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We have a 12 drive, 40 TB storage bay that all of a sudden encountered multiple drive failures On RAID 5. One drive we have replaced outright, while another two have SMART errors.

When the drives went down, the controller pushed everything into a foreign config. Now that we have put in a new drive, we can't import the foreign config back because of the two failed drives, and therefore can't rebuild.

My understanding is that these SMART error drives should be be recoverable in order to rebuild the array, but how can we start that when the configuration can't be imported?

  • If you had multiple drives fail, your RAID is broken. RAID5 can only recover from one failed disk. RAID5 is a bad solution for large capacity drivers, since the rebuild is so slow. You're better off building a new RAID10 volume and restoring from your most recent backup. – essjae Dec 5 '18 at 0:46
  • @essjae My understanding is that drives with SMART errors can be rebuilt from, but should be soon retired. We had one total failure, but two that have only failed on the SMART level. My difficulty now is trying to rebuild with those drives in error. – Taylor F Dec 5 '18 at 14:10
  • Well, if you only lost one drive with a smart error and it drops out of the array, it could be possible. But, you've lost multiple drives, and you can't import your foreign disks, which points to an unrecoverable failure. If you don't have a backup, and need to get data from the failed array, I'd suggest stopping what you're doing and contacting a data recovery service. The more you mess around with the disks the more likely the data can't be recovered. – essjae Dec 5 '18 at 18:50

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