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Help Mikey recover data from 6 hard drives in a weird RAID
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maiku
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2024 2:24 pm    Post subject: Help Mikey recover data from 6 hard drives in a weird RAID Reply with quote

So, I used to have a personal server machine that I was using for fun with Gentoo. The server computer had 6 3.5" SATA hard drives. 2 were configured RAID1 and the other 4 were configured with RAID5. All the RAID configurations were software. Part of the RAID1 volume was combined with the RAID5 volume and then encrypted using LUKS.

That machine died 5 years ago. I do need to get that data off eventually. I have no reason to believe that the drives or the RAID has degraded since then. But, I'd like it off anyhow.

I was thinking the cheapest way would be to get a bunch of SATA to USB adapters and a USB hub and get the data off with my Gentoo laptop. Then maybe make a RaspberryPi RAID NAS device to put it on. Afterwards sell all the adapters, hub, and drives on eBay lol.

I'm opening it up for better suggestions with people who are smarter. If you're reading this, that's you!

(If you're wondering why I chose to do such a weird configuration of hard drives, you know the answer. It's because I could and it seemed like fun at the time.)
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2024 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maiku,

I'll have wee nibble.

What size are the drives?
Do you have empty storage space enough to image them all, then assemble the raid set(s) from the collection of image/?
Don't even think of software raid over USB, not even with two drives never mind six. You also do not want to hazard the only copy of your data.

Putting all six images on one drive will work too.

There is no better reason to do something in Gentoo than 'because you can'.

Once you have the drive images, run
Code:
losetup -fP /path/o/image
on each and you will have /dev/loop[0..5]p[1...x] just like the originals.
Now assemble the raid sets using the loop devices. Read only is a good idea at this stage.
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NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
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maiku
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2024 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that. I hadn't thought about imaging it like that. Each drive is 2TB. Looks like that might be the best option although it's actually more expensive than the USB option which, like you said, is probably a scary option.

NeddySeagoon wrote:
There is no better reason to do something in Gentoo than 'because you can'.


This was indeed my thinking.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2024 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maiku,

You can cheat a bit if the rate set is consistent. Check with mdadm -E before you start.
The idea is to to only image enough to start the images as a degraded raid set.
That's one drive of the raid1 set and three of the raid5 set.

That's got the space required for the image down from 12TB to 8TB.

Given your forums join date ... Because I can
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NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
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maiku
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2024 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Notably, I have no desktop computers, so somewhere along the line I have to use a SATA->USB adapter. Even if it's just one drive.

NeddySeagoon wrote:
Given your forums join date ... Because I can
You are a beast.

I started Gentoo when I was 16 and I guess here I am still. But no major cool things like you're doing there.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maiku,

I suspected that this had to be done on a laptop, when you suggested the USB contortions.

At least imaging one drive at a time to a file on another drive should be harmless to the sources.
Unlike actually running the raid set over USB, getting a timeout due to USB and having a perfectly good raid member kicked out of the set due to no fault of its own.

I've been playing with computers for 60 years now.
If you know what they are good for besides playing with, do let me know :)
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NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
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GreenNeonWhale
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:00 am    Post subject: Cheap used computer from a recycling center? Reply with quote

It seems I'm on a round of replying to old threads today. I'm hoping this reply might be useful.

maiku,

Perhaps there is a computer recycling center nearby where you live? If so, I'd contact them to see if they have any cheap desktops available for sale. For the task you have, most any functional x86/amd64 system with enough SATA ports will likely fulfill your need. You may very well be able to buy a system like this for the same price as a handful of USB to SATA adapters. Perhaps a recycler might even rent you a box, so that you don't have to worry about getting rid of it when you're done. eBay is generally a good source for this sort of thing as well.

You could boot Knoppix, Gentoo's live boot image, SystemRescue, or most any live boot linux distribution, and bring up your old RAID array. If you wanted to get fancy, you could modify a live boot image to automatically bring up ssh. Then you could log into it via an ethernet cable from your laptop, and forgo even needing a monitor for the desktop.

Good luck recovering your data, if you haven't already.
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