Friday morning when I got up, I noticed that, as it occasionally does, the light next to one of the drives in my server was flashing.
Typically, if I log into the server, it doesn’t actually detect any issues with the drive, so I just reboot the server, it comes back up, the light stops flashing, and I’m good for some period of time before it happens again.
This time, however, was different.
The server actually did see a problem with the drive. Deciding that, even though I’d woken up earlier than usual and had a little extra time before leaving for work, I would deal with it later, and I simply told the server to take the drive out of the pool.
When I got home and checked on it, I did a quick look through the data spread out across the remaining drives and determined that, based on the backup database error the server was reporting, the only data that had been stored on that particular drive was the archived backups of my other systems. With the exception of my main system, Odin, and my tablet, Mother Box, not much changes on my other computer very often, and they aren’t especially critical anyway, so I could afford to lose those older backups.
Note that I don’t have the server’s drive mirroring turned on, which would make it duplicate data across all of the drives in the pool. Mostly because I don’t want to end up losing half of my available storage, but also because I don’t really have anything on my servers that’s terribly irreplaceable.
Most of my personal photos are available in the cloud on Facebook, Google, and etc., and as for my drawings, well…let’s face it, the world wouldn’t really be all that much poorer for the loss of them.
Anyway, all I’d really be losing in that case are the original Photoshop files, as the finished jpegs are also out in the cloud, for the most part, which would be a pain, but nothing devastating to me or to anyone else.
In any case, it looked like my data was mostly intact.
Over the weekend I made the upgrade to Adobe Creative Suite 6. In fact, I decided to take advantage of the Adobe Creative Cloud membership, which gives me the ability to pick and choose which CS applications (such as Photoshop) I want to install (via download), and the ability to spread out the (tremendous) cost of the suite across an annual set of monthly subscription charges.
(I also get 20 GB of cloud storage, and the cost of my membership includes upgrades to later versions – Adobe recently announced that they’re planning to release new versions annually.)
No longer having Photoshop CS5, I no longer had access to the “Recently Opened Files” associated with that version, so when I fired up CS6 and decided to get back to work on the picture I’d most recently been working on, I had to browse for it.
So I browsed. And browsed.
While very little data had been lost by removing that drive from the server, it apparently had been canny enough to know exactly what file I would be looking for and ensured that it wouldn’t be available.
And, as mentioned, it wasn’t really a catastrophe, because, let’s face it, the world will keep turning even if it doesn’t have yet another drawing of Scarlett Johansson done by Jon to completely ignore or to look at with bored indifference.
(Note: I was working on yet another drawing of Scarlett Johansson.)
However, it was annoying, as I’d put a lot of work into it, and was pretty pleased with how well it was turning out, given that the reference image was a crappy, dark, low-resolution screen capture. (Turns out the reference image was also on that failed drive. Well-played, Universe. Well-played.)
Today I was looking at Odin, with its gargantuan case, and I thought about those fancy hot-swappable drive bays jutting out from the side…
So I set to work on pulling one of the drive bays out. This proved more difficult than I’d anticipated. I searched in vain for the manual for the case, did some googling, found a video of someone swapping a drive in the case, and set back to work on pulling one of them out.
Eventually, I found one that did, with some effort, slide out the same way the bay in the video had.
I looked at the cage that slid out of the bay into which I would place the drive, thought, “Hmm, there’s something in there. Looks like an SSD.”
At that point, my heart stopped.
I had just yanked out my C: drive.
While my computer was running.
With the greatest speed I’ve ever managed to muster, I slid the drive back in. Amazingly, the computer seemed none the worse for wear – perhaps I”d replaced it quickly enough for the system not to notice.
Then it made a sound like someone derezzing in the Tron movies, I got a BSOD, and the computer went into power save mode.
Son of a -
Sighing, and saying, “Of course I yanked out the C: drive,” I hit the power button and waited to see if it would boot up.
It would not.
After a frantic search, I finally found the manual for the case, and flipped to the section about hot-swapping drives.
It was then that I noticed that I had neglected to actually unlock the drive bays. So not only had I pulled out the C: drive while the system was running, I had forced it out when it was locked in place.
I unlocked the bays, slid the C: drive out and back in again, and booted up.
This time it worked, and my heart finally started beating again.
(Note that this wouldn’t have been utterly catastrophic – even if the drive had failed as a result, I could have simply put in a new one and restored my system from the backup on the server, because I did have an active, recent backup to work from.)
Once I confirmed that everything was working properly, I set to work on putting the failed server drives into one of the open bays, making a note to myself to never, ever pull out Drive Bay 3.
I slid the drive in.
I rebooted. Still no sign of the new drive.
Eventually, looking through the manual for the motherboard and inspecting the configuration, I determined that none of the open bays is actually hooked up to anything, so I can plug in all the drives I want; the system is never going to notice.
Not feeling like dealing with cabling issues, I determined which bay contained my D: drive, and swapped that out and replaced it with the failed server drive.
Turns out that there was a lot more data on the drive than I’d thought, and I’m in the process of moving it back over to the remaining server drives. I still need to pick up a replacement drive to get back to my previous storage capacity, but even with the missing 2 TB, I still have a lot of free space, and I’m actually thinking about buying a new server anyway, as they’re relatively inexpensive, and it’s honestly the easiest way to upgrade to the latest version of the Windows Home Server OS.
In any case, the main takeaway is that it’s never, ever Drive Bay 3, and that, soon enough, there will be yet another drawing of Scarlett Johansson by Jon for no one* to care about.
*Except Scott, of course.