117:ca755769:0e59d5c5
         Events : 67623

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8        0        0      active sync   /dev/sda
       1       8       32        1      active sync   /dev/sdc
       4       0        0        4      removed
       3       8       48        3      active sync   /dev/sdd
       4       8       64        4      active sync   /dev/sde
       5       8       16        5      active sync   /dev/sdb

       6       8      192        -      spare   /dev/sdm

As you can see, the device shows up as a spare and refuses to sync with the rest of the array:

root@galaxy:~# cat /proc/mdstat
Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4]
md0 : active raid6 sdm[6](S) sdb[5] sda[0] sde[4] sdd[3] sdc[1]
      15627548672 blocks super 1.2 level 6, 512k chunk, algorithm 2 [6/5] [UU_UUU]
      bitmap: 17/30 pages [68KB], 65536KB chunk

unused devices: 

I have also tried using mdadm --zero-superblock /dev/sdm before adding, with the same result.

The reason I am using RAID 6 is to provide high availability. I will not accept stopping /dev/md0 and re-assembling it with --assume-clean or similar as workarounds to resolve this. This needs to be resolved online, otherwise I don't see the point of using mdadm.

migrated from superuser.com Mar 19 '15 at 8:52

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

up vote 6 down vote accepted

After hours of Googling and some extremely wise help from JyZyXEL in the #linux-raid Freenode channel, we have a solution! There was not a single interruption to the RAID array during this process - exactly what I needed and expected from mdadm.

For some (currently unknown) reason, the RAID state became frozen. The winning command to figure this out is cat /sys/block/md0/md/sync_action:

root@galaxy:~# cat /sys/block/md0/md/sync_action
frozen

Simply put, that is why it was not using the available spares. All my hair is gone at the cost of a simple cat command!

So, just unfreeze the array:

root@galaxy:~# echo idle > /sys/block/md0/md/sync_action

And you're away!

root@galaxy:~# cat /sys/block/md0/md/sync_action
recover
root@galaxy:~# cat /proc/mdstat
Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4]
md0 : active raid6 sdm[6] sdb[5] sda[0] sde[4] sdd[3] sdc[1]
      15627548672 blocks super 1.2 level 6, 512k chunk, algorithm 2 [6/5] [UU_UUU]
      [>....................]  recovery =  0.0% (129664/3906887168) finish=4016.8min speed=16208K/sec
      bitmap: 17/30 pages [68KB], 65536KB chunk

unused devices: 
root@galaxy:~# mdadm --detail /dev/md0
/dev/md0:
        Version : 1.2
  Creation Time : Wed Jul 30 13:17:25 2014
     Raid Level : raid6
     Array Size : 15627548672 (14903.59 GiB 16002.61 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 3906887168 (3725.90 GiB 4000.65 GB)
   Raid Devices : 6
  Total Devices : 6
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

  Intent Bitmap : Internal

    Update Time : Tue Mar 17 22:05:30 2015
          State : active, degraded, recovering
 Active Devices : 5
Working Devices : 6
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 1

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 512K

 Rebuild Status : 0% complete

           Name : eclipse:0
           UUID : cc7dac66:f6ac1117:ca755769:0e59d5c5
         Events : 73562

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8        0        0      active sync   /dev/sda
       1       8       32        1      active sync   /dev/sdc
       6       8      192        2      spare rebuilding   /dev/sdm
       3       8       48        3      active sync   /dev/sdd
       4       8       64        4      active sync   /dev/sde
       5       8       16        5      active sync   /dev/sdb

Bliss :-)

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