NitroAV Vanguard V RAID Near Heart Attack Failure

When I turned on my trusty NitroAV Vanguard V RAID box this morning, I wasn't greeted with it's normal two-toned happy beep. Instead, it began to beep over and over with a matching red LED for drive bay 4. This is not how I wanted to spend my Sunday morning.

Luckily, I've had this happen before with the same drive about two months ago. When it happened that time my heart also sunk below my feet at the thought of loosing all of the data on that drive. But at the time, I “fixed it” by simply re-seating the drive in that bay (with the power off).

This morning would be different. I re-seated the drive several times without success. The drive wasn't mounting either (it didn't the last time this happened). But I was prepared for this sort of thing– I have a new spare Seagate 300GB drive ready to go that matched the current drives exactly.

I popped the old sled out, replaced the drive with the new one, slid it back in and.. nothing. The event log acknowledged I removed the drive and reinserted a new one but that's about it. No automatic rebuilding, no flurry of activity, nothing. Going through the menus on the terminal via the serial port trying to find a rebuild function was fruitless. Choosing functions like “RAID Set Information” said there was no RAID set defined. This is not good.

I took a deep breath, turned the box off, swapped the drive again, putting the “failed” drive back, power on, same symptoms. Instead, this time I choose “Active Raid Set” which now shows there IS a raid set defined. “Are you sure?” it asks with an eyebrow raised. I was scared, but said yes. The drive appeared on my desktop like normal (albeit minus one drive functioning). But this is the way it's supposed to work. No data lost! Yes! But I still need to get the new drive in there.

With the power on, drive mounted, I slide sled 4 out, swap the drive again, putting the new drive in. Now, I'm greeted with rebuilding information (which set, % complete, time elapsed, etc).

So, the trick is, your RAID set needs to be activated, mounted (in a degraded state) before the controller will rebuild to a new drive. I expected the drive to do these steps for me, but maybe it's a safety feature.

UPDATE: The rebuild completed successfully after a little over 6 hours.

Link to the NitroAV Vanguard V RAID box from Firewire Direct.

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