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Promise FastTrak100 TX2 problems

Hi there everybody,,

I have been using a Promise FastTrak100 TX2 to mirror my disk-space for
quite some time now, but last weekend something went terribly wrong - I
had to replace one of the two disks in the mirror due to a crash and I
had to rebuild the mirror. That's where the terrible truth about the
FastTrak100 TX2 came to my knowledge...

My configuration:
I had 2 Maxtor 4G120J6 (5400rpm 120GB UDMA) hard disk drives attached to
the FastTrak100 TX2. I had the mirror configured through the on-board
BIOS of the controller, and I had RedHat Linux with kernel 2.4.18
working with the correct drivers. All worked well. My data was actually
being stored on both the disks.

In the event one of the array members should fail, the normal procedure
would be to replace the failed array member and have the on-board BIOS
of the controller rebuild the mirror. This should always work. SHOULD -
but in the case of a FastTrak100 TX2 is DOES NOT.

When I replaced the failed disk with a new disk of the exact same model
and size, I tried to have the on-board controller BIOS rebuild the
mirror. All started out just fine, but when the rebuild process was at
85% it aborted with an error-message stating that there was something
wrong with one of the disks.

I checked both disks - nothing wrong there. I tried again - same
problem. The BIOS would not rebuild my mirror. Then I started
calculating... 85% of an 120GB disk makes approx. 100GB... Maybe the
disk was too big to be rebuild by the on-board BIOS? Probably so.

Oh yes, I tried the rebuild several times. I also upgraded the BIOS to
the latest available version... It simply does NOT work for 120GB disks.

Next, I took two identical brand new 80GB disks, just to check whether
building a smaller mirror would work, and guess what, it did! So, the
problem I face is that mirroring 120GB disks is NOT supported by the
Promise FastTrak 100 TX2.

Questions I have now are the following:
- did someone actually succeed in rebuilding a 120GB mirror on the
Promise FastTrak100 TX2?
- did Promise actually TEST the rebuild process for LARGE disks? (they
obviously did NOT)
- did anyone know about this problem?

Thanks, and consider yourselves warned!

Martijn Tigchelaar.

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