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Recovery of RAID-5 volumes

The following types of recovery may be required for RAID-5 volumes:

Parity resynchronization and stale subdisk recovery are typically performed when the RAID-5 volume is started, or shortly after the system boots. They can also be performed by running the vxrecover command.

See "Unstartable RAID-5 volumes" on page 22.

If hot-relocation is enabled at the time of a disk failure, system administrator intervention is not required unless no suitable disk space is available for relocation. Hot-relocation is triggered by the failure and the system administrator is notified of the failure by electronic mail.

Hot relocation automatically attempts to relocate the subdisks of a failing RAID-5 plex. After any relocation takes place, the hot-relocation daemon (vxrelocd) also initiates a parity resynchronization.

In the case of a failing RAID-5 log plex, relocation occurs only if the log plex is mirrored; the vxrelocd daemon then initiates a mirror resynchronization to recreate the RAID-5 log plex. If hot-relocation is disabled at the time of a failure, the system administrator may need to initiate a resynchronization or recovery.

  Note   Following severe hardware failure of several disks or other related subsystems underlying a RAID-5 plex, it may be only be possible to recover the volume by removing the volume, recreating it on hardware that is functioning correctly, and restoring the contents of the volume from a backup.

Resynchronizing parity on a RAID-5 volume

In most cases, a RAID-5 array does not have stale parity. Stale parity only occurs after all RAID-5 log plexes for the RAID-5 volume have failed, and then only if there is a system failure. Even if a RAID-5 volume has stale parity, it is usually repaired as part of the volume start process.

If a volume without valid RAID-5 logs is started and the process is killed before the volume is resynchronized, the result is an active volume with stale parity.

The following example is output from the vxprint -ht command for a stale RAID-5 volume:






v r5vol - ENABLED NEEDSYNC 204800 RAID - raid5

pl r5vol-01 r5vol ENABLED ACTIVE 204800 RAID 3/16 RW

sd disk01-01 r5vol-01 disk01 0 102400 0/0 c2t9d0 ENA

sd disk02-01 r5vol-01 disk02 0 102400 1/0 c2t10d0 dS

sd disk03-01 r5vol-01 disk03 0 102400 2/0 c2t11d0 ENA


This output lists the volume state as NEEDSYNC, indicating that the parity needs to be resynchronized. The state could also have been SYNC, indicating that a synchronization was attempted at start time and that a synchronization process should be doing the synchronization. If no such process exists or if the volume is in the NEEDSYNC state, a synchronization can be manually started by using the resync keyword for the vxvol command.

Parity is regenerated by issuing VOL_R5_RESYNC ioctls to the RAID-5 volume. The resynchronization process starts at the beginning of the RAID-5 volume and resynchronizes a region equal to the number of sectors specified by the -o iosize option. If the -o iosize option is not specified, the default maximum I/O size is used. The resync operation then moves onto the next region until the entire length of the RAID-5 volume has been resynchronized.

For larger volumes, parity regeneration can take a long time. It is possible that the system could be shut down or crash before the operation is completed. In case of a system shutdown, the progress of parity regeneration must be kept across reboots. Otherwise, the process has to start all over again.

To avoid the restart process, parity regeneration is checkpointed. This means that the offset up to which the parity has been regenerated is saved in the configuration database. The -o checkpt=size option controls how often the checkpoint is saved. If the option is not specified, the default checkpoint size is used.

Because saving the checkpoint offset requires a transaction, making the checkpoint size too small can extend the time required to regenerate parity. After a system reboot, a RAID-5 volume that has a checkpoint offset smaller than the volume length starts a parity resynchronization at the checkpoint offset.

 To resynchronize parity on a RAID-5 volume

  1. Type the following command:

    # vxvol -g diskgroup resync r5vol

Reattaching a failed RAID-5 log plex

RAID-5 log plexes can become detached due to disk failures. These RAID-5 logs can be reattached by using the att keyword for the vxplex command.

 To reattach a failed RAID-5 log plex

  1. Type the following command:

    # vxplex -g diskgroup att r5vol r5vol-plex

Recovering a stale subdisk in a RAID-5 volume

Stale subdisk recovery is usually done at volume start time. However, the process doing the recovery can crash, or the volume may be started with an option such as -o delayrecover that prevents subdisk recovery. In addition, the disk on which the subdisk resides can be replaced without recovery operations being performed. In such cases, you can perform subdisk recovery by using the vxvol recover command.

 To recover a stale subdisk in the RAID-5 volume

  1. Type the following command:

    # vxvol -g diskgroup recover r5vol subdisk

A RAID-5 volume that has multiple stale subdisks can be recovered in one operation. To recover multiple stale subdisks, use the vxvol recover command on the volume:

# vxvol -g diskgroup recover r5vol