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6 minute readHow-To Series: How to Replace a Failed EMC Drive

Using an EMC storage array provides you with an incredible data storage system to store data on storage arrays rather than on a server. These arrays provide you with multiple drives in a collection, capable of storing a huge amount of data, managed by a central management system. 

Although the EMC storage array is an incredible system, if your EMC drive fails, then you have a major problem on your hand. The first step is identifying the reason for your failed EMC drive, and then implementing the replacement procedure. This will allow you to minimize downtime, and get your critical assets back up and running.

Why Your EMC Drive Failed 

There are various reasons for EMC drive failure.

  • Age 
  • When the drive is not registering, it can be a sign of age but is easily replaceable with a new drive.
  • You have a bad slot on the enclosure. 
  • Hot spare may be in the wrong enclosure.
  • Your system needs to be updated.

What Happens When Your EMC Drive Fails?

Typically, when your Dell EMC drive fails you will see it come up as removed. Other times, when a drive fails it shows that it is set to EOL (end of life). After the drive reports many Soft SCSI bus errors, it will be accompanied “INVALID SENSE BUFFER”

Severe performance issues can also be observed on the system after a drive starts logging errors such as: “Soft Media Errors” and “01|18|ff”. When this occurs you have two options: 

  1. If physical access to the system is available: Remove the malfunctioning drive from the slot. Contact a support provider to request a drive replacement.
  2. If no physical access to the system is immediately available: Contact your support provider to discuss other possible workarounds. 

Steps to Replace Failed EMC Drive

How to Know When to Replace Dell EMC Drive 

How often will you have to replace your drive depends on various factors. Proper maintenance on your array will provide aid in keeping your drives functioning for longer. Unfortunately, failures occur, which is why you should always have a backup. Noticing the signs of drive failure will allow you to either fix the problem or contact support at the first sign.

Signs of Drive Failure

Different vendors display drive failures differently. EMC has lights on the racks to indicate that there is a failed drive; this is the primary method to know if a drive has failed.

  • When the drive has two lights, the second light will be yellow if the drive has failed.
  • You may also see error messages. These might state an error message such as “FAIL”.

Steps to Replace a Failed Disk Drive 

Step 1: Identify the failed drive

The first step is to make sure you have identified which drive has failed. If you replace the wrong drive, then you are going to create trouble for the rest of your storage environment. Although this depends on your RAID infrastructure, it is better to be safe than sorry. You will see a second yellow light to indicate which of your drives have failed.

Step 2: Remove the failed drive

You will see a latch on the failed drive. Be careful to slide it out of the disk array enclosure (DAE).

Step 3: Install the replacement drive

Whether you have a spare drive, or you need to obtain a replacement drive, you will then need to install it. Install the spare replacement (or spare) by sliding it into place and closing the latch. 

You will know the drive is in place because you will hear the latch click. You will know the drive is successfully installed once the yellow light turns off.

EMC Support

Call Support

In the case that your equipment is a bit older, such as EMC drives in CLARiiON and VNX, you cannot replace these with off-the-shelf hard disks. This is due to EMC uses proprietary formatting of the drives. They also format special areas and are using 520-byte sectors. 

In this case, you may need to call in support. The trouble is, unless you have a huge budget, EMC support can be incredibly expensive for EOL (end of life) and EOSL (end of service life) devices.

In this case, the best option to save both money and time, is to purchase a third party maintenance (TPM) contract. Third party maintenance (TPM) providers, such as Reliant Technology, may offer support on the drive. Typically TPM providers offer support for anywhere from 50%, to a 70% reduction in price

How Third Party Maintenance Providers Prevent Drive Failures

Third party maintenance (TPM) providers, like Reliant, offer support contracts to take care of your data center regardless of age. Using a TPM provider also helps to prevent drive failures in a few key ways.

  • Your employees will spend less time on routine maintenance, configurations, and system upgrades. Instead, all of this maintenance will be taken care of for you. 
  • By having maintenance provided more often, you will be taking better care of your drives, providing less of a chance of drive failures.
  • Reduce costs by up to 70%. This allows you to utilize your budget to purchase more replacement drives to have one hand in case of a drive failure.

When you provide maintenance more often, as preventative maintenance, you prevent drive failures. Third party maintenance allows you to do just that.

Where to Purchase a Replacement EMC Drive – Reliant Technology

If you have a failed EMC drive and you are looking for a replacement, Reliant can offer these parts at a discounted rate. Whether you need a new drive now, or you are simply looking to stock up on spare parts, Contact an EMC specialist at 1-877-227-0828. 

When you choose Reliant Technology you are choosing quick turnaround time and ultimate support. With top quality products at a great price, our engineers can help you craft the perfect storage solution for your specific data center needs.

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

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About Reliant Technology

As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.