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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:03 pm 
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I have had this EX490 chugging away for the last 4 years (8 drives all have over 1200 days of age). It has only been powered down a few times when the electricity went out and the battery backup did a shutdown. It gets restarted from time to time as Microsoft still pushes security updates for the underlying Windows 2003 server components. Otherwise it sits in the air conditioned closet doing its thing. The EX490 is plain vanilla other than the CPU was upgraded 4 years ago to an E3400 Celeron instead of the OEM one.

It's got all four bays populated with Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB drives. And there is an external eSATA Icydock Icycube loaded with the same four drives. SMART data has always been available and all 8 showed green checkmarks. Version v3.1.10.9 of the SMART add in since it was released.

Last week I decided to sell a spare EX490 unit I was keeping for emergencies. That spare unit had a 4GB DIMM upgrade and no drives. I removed a drive from the Icydock to populate this spare MSS to resell. Everything was fine with SMART data in my primary MSS after doing a remove of the drive via the console. Now 7 green check marks.

I added a 2TB drive I had into the now empty eSATA bay. It came up with a blue question mark. It was a Seagate 7200.12 unit. It worked fine, and I was able to BDBB to it just fine. After a restart it finally showed a green checkmark in SMART so all seemed well.

A week or so later I get back to this project. All 8 drives still green in SMART classic. Now I get around to swapping the 4GB RAM for the 2GB RAM. Easy enough change, blew 4 years of dust out as well.

Everything comes back up without error, but I notice now all four drives in the external eSATA enclosure are now blue question marks in the SMART add in now. MSS drives are green. Shutdown, restart, neither clear this. Figuring just ironic fate that the Icydock decided to check out, I swapped it for an identical emergency spare. Same four blue question marks still in SMART add in.

Hmm, so I remove the new 2TB drive and put back the original 1.5TB drive. No change, the config that worked for years before now doesn't.

I check the eSATA cable next with a spare. No change. And just to be sure I uninstall/reinstall the SMART add-in. Nothing gets back the previous working behavior of all 8 drives having green checkmarks.

My next step is to swap back the 2GB RAM DIMM though I cannot imagine how this would have anything to do with reading SMART data over the eSATA connection. Nothing in the event log related to drives, storage, sata or such.

Has anyone experienced something like this? Very unusual.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:42 pm 
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It is very common for a drive to drop out of the pool on a esata enclosure.
But re-booting usually corrects it.
When smart shows a error see if it is actually showing in the drive pool.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:52 pm 
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Ruben Rocha wrote:
It is very common for a drive to drop out of the pool on a esata enclosure.
But re-booting usually corrects it.
When smart shows a error see if it is actually showing in the drive pool.


I've had this setup for 4 years without a single drop, so not that common. You are not going to see any errors because there is no SMART data showing when you have the blue question marks problem. And as I stated, the drives are all showing up correctly in server storage and performing backups. All green health in the WHS console. It's just the SMART add in that is not showing info anymore.

This happens on two different eSATA enclosures that both previously worked, so the issue is not the enclosure(s). I've already eliminated those now with hooking up to a separate PC.

There is no error with the drives either, I've since plugged the eSATA unit with all four of these drives into a Windows 7 PC for testing with Seagate Seatools and they are A-OK on the short and long generic run. Unfortunately that's via USB so no SMART comparison. But now I've eliminated both the drives and the enclosure(s).

I guess I'll remove the 4GB RAM DIMM and see if that has caused an issue with the Silicon Image drivers.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:55 pm 
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Well I answered my own question. From the world of bizarro, putting the machine back to 2GB cleared the problem. :shock:

I have tried this 3X now and consistently can reproduce the problem of no SMART data on eSATA with either of the two enclosures I have IF, and only if, I install a 4GB DIMM. Putting in 2GB DIMM and there are no problems whatsoever.

For those that run into a similar situation, the 4GB DIMM I was using is Mushkin (a good quality brand) with 6-6-6-18 timings. Speed PC2-6400, DDR2-800, 1.8V and exactly matches the 2GB part other than the timings are much faster.

:o


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:45 pm 
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Good troubleshooting.
I know what a pain it is to change the ram to test in the hp server.

Just fyi
I have had issues with 32bit os on desktops getting updates with 4gb of ram.
Using two sticks
So removing one stick of memory down to 2 gb the update installs.
Then insert the other stick back in.

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EX-490
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VGA/PS2 Keyboard/PS2 Mouse/Serial debug board
Q9450s CPU
Stock Ram
ESATA Sansdigital Towerraid TR5M-B
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Popcorn A-200
Dune HD Connect
Rasberry PI OSMC(KODI)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:50 pm 
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Well this is certainly a mystery to me! But I have some troubleshooting steps to try that, if anything, will at least allow me to collect some debugging details to determine the cause. I have an EX495 running WHS v1 but it only has a 2GB stick in it. I'm not willing to pay the sky-high prices for a 4GB DDR2 stick of memory, so that server isn't getting upgraded anytime soon.

Home Server SMART Classic (HSS) has the ability to collect debugging data and send it to me in an encrypted zip file via secure FTP. Unfortunately, you will need to open the server to do the memory swap to collect all the data.

You don't need to swap the memory yet--regardless of whether the 2GB or 4GB stick is installed, it doesn't matter. I did look at my EX495 and see that even with 2GB, the Physical Address Extension mode is enabled. I wondered if PAE had anything to do with it, but in my case it's already on (right-click the My Computer icon and select Properties).

Here's how to proceed:

1. Launch the WHS Dashboard.
2. Go to the HSS add-in, then click Settings.
3. On the Advanced tab, check the "Enable SmartInspect logging," and click OK when the Service Restart Required dialogue appears. (Make a note of the file path shown.)
4. Click the Apply button to save the settings (but keeps the settings dialogue open).
5. Click the Service Control tab.
6. Click the Restart Service button, then click Yes when the confirmation appears. Restarting the service takes a few seconds.
7. You can close the settings dialogue now.
8. Open Windows Explorer.
9. Navigate to the path you noted in step 3 above (default is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Dojo North Software\Logs). You may need to enable hidden folders to see the path.
10. Ensure you're seeing SIL debug logs being generated.
11. Let HSS run for a little while and let the log fatten.
12. Shut down the server, change the memory and reboot.
13. Let HSS run for a little while, then launch the Dashboard.
14. On the HSS main add-in screen, click the Advanced button, then on the menu that appears, Report a Bug/Diagnostics.
15. Let the collection process, run, then in the bug report window, type comments (optional) and click Zip and Send.
16. Once your bug report is tendered, you can turn off the SmartInspect debug logging.

Matt

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HP EX490, 4GB, E5300, 15TB - Server 2012 - Sharing and Streaming
HP EX487, 4GB, E5300, 13TB - Server 2012 Essentials - Backups


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:48 am 
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msawyer91 wrote:
Well this is certainly a mystery to me! But I have some troubleshooting steps to try that, if anything, will at least allow me to collect some debugging details to determine the cause. I have an EX495 running WHS v1 but it only has a 2GB stick in it. I'm not willing to pay the sky-high prices for a 4GB DDR2 stick of memory, so that server isn't getting upgraded anytime soon.

Home Server SMART Classic (HSS) has the ability to collect debugging data and send it to me in an encrypted zip file via secure FTP. Unfortunately, you will need to open the server to do the memory swap to collect all the data.

You don't need to swap the memory yet--regardless of whether the 2GB or 4GB stick is installed, it doesn't matter. I did look at my EX495 and see that even with 2GB, the Physical Address Extension mode is enabled. I wondered if PAE had anything to do with it, but in my case it's already on (right-click the My Computer icon and select Properties).

Matt


Matt,
Thanks for commenting. I too suspected PAE and perhaps the Silicon Image driver being affected by it. I did confirm PAE is enabled on the EX490 on the Control Panel System panel, even with only 2GB of RAM installed. For those unfamiliar with Physical Address Extension it is an technology between Intel and Microsoft that lets Windows Server 2003 R2 (which WHS is based on) address more than 32bit of RAM space thru additional address bits (36bit with a compatible CPU installed).

It's not something one can leverage with the HP MSS having only one RAM DIMM anyway, the maximum DDR2-800 RAM would be 4GB (3.99GB). But it might still affect certain system software to actually populate the RAM to that amount uncovering a problem never tested by HP. I'll send you the add-in debug data, very curious about what is happening!

I did verify also that under this 4GB condition, SMART was not obtainable by the Seagate Seatools diagnostic either. So the condition is not unique to the add-in. Something changes with 4GB RAM physically installed, or this particular brand and speed of DIMM I had, that results in functional eSATA data access to do backups but no SMART access. I also replicated the problem with the extra EX490 I had before selling it off, so it's not a hardware issue with the particular unit, both units behave the same.

I feel fortunate to have had this same config for the 4 years with no eSATA drops and no problems to have noticed this enough to not let it go (I've gotten various SMART eSATA warnings over the years to know it works well).


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:36 pm 
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Hmm...interesting thread.

I am running an Ex495 and have been fighting eSATA drop outs for years. I've only been able to minimize them, not eliminate them.

I am also running that Mushkin 4GB module in my system.

I never thought the ram would have an effect on eSATA! I might be out in left field here, but maybe I should go back to 2GB or find some other brand of RAM to try. BTW, I am running WHS2011, but the eSATA dropouts are the same as I had with WHS V1. I was hoping upgrading would solve my troubles, but it appears that they are not exclusive to OS.

Great discussion here. Thanks for the post.

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HP EX495 | Q9550s| 4GB | Sans Digital TR5M-B |Mediasonic Probox HF2-SU2S2 eSATA/USB2.0| WHS 2011 | |Stablebit Drivepool |FlexRAID 2.0| [12x2TB]


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