Jeremy Ehrhardt wrote:
We've been testing this box as a
file server, and it usually works fine, but smartd reported a few bad
sectors on one of the drives, then a few days later it crashed while I
was running chmod -R on a directory on "drugs" and had to be manually
rebooted. I can't figure out exactly what happened, especially given
that RAID 5 is supposed to be robust against single drive failures and
that despite the bad blocks smartctl claims the drive is healthy.
As soon as you notice bad sectors appearing on a modern drive, it's time to
replace it. This is because modern drives already use spare sectors to
replace failing data areas transparently, and when that no longer can be done
because all of the spares have been used, the drive is likely to die shortly
RAID-5 provides protection against a single-drive failure, but once errors are
seen, the RAID-volume is operating in degraded mode which involves a
significant performance penalty and you no longer have any protection against
data loss-- if you have a problem with another disk in the meantime before the
failing drive gets replaced, you're probably going to lose the entire RAID
volume and all data on it.
I have three questions:
1: what's up with gvinum RAID 5? Does it crash randomly? Is it
considered stable? Will it lose data?
Gvinum isn't supposed to crash randomly, and it reasonably stable, but it
doesn't seen to be as reliable as either a hardware RAID setup or the older
vinum from FreeBSD-4 and earlier.
As for losing data, see above.
2: am I using a SATA controller that has serious problems or something
like that? In other words, is this actually gvinum's fault?
If you had a failing drive, that's not gvinum's fault. gvinum is supposed to
handle a single-drive failure, but it's not clear what actually went
wrong...log messages or dmesg output might be useful.
3: would I be better off using a different RAID 5 system on another OS?
Changing OSes won't make much difference; using hardware to implement the RAID
might be an improvement, rather than using gvinum's software RAID. Of course,
you'd have to adjust your config to fit within your hardware controller's
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