For one reason or another, we made the decision to stand up a HP ProLiant DL380 G5 server with two 72 GB 10K SAS drives. This limited us to a mirrored RAID Array. While this seemed to a sufficient option at the time, in hind sight, it was a bad choice.
This past week one of the two drives began blinking an amber light. I immediately called our parts vendor to get a replacement as soon as possible. My past experience with mirrored drives quickly caused dread to set in. Fortunately, this time was not as bad as I thought and the drive was replaced without any issues.
What I learned…
On HP ProLiant Servers, an amber light on a Hard Drive can mean one of two things:
Solid Amber Light – means the drive has failed.
Blinking Amber Light – means the drive is degraded, and on its way to failure.
With a mirrored drive on and HP Server, you do not want to just remove the drive if it is blinking amber since it is technically only hot swappable when it is a failed drive (solid amber). To properly replace the drive:
1. Shutdown the server
2. Boot the server.
3. During POST, Press F9 for ROM Setup when prompted
4. During the Array Scan, the drive should now be detected as a failed drive (solid amber), giving you two options:
- F1 = Disable the drives in the failed logical drive
- F2 = Replace the failed drive and repair the array.
5. Choose F2. You will be taken into the ROM Setup where the drives will begin blinking green. This is okay.
6. Physically swap out the failed drive. After a few moments it should start blinking green.
7. Wait approximately 5-10 minutes for the drive to configured for rebuild.
8. Reboot the server.
The logical drive should now be recognized and a note will appear that the Automated RAID Repair is taking place. The server should boot up and all is right with the world once again.
While it is possible that the HP Array Configuration Utility that runs in Windows could have changed the drive from it’s degraded state to a failed state so it could be hot swapped, we decided to go with this approach to make sure we did not cause any harm to the system.
This anxiety producing experience taught me an important lesson…ALWAYS configure a server as RAID 5, no matter what.