RAID arrays are always kept within the same type of drive and are never mixed, not even between model types, much less their interface.
but re-arranging the drives in each enclosure so all the drives of a certain interface type did not mix with drives with a different interface seems to have solved the problem.
one interesting observation for me was that moving the drives around from one enclosure to another broke the virtual drives that were already configured. i didn't expect that and if this is the normal behavior i will need to keep it in mind when arranging enclosures. luckily none of the virtual drives had any data.
is this the expected behavior that a virtual drive breaks when you move the drive from one enclosure to another or from one slot to another within the same enclosure?
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In my experience, moving drives from one encloser to another - even the exact same hardware - can lead to broken configurations. Although this is not always the case.
Once you create a VD you should be very careful to keep it in the same encloser and even the same slot that it was initialized in. Some enclosers may be more forgiving than others, but when I am trying to save myself the trouble, I go an extra step.
Your experience only hardens my oppinion.
i have been doing a bunch of test with different type of drives to get an idea of how they behave on this system and i have had some surprises.
Western Digital 2TB Caviar Black drives are not recognized by the expander enclosure reliably on startup.
i have two of them alone in a 4 drive expander enclosure and they behave the same regardless if they are alone in the enclosure or with other SATA drives.
the bevavior is that when these drives are hot-plugged into the cage, they are recognized and can be assigned to new virtual drive and they are stable under stress tests.
if the the system is powered down or restarted the controller's boot rom hangs on these drives and declares them as missing. on repeated restarts the quad message that started this thread is shown once in a while.
removing these drives from the cage, and restarting allows the system to boot. then hot-plugging in the drives the RWC2 tool recognizes them just fine and allows to import their connfiguration and they are good to go.
i have another type of Western Digital 2TB drives, the RE4 line, and these are rock solid without any of the behavior seen with the 2TB Caviar Black models.
the RE4 drives' interface is 3Gbit and the Caviar Blacks support 6Bbits but are supposed to be downward compatible. but apparently they don't do it as gracefully as the controller's boot rom would like!
also today i took delivery of two brand new Western Digital 600GB Velociraptors and i promptly hot-plugged them in an expander enclosure all by themselves.
to my surprise the Raid Web Console 2 tool shows them as bad and refuses to recognizes them. but they play just fine on a traditional SATA port.
any suggestions as to what is going on with these drives?