A RAID is essentially a major hard drive that has been created by merging multiple smaller hard drives. It is a great solution when you need to store massive files, but don’t want to invest in an incredibly large hard drive. If you already have a hard drive for your computer, then you can buy two equally sized hard drives at a lower price than you would if you bought a single one with three times as much memory. By connecting them into a RAID array, you will have created a super hard drive for a fraction of the cost.
Although RAIDs can be cost-effective and versatile solutions, they have their own risks. They are only reliable data storage options if they are properly built and maintained. There are a couple of problems that you could face:
- The entire RAID could fail if a single hard drive in the series is fried.
- The reliability of the RAID hinges on the quality of the connections of your hard drives. If any of those connections are compromised, then the entire system will fail as well.
If either of these problems occur, then you’re going to need to rebuild your RAID. The most common reason for RAID failures is one of the drives becoming defective, so that is the problem that we are going to focus on. Here are some of the steps that you are going to need to take.
How to go about reconstructing the RAID array
Rebuilding a RAID array can be a very complicated process. One of the biggest issues is that your options may be limited based on the number of failed hard drives in the series.
If you only need one drive to be restored to rebuild a RAID, then the process is going to be a lot easier. On the other hand, some RAID failures are caused because all but one of the hard drives fails. In these instances, rebuilding the array will be much more difficult.
Here are some things that you will need to do in each of these scenarios.
When only one drive is operational
How do you handle an RAID rebuild if only one drive is still working? The first step is to determine which drives are still operational. You could try removing the entire series of connections and testing every hard drive individually. A simpler option might be to just try using another hard drive controller.
Once you have determined which hard drives are not working anymore, you will need to replace each of them with identical ones. Make sure that there aren’t any significant differences between the hard drives that you are replacing them with, because that will affect the performance and memory capacity of the RAID array.
When only one drive needs to be replaced
Sometimes only a single hard drive in the array is defective. You will find that rebuilding a RAID will be much simpler in these cases. You can usually start by using a standard RAID management utility. Diagnosing the array with an LED from your controller is also an option.
Once you have identified the defective drive, you will simply need to replace it with an identical one. Make sure that you do not change the series in any way.