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Old 11th November, 2010, 04:21 AM
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Problems recovering data from Mylex controller

So, I've got a system that was running on Windows 2000 for 8 years. It finally died about 2 years ago, but I kept the drives because there was some data on them that I wanted to keep, and I assumed the problem was just a corrupted file system due to a power failure. The system was using 2 18 GB IBM drives (DDYS-T18350) running on a Mylex AcceleRAID 250 SCSI controller (also known as the DAC960-PLT1) in a RAID 1 configuration (mirror).

I finally decided a couple days ago that it was time to scrap this hardware, but I needed to recover the data, so I slapped the controller and 1 of the drives into my Linux box and tried to recover the data.

No go. Well, kinda. The controller was still working, and it was talking to the drive, but I was only getting like 20K/sec transfer rates. So I thought, "Well, ok, maybe there's something wrong with the drive", pulled it out, slapped the other drive in, same thing. Hmmm.....so I go pull a spare drive off the shelf: same thing. Ok, so maybe there's some sort of bizarre issue with the drive and the controller. So I grab a Seagate Cheetah ST118202LC and plug it in. Same problem. Hmm.......bad cables? Nope, swap the cable, same problem. Bad terminators? Nope. Controller funky? Well, that's possible, but seems unlikely. Usually, with these things it either works or it's dead. But what the heck. I try different SCSI modes ranging from 5 MHZ to 40 MHz signaling rates, and asynchronous mode, and both 8 and 16-bit bus widths. Same deal.

Finally, I get to wondering "Maybe it's a driver issue?". The drive I'm booting from is running Fedora 14. Redhat does a good job of providing a good set of drivers to boot most any hardware out there. Unfortunately, very occasionally you run across a hardware combination that results in driver conflicts, and either the wrong driver gets loaded, or it gets loaded in the wrong mode. Being suspicious that this was the case, I proceeded to take my trusty Gentoo system (which has ONLY the drivers I need to make it boot) and recompile the kernel to add Mylex support.

Booted the system up, found the drive, and everything worked great.

Moral of the story: having all of the drivers in the world is great, but there's something to be said for 'lean and mean'. I still don't know exactly what the problem was with Fedora, but Gentoo came through for me.

To be fair, I could have compiled a custom Fedora kernel too but with Gentoo being a source distro, I was already set up with everything I needed to recompile the kernel whereas on Fedora I wasn't.
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Old 12th November, 2010, 01:54 AM
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I have always run a lean system, used to be I would do it for the performance value, now it's just so I can run CLI apps that are harder to break with updates.

Right now I'm fighting a USB transfer speed problem in Arch Linux. The problem is not there in Gentoo even though both installs are very close to being the same, same kernel, same kernel config, same version of base packages.
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Old 12th November, 2010, 05:05 AM
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In fairness Gizmo, you and RAID controllers have never really seen eye-to-eye in the past.

Hey... post #8000
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Last edited by dsio; 12th November, 2010 at 05:06 AM.
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