David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

November 17th, 2007 at 7:15 am Print This Post Print This Post

Who needed the data on that server? Just the Mac guys… Crash!

Last night, Friday evening at about four thirty to be precise, I get the call that a user has attempted to restart the Mac “server” (running OS X 10.4 but attached to an external RAID5 array and used as a file server) by doing a hard power cycle of the external SCSI RAID array. While the host computer was still on. For some reason, the shared volume on the array is not accessible now. Rebooting the host “server” produces an error on boot about a volume not being available because it is corrupt. Disk Utility fails to Verify or Repair due to errors, and the array is showing up but the volume is simply “disk3s3.”

This is a 1.6TB array, around since our previous Evangelism and Media pastor who did quite a bit of video editing and used the array for video storage while working on projects. Fast forward to today, when the Marketing/Communications (MarCom) department is using the system to store–everything. However, we don’t have a backup solution in place because the system wasn’t intended initially as mission-critical storage and the budget hasn’t been there to change that. 1.6TB is the largest amount of storage in one server that we have right now, so there’s no place to even copy the data for a backup, like we do with our primary file server.

I purchased DiskWarrior, which comes highly recommended, but it’s throwing a funky error about a corrupt configuration file when I try to even start it. It says to delete the old configuration file to continue, but it doesn’t exist–thus, a support request has been logged and we wait until Monday to continue the saga (I tried calling their support number but they had just closed for the weekend. Probably for the best, it was dinner time, and family time, and homework time! I didn’t get out of there until 7 pm anyway). Meanwhile we are faced with the prospect that if this doesn’t work, the only option I can think of is to ring up one of those fun services that do awesome data recovery at a price on par with their awesomeness. The array itself says it’s fine, no lost drives or anything weird like you would expect for a failed system, it appears that the partition just got corrupted somehow when the power was unceremoniously yanked. To protect the guilty, I’ll spare you the details of who and why, but let’s just say my happiness level is not quite up where I like it to be…

If you have any recommendations of good (and preferably inexpensive) RAID5, Mac filesystem recovery services, I’m open to suggestions if we end up having to go that way (and can justify the cost given the data). I will update you next week on the progress with DiskWarrior when it gets up and running.