The initialization process serves two primary purposes and is strongly encouraged by all RAID vendors to perform prior to user access to data area – not just Promise.
First, is to scrub the media for defects. Our RAID System has no idea as to where the physical drive came from or in what condition it is in, so we test it by scanning the surface. It is better to discover the bad sector, attempt to recover, and re-map it prior to user access as the user-level may encounter a timeout while the RAID Engine performs the retries, recovery, and re-map process.
Second, is to synchronize the spindles to optimize RAID 5 writes (read others vs. read modify write).
In order to verify the integrity of the Logical Drive after the initialization has been performed, they can perform a volume fill test to write to the Logical Drive and confirm there will be no more bad sectors discovered.
They can also download the Microsoft HCT 11.2 test kit and run the Storage Data Verification test on the RAID volumes to confirm the integrity as well.
However, if these drives are truly going bad, then the S.M.A.R.T. thresholds should be exceeded and the S.M.A.R.T. status should be failed.
. Promise does report bad sectors, but because we recover the condition, we report the event as a minor severity.