Thursday, January 24, 2008

What not to do @ 2:00 AM in the morning :( Windows 2003 + Dynamic Disks + iSCSI = BAD IDEA)

I always had the cardinal rule of not working on servers at 2:00 AM especially when I am tired and have worked 12 hour days. (Which is pretty much every day.)

Well as it seems, on one of my SQL Servers, I made the mistake of setting up Dynamic Disks on an ISCSI with Windows 2003 about 6 months ago.

Apparently, "Dynamic Disks" don't like the Windows ISCSI. On one of my SQL servers this was a huge annoyance because everytime the server rebooted, ISCSI would not mount the disks automatically so I would have to do this manually.

So this AM, I wanted to clean up the setting and because the screen always showed multiple disks drives that were offline and dynamic, I decide to click "Covert to Basic" disk and the next thing I know, my SQL server goes offline.

FORTUNATELY for me, I had setup database mirroring so there was no downtime, however, a task like this is definately not for the faint of heart. I also have a pretty stringent backup strategy so no data was lost.

So I think to myself "is my data really lost???". Microsoft does say that converting from a dynamic disk to a basic disk causes you to lose all of your data. Fortunately for me, I did some searches on the web and found out that you are able to recover an accidental conversation from a dynamic to a basic disk. Provided as long as you didn't delete anything after you made the mistake!

This was the article I referred to : http://www.aarvy.com/tech/convert%20dynamic%20disk%20to%20basic%20disk.htm

Fortunately I had a copy of Acronis Disk Director Server, so I installed that on my server and VOILA, my disks were back. http://www.acronis.com

I did of course have to reinstall SQL Server since my master databases and log databases wouldn't mount for some reason but that was a minor issue compared to losing all the data and having to restore from backups.

I simply reattached all of the databases afterwards and resumed to do backups and mirror everything again.

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