How to Recover Data From a Crashed RAID 5 System After LSI 9280 4i4e Controller Breakdown

In this article, we’ll tell you how to recover data from a RAID system if the LSI 9280-4i4e controller breaks down, and how to retrieve data from a crashed RAID 5.

How to Recover Data From a Crashed RAID 5 System After LSI 9280 4i4e Controller Breakdown

As we all know, the controller is an important element of a disk array, and when it fails, the whole storage system is out of work, the array is crashed, and you lose access to all of your data stored inside it. A RAID controller may break down due to hardware errors, various kind of damage, physical defects and even as a result of wrong configuration.

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How to build a RAID 5 on LSI 9280-4i4e controller

For better understanding of how the RAID technology works, let’s explore the process of creating it on this specific device. This can also come in handy at a later time when you try to restore the array operability – you will know how to rebuild it in order to retrieve important information. Let’s find out how to create a RAID using the controller’s BIOS. To access it, press the key shortcut Ctrl+H when the server is booting. If the previous RAID configuration still remains on the disks, the system will identify it and suggest restoring it. If you don’t need that, just press the corresponding keys. C, Yes, and so on.

Booting the BIOS for LSI 9280-4i4e controller

After that, the Web-BIOS LSI window opens. Click on the Start button to continue. After that, go to the Configuration Wizard.

LSI controller Web-BIOS

In the wizard window, choose New Configuration and click Next. You will see a warning that the current configuration will be cleared and all data will be lost. Click Yes to continue.

New configuration wizard

Now choose the RAID configuration method – manual or automatic – and click Next.

Creating a RAID in manual mode

Select the drives for this RAID and click Add. Now the hard disks will be added to a virtual group.

Add the disks to the array

Then click Accept DG to confirm, and click Next again. Now add this group to SPAN by selecting the option Add to SPAN, and then click Next.

Add a disk group to SPAN

At the next stage, choose RAID level, strip size, read and write policy settings, cache and other options. After the properties are set, click Update Size, Accept, and Next. Click Accept and Yes to save this configuration.

Give the future RAID properties

Now click Yes one more time to initialize the drives. This will start fast initialization, but if you need to wipe the drives completely, select Slow Initialize and click Go. Now the RAID system is ready. The last step to take is to restart the computer.

Disk initialization

Further actions will include drive partitioning, access configuration and so on.

How to recover data from a crashed RAID 5 on LSI 9280 4i4e controller

If you lost access to the disk array because of controller breakdown, there are a few ways of retrieving your data. For starters, you need to make sure if there is a problem with the controller. As soon as you know that the controller is out of order, you can start the recovery operations.

The first data recovery method to use if the LSI 9280-4i4e controller is dead is to connect the disks to a properly working controller. For this method you will need one more controller of the same model, or a compatible one which enables you to import the previously existing RAID configuration. First of all, explore this aspect and make sure that this operation is safe for your data – otherwise, wrong actions may erase the disks completely, along with your precious files.

The second method to recover data involves specialized data recovery software which can work with RAID systems.

Hetman RAID Recovery supports all popular RAID types, most file systems and various array patterns used by numerous RAID controllers. The app will rebuild the damaged RAID with the available hard disks, so that you’ll be able to retrieve important files.

Recover data from damaged RAID arrays inaccessible from a computer.

For data recovery, you need to connect all the hard disks to the motherboard of a Windows computer. The program has rebuilt the crashed array automatically. Depending on the RAID level, it can also rebuild a RAID system even if one or several disks are missing. If your motherboard has less SATA ports or power connectors than necessary, use additional adapters and expansion cards.

Hetman RAID Recovery has rebuilt the array automatically

Select the RAID in the Drive Manager and check if the program managed to rebuild it correctly, and if it shows correct information about its properties. If everything is correct, right-click on the volume and choose Open.

After that, choose the scan type – Fast scan or Full analysis. For most simple cases, Fast scan is enough, and it takes less time.

Full analysis

In my case, the program has coped with the task easily. It has rebuilt the RAID automatically and it found all the files which were stored on this disk array. It also displays deleted files which are marked with a red cross.

Recovering data from RAID

Select all the items you want to recover and hit the Recovery button. Specify where to save the data (choose the disk and folder), and click Recovery again. When the recovery process is complete, you’ll see all the files in the specified directory.

If the program can’t find the missing files after the Fast scan, then go for Full analysis. To do it, return to the main menu, right-click on the volume and choose Analyze again – Full analysis. Choose the file system type. You can uncheck the option for Content-Aware analysis, as it will make the process go faster. If you still can’t find the necessary files, run Full analysis again, but this time with the Content-Aware option enabled.

How to build a RAID manually after the configuration was erased

In some situations, the program may fail to rebuild the RAID automatically. It can happen when the service information on the disks is erased, so the program cannot identify parameters of the crashed RAID.

In such cases, the RAID Constructor with a manual build feature will help you.

RAID Constructor

This tool will save the day when the disk beginning is erased, together with the information about the array parameters. This is what typically happens when disks are connected to another controller and the previous configuration is erased, when the RAID is rebuilt, or before disks are initialized. After initialization, data will be erased completely.

If you know the array parameters, start the Constructor, choose Manual ModeNext. Specify the array type, block order and size. Add the disks it used to include, and replace the missing disks with empty drives by clicking the “plus” button.

Enter RAID properties manually

You may also have to specify the offset which tells you where the beginning of the disk is located, and the disk order.

When you have entered all the parameters you know, you will see your RAID, and if all information is correct, you will see its folders here as you unfold it.

The preview of the array built in the Constructor

Fill in all properties, and click Add. After that, the RAID system will appear in the Drive Manager. Now start the scan, search for files, and recover the ones you need.

Conclusion

Summing up, we can say that recovering data from RAID may seem quite challenging, but as long as you follow this tutorial and avoid careless steps, you’ll be able to restore access to the disk array and recover the lost files successfully. Also, you should always remember to back up your files, and this will protect you against many unpleasant situations.

Vladimir Artiukh

Author: , Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: , Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as xaker.ru, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.

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