Good and EVO

When does the repair project go from CPR to necrophilia?

facepalmThought I would share with you one of the fascinating tales from the world of IT I am working on. There’s a server that died after a 11 or 13 year run.

All it was doing was running file storage and on-site backups. It had four hard drives in either a RAID 1+0 or a RAID 5. Not sure which, three hard drives died one night so either way that was that for that server.

As this was just a processor and some hard drives connected to our network, the choice was made to find some inexpensive disks and just rebuild it as a NAS as the processor was fine, case was sturdy, power supply chugging along fine.

This should have been easy.

I ordered four of the most inexpensive disks I could locate. This is backup storage, doesn’t have to be fast, doesn’t have to be pretty. And with four new disks in the system for a total of 8 terabytes of pre-RAIDing storage I fired it up only to learn the RAID card, build in 2002, had a maximum ability to handle 2TB across four drives. My 2TB drives were unreadable.

Crap, thought I, wonder how much a RAID card that can support this would cost? The answer was $7. OK, so I order a $7 card and it ships from somewhere in China arriving two weeks later. I plug everything in and go to boot up an old Windows 2003 disk (don’t judge, it’s licensed and this is a glorified FTP with no internet access,) and realize that the IDE CD-ROM is shot.

I don’t stock IDE CD ROMs

No problem, I’ll just install from USB… oh wait, the boss mailed out all my USB sticks over 512MB and they’re not coming back for a month or two. Shipped video, long story. OK, find a great deal on some USB sticks and order 3 64 gig sticks for about $15. That’s another two days.

Sticks arrive and I go to use Rufus, ISO Burn, or anything to burn the Windows 2003 onto an installer only to find nothing seems to want to take the ISOs I can download or the CD I have and turn it into bootable media. Rassa… tried YUMI, WinToFlash, couple of other things and failed.

OK, didn’t want to throw a Windows 2012 license at it, but might be required and the sector deduplication might come in handy… I can at least install and see if I like it with a test drive on the USB but no. Windows Server 2012 will not install. Doesn’t tell me why. I just get a blue screen followed by a reboot. Rassa frassa.

Locate old CD ROM, start 2003 install, oh I need the driver disk for the RAID card on a floppy disk… how quaint. I don’t think I’ve had a floppy disk that worked since 2008. Crap. Now I have to burn a CD with the installer and the drivers on it.

Oh look, CD media evidently degraded over the past six years that we haven’t needed to burn a CD and everything’s a coaster.

OK, so now it’s time to remove one of the four disk drives I’ve added and slap a modern DVD-ROM on there. Maybe I’ll RAID 5 and later slap in #4 as a hot spare. Oh, you won’t do that? Of course not.

head to the desk

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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One thought on “When does the repair project go from CPR to necrophilia?

  • With all that time and effort wasted, you could have just gone out and bought a cheap Netgear or Synology barebones NAS and slapped those four empty disks in, and had an automatically RAIDed array in moments.

    11 year old servers in a business context should be removed from service; the warranty will be shot to hell and the components will be on the way out (as you found out with the optical drive).

    Also, if you want to homebrew a NAS from a server, you should keep the OS completely separate from the RAID drives, so if the array fails, at least you can still boot and do diagnostics.


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