We have a 6-drive RAID-6 on one of our servers. Each drive is a 750GB Seagate, and they are connected with Hardware RAID card 3ware 9650SE. We do not have sparse drives. The system is old and probably is working for 2 years with this setting.

Yesterday after a change in software, I rebooted the system. I got the error that the array is degraded. I got this:

Number of offline units: 0, availabe drives: 0, hot sparse: 0, offline units: 

Unusable arrays:

    6 Drives 64K RAID 6 2.72TB (arr1) DEGRADED
       SATA-ST3750330AS     698.63GB (Phy 11)
       SATA-ST3750330AS     698.63GB (Phy 1)

    Incomplete devices and others:
       SATA-                          Phy 0
       SATA-                          Phy 8
       SATA-                          Phy 9
       SATA-                          Phy 10

Naturally I should be able to bypass this and recover the data. However, I could not. After the above description of the drives I got the error:

3ware BIOS is not installed

And it gets to another error that OS is not found.

I edited 3ware BIOS to bypass degraded drives error, but still getting the same error that 3ware BIOS is not installed.

How can I recover my data? If I do a rebuild is there a chance that I can get the data?

Also, what is this strange behaviour I got from RAID card?

Update: When I enter 3ware BIOS it gives me a notice that I have degraded array, and I have three options. One, rebuild if doesn't work remove not in use drive and rebuild. Second, check connections and insert new drive and rebuild. Third, do nothing and bypass.

I think that these are not specific to my problem, and it is a general approach.

  • First of all, that is not "2 drives degraded", but "One array degraded". Secondly, is that a 6 drive array with 2 failed drives or a 6 drive array with 4 failed drives? (In which case real failure is unlikely. Check power connections. Check cables. Check with a spare 9650SE or a compatible card. Thirdly 3ware BIOS is not installed.. why would it install a BIOS if it has 0 usuable drives/arrays? lastly: Does the card with other drives? (IIRC those cards store array configuration on the disks, so you may be able to move disks to another controller or test other disks on this controller. – Hennes Jul 21 '15 at 17:59
  • Disclaimer for the last: Do phone the manufacturer if unsure. I did when my own similar card failed and support was both quick and extremely helpfull. – Hennes Jul 21 '15 at 18:00
  • @Hennes So you mean the error 3ware BIOS is not installed is because there is 0 unusable drive? Shouldn't already there be one array that 3ware was using before? – Ramyad Jul 21 '15 at 18:19
  • @Hennes I checked all the cables as well. About your second point: actually now I think we have 4 failed drives. I am not expret at these. But, as you pointed out, RAID card cannot identify 4 other drives – Ramyad Jul 21 '15 at 18:22
  • Yes. Many cards to not install their hooks into the BIOS when they have nothing to offer. Both HW RAID cards and things like extra onboard SATA controllers. I never ran that particular card with no drives though, but it seems a sane guess. – Hennes Jul 21 '15 at 19:16

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