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A little bit of background first. I store a bunch of data on a Thecus N4200Pro NAS array. I had gotten a report that one of the 4 drives in the array was showing smart errors so I swapped out the offending drive (#4) and it got to work rebuilding. About 60% into the rebuild one of the other drives in the array drops out, #1 in this case. Great.. I shut down and try swapping back in the original #4 to see if it will come back up. No dice. So I shut down and swap #1 & #2 to see if it can recover with the bad drive swapped around and replce the #4 with the half rebuilt #4. In hindsight this was bad. I should have shut down after the first one and cloned all the original discs from there. The device boots back up and of course the raid fails to assemble, showing only disc 3 and 4, 4 being marked as a spare. At this point I shut everything down and pull all the discs and clone them, making sure to keep track of the number order. I put all 4 cloned discs into my unbutu 16.04 LTS box in the correct drive order and booted up. All 4 discs show up, and show the partitions in Disks. It shows a raid5 array and a raid1 array as well. The raid1 array is the system info for the NAS, not really concerned with that. The raid5 array is the one i'm interested in with all my data on it, but I cant access anything on it. So time to start digging.

First i ran cat /proc/mdstat to see the arrays-

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ cat /proc/mdstat
Personalities : [raid1] [linear] [multipath] [raid0] [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] 
[raid10] 
md0 : active raid1 sdd1[3]
  1959884 blocks super 1.0 [4/1] [___U]

md1 : inactive sdd2[3](S) sdc2[2](S) sdb2[1](S) sda2[0](S)
  3899202560 blocks

unused devices: <none>

Ok, sees two arrays. So we get the details on md1 from: mdadm --detail /dev/md1

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --detail /dev/md1
/dev/md1:
    Version : 0.90
 Raid Level : raid0
Total Devices : 4
Preferred Minor : 0
Persistence : Superblock is persistent


      State : inactive


       UUID : e7ab07c3:b9ffa9ae:377e3cd3:a8ece374
     Events : 0.14344


Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice


   -       8       50        -        /dev/sdd2
   -       8       34        -        /dev/sdc2
   -       8       18        -        /dev/sdb2
   -       8        2        -        /dev/sda2[/CODE]

Hrmm.. that's odd. showing the raid as raid0, which is not the case. Ok, lets check out each individual partition with: mdadm --examine /dev/sdXX

Disc 1

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --examine /dev/sda2/
dev/sda2:
      Magic : a92b4efc
    Version : 0.90.00
       UUID : e7ab07c3:b9ffa9ae:377e3cd3:a8ece374
 Creation Time : Thu Aug 18 14:30:36 2011
 Raid Level : raid5
 Used Dev Size : 974800000 (929.64 GiB 998.20 GB)
 Array Size : 2924400000 (2788.93 GiB 2994.59 GB)
 Raid Devices : 4
 Total Devices : 4
 Preferred Minor : 1


Update Time : Tue Mar 13 14:00:33 2018
      State : clean
Active Devices : 3
Working Devices : 4
Failed Devices : 1
Spare Devices : 1
   Checksum : e52c5f8 - correct
     Events : 20364


     Layout : left-symmetric
 Chunk Size : 64K


  Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
this     0       8        2        0      active sync   /dev/sda2


0     0       8        2        0      active sync   /dev/sda2
1     1       8       18        1      active sync   /dev/sdb2
2     2       8       34        2      active sync   /dev/sdc2
3     3       0        0        3      faulty removed
4     4       8       50        4      spare   /dev/sdd2

Disc 2

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --examine /dev/sdb2/
dev/sdb2:
      Magic : a92b4efc
    Version : 0.90.00
       UUID : e7ab07c3:b9ffa9ae:377e3cd3:a8ece374
Creation Time : Thu Aug 18 14:30:36 2011
 Raid Level : raid5
Used Dev Size : 974800000 (929.64 GiB 998.20 GB)
 Array Size : 2924400000 (2788.93 GiB 2994.59 GB)
Raid Devices : 4
Total Devices : 4
Preferred Minor : 1


Update Time : Tue Mar 13 14:56:30 2018
      State : clean
Active Devices : 2
Working Devices : 3
Failed Devices : 1
Spare Devices : 1
   Checksum : e597e42 - correct
     Events : 238868


     Layout : left-symmetric
 Chunk Size : 64K


  Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
this     1       8       18        1      active sync   /dev/sdb2


 0     0       0        0        0      removed
 1     1       8       18        1      active sync   /dev/sdb2
 2     2       8       34        2      active sync   /dev/sdc2
 3     3       0        0        3      faulty removed
 4     4       8       50        4      spare   /dev/sdd2

Disc 3

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --examine /dev/sdc2/
dev/sdc2:
      Magic : a92b4efc
    Version : 0.90.00
       UUID : e7ab07c3:b9ffa9ae:377e3cd3:a8ece374
Creation Time : Thu Aug 18 14:30:36 2011
 Raid Level : raid5
Used Dev Size : 974800000 (929.64 GiB 998.20 GB)
 Array Size : 2924400000 (2788.93 GiB 2994.59 GB)
Raid Devices : 4
Total Devices : 3
Preferred Minor : 1


Update Time : Tue Mar 13 15:10:07 2018
      State : clean
Active Devices : 1
Working Devices : 2
Failed Devices : 2
Spare Devices : 1
   Checksum : e598570 - correct
     Events : 239374


     Layout : left-symmetric
 Chunk Size : 64K


  Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
this     2       8       34        2      active sync   /dev/sdc2


0     0       0        0        0      removed
1     1       0        0        1      faulty removed
2     2       8       34        2      active sync   /dev/sdc2
3     3       0        0        3      faulty removed
4     4       8       50        4      spare   /dev/sdd2

and Disc 4

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --examine /dev/sdd2/
dev/sdd2:
      Magic : a92b4efc
    Version : 0.90.00
       UUID : e7ab07c3:b9ffa9ae:377e3cd3:a8ece374
Creation Time : Thu Aug 18 14:30:36 2011
 Raid Level : raid5
Used Dev Size : 974800000 (929.64 GiB 998.20 GB)
 Array Size : 2924400000 (2788.93 GiB 2994.59 GB)
Raid Devices : 4
Total Devices : 4
Preferred Minor : 1


Update Time : Tue Mar 13 11:03:10 2018
      State : clean
Active Devices : 4
Working Devices : 4
Failed Devices : 0
Spare Devices : 0
   Checksum : e526d87 - correct
     Events : 14344


     Layout : left-symmetric
 Chunk Size : 64K


  Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
this     3       8       50        3      active sync   /dev/sdd2


 0     0       8        2        0      active sync   /dev/sda2
 1     1       8       18        1      active sync   /dev/sdb2
 2     2       8       34        2      active sync   /dev/sdc2
 3     3       8       50        3      active sync   /dev/sdd2

So - Magic numbers and UUID are all good between the set. Events are all out of whack because it had tried to rebuild the replaced #4 as a spare instead of just rebuilding #4

Disc 4 has the correct info for the raid, and the sequencing as it was the drive I pulled originally and didn't get anything re-written. Discs 1-3 are showing in various states of chaos from swapping things around.

So two questions -

One - Why is it showing up as raid0 in the mdadm --detail

Two - Is it possible to update the info for the first three discs that I got from the mdadm --examine /dev/sdd2 so that it sees everything as it should be, instead of the cluster that I inadvertently made of it. I think if I can find a way to update the info for those partitions or discs the raid should reassemble correctly and rebuild itself so I can access my data

Any ideas would be helpful, as I've gotten about as far as I can get trying to figure this out on my own and doing a ton of searching.

Thanks advance.

Jake

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You said:

About 60% into the rebuild one of the other drives in the array drops out

This is a known risk with RAID-5, and is one of the reasons why RAID-5 is not considered safe to use these days. If two drives fail at the same time in a RAID-5 array, the data is unrecoverable. Unfortunately, rebuilding an array where one drive has failed can cause sufficient stress to the other drives that it greatly increases the probability that another drive will fail during the rebuild. The longer the rebuild (i.e. the larger the drives, and the busier they are doing other, real work) the more likely this is to happen.

This is especially true if the RAID array has been in active use for several years and the drives are nearing the expected end-of-life. Or if all drives in the array came from the same production run and had either similar flaws (if a "bad batch") or similar expected lifespan.

Due to the way that data is striped across the drives in a 4-disk RAID-5 array (i.e. 3 disks for striping data, 1 disk for parity), when two drives fail, at least one third of every file will be missing. This is similar to what happens with RAID-0 striping if one or more drives fails - the portions of the files striped onto the failed drive(s) is gone.

RAID-6 improves this a bit by allowing two drives to fail before all data is lost, but suffers the same problem if three drives fail simultaneously.

RAID-1 is safer because if one drive dies, you can retrieve the data from the other drive (or other drives if you mirror to more than 1 drive). If all drives in a mirror set fail, you lose everything.

RAID-10 is similar to RAID-1. It is still vulnerable if all drives in a mirror set die simultaneously. RAID-10 can survive a two-drive failure but ONLY if the failed drives are not in the same mirror set. e.g id you have drives a,b,c,d with two mirrored pairs (a+b and c+d) then any combination of two drives from different pairs (i.e.. a+c, a+d, b+c, or b+d) can fail without losing your data but if a+b or c+d fail then your data is lost.

With both RAID-1 and RAID-10, the risk can be reduced by having more drives in each mirrored set. e.g. a 6 drive RAID-10 can be configured as a+b, c+d, e+f (three mirrored pairs, total capacity = number of drives / 2) or a+b+c and d+e+f (two mirrored triplets, total capacity = number of drives / 3)

So, all RAID levels have failure modes that can result in catastrophic data loss.

The key thing to remember from all this is:

RAID IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR REGULAR BACKUPS

  • Urmm, thanks I guess?? I am aware of the failure modes of the raid formats. Hindsight being 20/20 I should had backed up data before I even looked ad replacing the disc as the array had been up and running for some time. That's water under the bridge at this point. Any ideas on how I can possibly reassemble the array from the cloned discs? – psykokid Mar 16 '18 at 4:01
  • sorry, nope. It might have been possible (with a LOT of work, requiring very detailed knowledge of the internals of both mdam and the filesystem being used) if the drives hadn't accidentally been re-assembled into two different arrays, but I suspect that your data is irretrievable. my answer was, ultimately, a long version of "no backup == no data". – cas Mar 16 '18 at 4:35
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So i tried a couple of things. First I stopped the raid after rebooting the machine this morning:

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm -S /dev/md1
mdadm: stopped /dev/md1

So then I try to assemble using the uuid for the array:

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --assemble /dev/md1 --
uuid=e7ab07c3:b9ffa9ae:377e3cd3:a8ece374
mdadm: /dev/md1 assembled from 1 drive - not enough to start the array.

Ok, that's what I expected. So let's try and force it:

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --assemble /dev/md1 --force --
uuid=e7ab07c3:b9ffa9ae:377e3cd3:a8ece374
mdadm: forcing event count in /dev/sdb2(1) from 238868 upto 239374
mdadm: forcing event count in /dev/sda2(0) from 20364 upto 239374
mdadm: /dev/md1 assembled from 3 drives - not enough to start the array.

Hrmm.. that should have worked. Let's try reassembling manually by calling out the individual partitions for the raid:

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --assemble /dev/md1 /dev/sda2 /dev/sdb2 
/dev/sdc2 /dev/sdd2 --force
mdadm: /dev/md1 has been started with 3 drives (out of 4).

BINGO! Looks like it started with 3 of the 4 drives. Good enough, that means I can access my data! Let's check the details just for giggles:

jake@ubuntu-box:~$ sudo mdadm --detail /dev/md1/dev/md1:
        Version : 0.90
  Creation Time : Thu Aug 18 14:30:36 2011
     Raid Level : raid5
     Array Size : 2924400000 (2788.93 GiB 2994.59 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 974800000 (929.64 GiB 998.20 GB)
   Raid Devices : 4
  Total Devices : 3
Preferred Minor : 1
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

    Update Time : Tue Mar 13 14:00:33 2018
          State : clean, degraded 
 Active Devices : 3
Working Devices : 3
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 0

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 64K

           UUID : e7ab07c3:b9ffa9ae:377e3cd3:a8ece374
         Events : 0.239374

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8        2        0      active sync   /dev/sda2
       1       8       18        1      active sync   /dev/sdb2
       2       8       34        2      active sync   /dev/sdc2
       6       0        0        6      removed

I'm copying off data as we speak. So, no the data was not irretrievable - just needed to know the right commands to force the raid to reassemble.

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