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Exchange Server Disk Failures With Event ID 51 and 57

Just the other day I experience one of the worst system crashes that I had ever experienced with our exchange server. My Exchange Server DAG failed with event id 51 and 57 showing in the system logs.

I guess I should not call this “one of the worst crashes”.  I have experienced many in the pass.  This is normal, when working in an Information Technology department, especially working with exchange server.

Who was it that said that an Exchange Server administrator knows everything about exchange server?  Well, I for sure do not, or did I ever confessed to have known everything. Thanks to Microsoft, who always assist me when I am unable to resolve a situation as quickly as I should have. Many situation can normally be resolved, but when time is against you, researching the error thoroughly is not sometimes possible.

My Server Basic Configuration

Let me explain a little bit about my configuration first, so you understand what I am trying to explain regarding our system failure.  I have four servers in my environment.  Server A and  B are being used in my DAG configuration.  Are you familiar with Dags?  I will briefly explain.

DAG stands for Database Availability Groups. It is a build in component within Exchange Server created especially for redundancy.  Having a DAG setup in place is one of the best ways to minimize downtime and protect your system, in the event of a failure.

Most persons using a DAG configuration will say that backups are not required, as long as you have redundancy in the form of a DAG.  What if corruption of you data had replicated to all members of the DAG.  The only way to recover would have been from a backup.

Server C is used as an archive server while Server D is just there in the event I need to test an installation. Each server is setup with two controller cards so we can separate the log files from the databases.

Drive “C” on each server has the operating system with a raid one configuration.  Drive “D” is a partition on the same disk.  Drive “E” is where the databases resides in raid five (5) configuration.  This is where the failure originally took place. Server “A” was the server that experience the problem.

The Issue / Problem

Drive “E” on Server “A” where the databases resided were accessible, but we were unable to see any data.  I immediately went through a series of test including walking physically to the server room.  On arrival I noticed that only one drive on partition “E” where the database resided on was the only one showing a green light.   The remaining four drives on Drive “E” was showing no light at all.”

As I have mentioned earlier drive “E” was on its own controller card with a raid 5 configuration to protect in the event of a failed drive. Raid 5 requires that three or more physical drives are required to create the configuration.  My server had four drives in place.  As I said earlier only one drive in the configuration showed a green light, all others were dead.

On further investigations of the failed server, our system logs continually showed error messages in the form of event id 51 and 57.  These events are normally related to disk failures. These errors were later confirmed by Microsoft as being related to hardware disk failures.  Microsoft does not deal with physical system issues, so I had to open a case to HP, who created the server hardware.

HP later advised that one of the controller card had failed that the four drives were attached to.  We ran a series  of tests along with HP but could not find any physical errors with the controller card.

At first I suggested that we boot the server, but I hesitated because I wanted HP to physical check first. Eventually we booted the server and that did resolved the error. On boot of the server there was an error message acknowledging that the controller card had locked.  This could have also been as a result of the server running out of resources.  The server had about 12 GB of Ram.  I eventually doubled the amount of Ram.  The server is presently up and running.

I eventually rebuild the DAG on Server A, but did not fail-over the databases because I wanted to ensure that the server was okay.  My organization will continue running on Server B until I am satisfied that all has been resolved.


This day October 20, 2012, and a Friday eventing at that, will go down in history of one of my not to good days, as an Exchange Server Administrator.

The comforting part about this day is that everything happened for a reason.  If you have no problems with Exchange Server, then your will never increase your knowledge base as an Administrator. Of course as Administrators, we should never welcome problems.

Below is a final letter that I had received from Microsoft acknowledging my issues.  You may notice several links to documentation from Microsoft in relation to backups.  this is because I asked the technician to send me more information.


“Hello Andrew,

It was my pleasure to work with you on case# 1121———-.  As per our discussion, I will be archiving your case today as resolved . If you have any comments or questions regarding the handling of your case, please feel free to contact my manager Shivraj Chopra at 425-000-0000 Ext- 64228 or Email at: 

 Also, please remember that if you have any additional problems that are directly associated with your original issue, you may call back and have this case reopened at any time within the next 90 days.

Andrew, have a great day, and thank you for your continuing support of Microsoft products!. I am providing you with a summary of the key points of the case for your records.



Passive database copies failed and change state to  FailedAndSuspended on DAG member “Server A ”



>Found all databases on passive node  were FailedAndSuspended except one database Exec_VP\Server A.

>Identified that healthy database was store on different drive g:\ and all effected was on E:\

>Checked event found disk related events 51&57.

>Identified issue is with hardware.

>Fixing the hardware issue resolved the issue .



End Microsoft Letter.


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What You Need to Know About Entry Level Information Technology Jobs

Inquiring about entry level Information technology jobs would not be something that a regular person would be doing.

Either you are considering changing careers, or you are probably a college graduate trying to get some experience in computers, so you can be equipped for your next big job.

The term Information technology is sometimes referred to as “IT”, and can relate to many career paths. Wikipedia, a popular on-line encyclopaedia defines this term as, “a branch of knowledge concerned with the development, management, and use of computer-based information systems”.

This article will approach this topic from the same perspective as Wikipedia’s explanation. The majority of jobs in the Information Technology field are centred on the management and development of computer systems, and technology. For this reason, many entry levels to advanced jobs are available in data centers around the world.

There are many basic characteristics present in all entry level information technology jobs.  Being armed with what characteristics to look for will give you the best chances of success, in finding a good entry level information technology job.

If you are in the process of changing careers then you may have some difficulty in finding the right entry level technology job.  This is especially true, if you have no knowledge or experience about information technology.  Always remember that once you have acquired some basic training in computers, then you would be in a better position to get the right entry level job, in an information technology department.

You should also be aware that if you have no degree, or experience in computers that you can still adapt and learn, as long as you have the desire to do so. Everyone has a chance, as long as they are shown the correct path to follow.

Experience has shown that many individuals who had only acquired a high school diploma or a leaving certificate, were able to advance through the ranks within a data centre, and into many advanced to medium tech jobs.

Listed below are the names, and basic details of some of the many entry level, to advanced tech jobs that are available in many information technology departments today. These jobs are listed from entry level first, to advance.

Entry Level Positions

Many of these positions that are listed below do not require a degree in computer science.  Sometime a high school diploma with the willingness to learn is all that is required.

  •  First Level Tech Support, or Help Desk Support Technician

Working in first level tech support represents one of the most basic entry level jobs that you can acquire. You do not even need a degree in computer science to fill this position.  A basic high school diploma may be all that is required, with some basic knowledge of computers.

Even if you have a bachelor’s degree in computers but no experience then this would also be a very good place to start.  Most employers prefer some experience, even with a degree.

First level tech support would be considered training grounds for second level technical support.  The day to day routine working in the tech support department consists of answering the phones when people call into the department for help, and taking clear notes about the customer issues.  This information is then passed on to the second level support technician.

  •  Second Level Tech Support, or Help Desk Support Technician

Second level tech support can also be classified as an entry level position.  A diploma may be required, but not necessarily needed. As long as you are able to demonstrate some technical ability in the area of computer repairs, then you would be considered teachable.

  •  Network Operation Support Technician

The network operations support technician assists with the monitoring of the entire infrastructure, and computer equipment of a company.  This monitoring is done using sophisticated monitoring appliances and tools.

All that is required to work as a network operation center personal employee would be common sense and the ability to act on issues as quickly as possible. No technical abilities may be required, but having some ability may be a plus.

  •  PC Repair Technician

A computer repair technician takes care of all computer related repair of desktop computers.  Persons working as computer repair technicians also work along with the system administrator when servers are being prepared for deployment.

Working as a PC Repair Technician is somewhat entry level in nature also.  Even though it is a specialized job it can still be filled in time by an entry level person.

Sometimes we have to separate abilities or gifting in areas related to repair, from persons that are gifted in software applications. In many organizations you sometimes will encounter individuals that are really gifted in hardware support.  If you try to fit an individual with talents in repairs into an administrative role, sometime that individual will fail.

Medium to Advance Positions

The positions listed below are advanced to medium and may require some kind of specialization to perform the duties required.

 This person normally works along with the System Administrators of a company.  This position requires trust and dedication.  Trust, mainly because you would have wide open access to every employees email, including the Vice President of a company.

The day to day duties include the administration of the company’s email system. An exchange system administrator sometimes administrates the active directory of a company in the absence of a system administrator.  This normally happens within small to medium organizations because of their inability to hire more employees.

This is also a specialized job function, but with some knowledge can be filled in time by anyone that has extensive understanding of email systems including Microsoft Exchange Server.

The beauty of being an exchange administrator is that you would be highly respected by management.

  • Windows System Administrator (Microsoft Applications)

These persons normally administrate Microsoft systems, including Active Directory and other Microsoft applications. They also work with other third party application like Symantec Backup Exec, and Net backup Applications.

The duties of this person may include the daily administration of the company domain, including adding new users to the company network.

  •  Network Engineer

Network Engineers normally works in the Network Services department and takes care of the infrastructure and security of the entire network of a company. Persons working in the network services department are normally persons that have acquired some sort of Cisco Certification.

This position is very specialized and can only be filled by a certified Cisco person or someone that possesses the ability to learn quickly. These persons are also known as the gate keepers of the company assets.

If you would like to pursue Exchange Server as a career path please CLICK HERE.