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Is there any software or instructions out there on how to get data off of a 3ware RAID set (using RAID5) when the controller doesn't function? I have the controller still, but it won't work properly in my new system.

I want to get the data off the drives without having to scrounge around for an old PCIe 1.0 system to see if I can get the controller to work in it.

  • You're experiencing one of the reasons why RAID is not a backup. Hardware RAID is nice in enterprise use when you have a lot of servers of the same model, so when a server model is getting obsolete you can always cannibalize decommissioned servers for parts to keep the remaining ones alive. If your hw-RAID system is an unique snowflake, you need to plan an exit strategy in case your RAID controller becomes unusable and can't be replaced: in most cases it simply means keeping backups independent of the RAID controller, which you should have been doing anyway. – telcoM Jan 2 at 9:00
  • @telcoM - Chastising me for not making backups or having a bad system in general isn't helpful here. I wasn't ever intending for it to be a backup, and the situation I currently find myself in is very bizarre and the result of having the card and drives in storage for years. Frankly, just about any backup system I chose would have similar forward compatibility issues after trying to reactivate it after years of disuse. – Omnifarious Jan 3 at 1:44
  • What RAID level were you using? – Alastair McCormack Jan 3 at 11:09
  • @AlastairMcCormack - RAID 5 – Omnifarious Jan 4 at 14:46
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Sorry, I did not intend my earlier comment as a chastisement, but more to raise awareness of the trap of using hardware RAID in small-scale settings. You're not the first one who has ended up in a bad situation like that, and I'm afraid you won't be the last one either. I was against comment length limit, so it ended up harsher than needed.

dmraid supports some vendor-specific RAID formats, but unfortunately 3ware RAID does not seem to be among them. Hardware RAID systems tend to use proprietary formats that are not publicly documented.

Have you considered contacting some professional data recovery specialists? This might be an easy case for them, if they happen to have the necessary knowledge/tools for that specific controller brand, as the disks themselves might be fine.

Sure, involving a professional will have its costs, but in this particular case, the cost might be very reasonable, and just asking for a price estimate certainly won't hurt.

  • I have considered this. It's a last resort option. I will hunt down an old motherboard first and try my luck there. 🙂 – Omnifarious Jan 3 at 16:15

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