Guide: Xserve RAID data safety
In this article you will find out:
- how to work with Xserve RAID data
- how to protect your data
Are you ready? Let's read!
About Xserve RAID
The Xserve RAID is a well-designed array that provides multiple failover points and is hot-swappable. Among the enterprise-grade RAID manufacturers, Xserve RAID is the more cost-effective, reliable and stable option. It can be used in Apple File Sharing, Unix Network File System, and Windows Server Message Block.
The NIC has an Ethernet port used for RAID server management and is integrated with a Fiber Channel connector for direct connection to the Xserve. In addition, there is a battery for backing up disk cache and a removable power supply.
When a RAID set is created, the RAID block performs a block consistency check, during which time the volume becomes unavailable by default.
If it is important to you that the volume is available immediately after the set is created, be prepared for the fact that the array performance will be low. In this case, most likely, part of the volume will be inaccessible. After checking the consistency, you should reboot the disk.
The Xserve has its own processors and operates independently of the server, meaning you can connect one server to each controller and share Xserve RAID.
In addition, you can use the advanced functions of the RAID administration program:
- splitting a raid into multiple volumes,
- simple expansion of the volume,
- recovering parity information in the event of a disk failure,
- restricting access to specific hosts.
It should be noted that Xserve RAID is clearly suitable for corporate use, as it maintains a low initial cost, heat dissipation and power consumption.
Best practices for data integrity
You can use the following guidelines for deploying Xserve RAID arrays to help ensure that the data in the array is always available:
1. You can use the Xserve RAID controller cache and disk caches to improve performance when reading and writing data to Xserve RAID arrays.
Note: To enable these options, backup batteries and uninterruptible power supplies must be used.
2. Alternatively, you can disable the RAID Administrator feature named "Enable Host Cache Flushing". This is required to ensure consistent communication between Fiber Channel devices.
Note: This option requires the use of an uninterruptible power supply.
3. You can also expand your backup solution, including hardware and software solutions. That is, you can simply drag vital files to another safe place or use special software solutions to create backups.
4. Be sure to use the latest Xserve RAID firmware. You can check if the firmware is up-to-date as follows: select Raid Admin, then click Components and click on the controller image.
Disconnect or stop Xsan volumes before performing any operation in RAID Admin that might restart the Xserve RAID. These operations include the options located in the following locations:
- RAID Administrator > Delete Array
- RAID Administrator > Create Array
- RAID Administrator > Advanced > Split
- RAID Administrator > Advanced > LUN Masking
- RAID Administrator > Settings > System
- RAID Administrator> Settings> Fiber Channel
6. Avoid making changes to the RAID Admin> Advanced> Expansion folder. Any changes will delete the pre-existing array if the array acts as a LUN that was included in the Xsan volume.
RAID data safety
Even the most fault-tolerant array is subject to destruction, it can happen very rarely, but all this is possible. If this happens to you, don't panic, you can still recover data from the array with a smart solution on your desktop.
It is for such cases that leading IT professionals have developed the DiskInternals RAID Recovery application - this utility supports both automatic and manual determination of the main parameters of the array.
This concerns array level, RAID controller type, stripe sizes, and reliable and smart recovery wizard will help you if you don't know much about how to recover a damaged array.
If desired, any virtual disk can be easily mounted on a local disk and all recovered data is exported to any local or remote locations (including FTP). So at the moment, you won't find a better deal for recovering any data from Xserve RAID.
Here's what you will do:
1. Download and install DiskInternals RAID Recovery and then open the application to click on the Recovery Wizard icon.
2. Select an array for subsequent scanning and search for damaged and deleted files and folders.
3. Select the search mode:
- Deep (for a closer look),
- Fast (for a shallow view).
After scanning, view all or individual results for free; this way you can check the integrity and correctness of the data.
Then purchase a license from the program website to complete the export to another storage device of similar size.