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W2K Adv. Server install on RAID 5 hardware

Posted on 2004-08-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
After having installed W2K Adv. Server on a newly purchased RAID 5 (4 SCSI disks) server, i find that by using disk management there is no unallocated space that must be present for the conversion to RAID 5 dynamic volume. It shows all disks using the same drive letter ( C:\ )...Please advise.

FYI: i did provide a floppy disk driver for Adaptec SCSI during the F6 press during the W2K Setup

thanks
TC
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Question by:clebrowns
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Expert Comment

by:miloudi
ID: 11699800

Hi,
Could you give more details?
How big are the drives?
You mean you want to convert your disks to dynamic volumes, right...
I believe that if you used the RAID was setup properly, you want be able to see the remaining of the drive space, parity used for that...
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/en/server/help/default.asp?url=/windows2000/en/server/help/dm_raid5_overview.htm
................
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Accepted Solution

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potuncle earned 260 total points
ID: 11699826
Your server probably has a RAID card in it. This allows you to have a hardware based RAID instead of a softwark based one. Software based RAID's do not need any special hardware and they are configured in Windows Disk Management. Hardware RAID's are controlled by the RAID card, and as such, Windows will see the RAID as a single drive. To configure your hardware RAID, you need to enter the Adaptec RAID configuration before Windows boots. Reboot your server and before Windows starts you should be prompted to press a key or keys to enter RAID setup (I believe it's Shift-S for Adaptec cards). Once you are in the RAID setup, you can change the configuration of your array.

BTW, hardware RAID is much better performance-wise and reliability-wise than a software based one.

Jason
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Expert Comment

by:sirbounty
ID: 11700064
potuncle has given you the correct answer here.
There are two ways to create an array of disks.  A) Using a RAID controller or B) using Windows' support (within the appropriate OS).
The hardware solution (A) is much faster and more stable and reliable than the software route (B).  If your RAID configuration was established before Windows was installed, then you are all set.  Your logical drive (the 4 disks minus the total amount of one of them) is your entire RAID 5 partition.  There's nothing more to configure.  
Are you having some other sort of issues with it?
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Author Comment

by:clebrowns
ID: 11700382
to potuncle and sirbounty,

forgot to mention that the server is actually a hardware based RAID so i suppose that all i have to do is to configure the preboot RAID setup (it does say press " CTRL + A " to setup RAID on preboot screen ).  if that is correct, will try that tomorrow morning 8-3-04 eastern time and let you guys know.

TC
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Author Comment

by:clebrowns
ID: 11700409
to miloudi,

there's no space left, was trying to say that all disks are already combined into one system or boot partition that cannot be converted to a volume, microsoft says only non-boot or non-system partition can be converted into volumes.

TC
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Author Comment

by:clebrowns
ID: 11700607
to all,

i think i need to be clear...i'm trying to find a way to convert the already formatted system partition to RAID 5 dynamic volume and if you mind, take a look at my response to miloudi...total space of 3 disks minus 1 reserved for OS is 105 GIGABYTES...the time it takes to install OS on that much space is not worth reloading...

thanks once again
TC
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Expert Comment

by:potuncle
ID: 11700716
Generally a server comes configured with one drive that's not part of the array that is the system/boot drive. The array is then configured as another (virtual) drive that's used for data. If for some reason the system was installed on the array, I suggest using software such as Norton Ghost to create an image of the current system drive, repartiton/reconfigure your drives so that you have one drive for the system and the other 3 for the array, and then use Ghost again to restore your system image onto the system drive.

So, look at the preboot RAID configuration and see if all 4 drives are assigned to a single array, or more likely, there is one single drive and 3 others that are either unassigned or alredy part of the array. Also, in the Windows Disk Management, if you only see on disk listed then either all 4 drives have been configured into the array, or only the system drive is configured and you will need to go into the preboot RAID configuration and create an array out of the remaining 3 drives. Note, with a hardware RAID array, the array is going to show up as a single drive in Windows Disk Management because the RAID card makes the array seem like a single drive to the system and Windows.

If for some reason all 4 drives have been configured into the array and the system is installed on that array I would definately fix this by either using the image/reconfigure/restore image process I outlined above, or purchase a fifth drive and install it as a non-array disk and then use Ghost to image what's on the array to it and then use the single drive as your boot/system disk.

Jason
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Assisted Solution

by:sirbounty
sirbounty earned 120 total points
ID: 11710151
Typically, in the numerous servers that I've been involved with anyway, you would have a RAID1 hardware based array housing your OS/System partition and then a RAID 5 containing any other data (user data, etc).

You do not want to implement both a hardware and software array - then you're using multiple disk subsystems and it can cause you problems.   You won't be able to set up a dynamic system partition in either case, but you can set your data array as dynamic.  At minimum to accomplish a setup like this, you'll need one more disk (if I understand correctly that you have 4 now)....
Disk 0 + 1 = Raid 1 (mirroring) (can be all of your system partition, or if it's large enough, you can split it and use a portion for something else - system state, log files, system programs, etc)
Disk 2-4 = Raid 1 (disk striping w/ parity).
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Assisted Solution

by:orion411
orion411 earned 120 total points
ID: 11712075
To me it sounds like you already have a RAID5 array setup on the 4 drives. So you probably have one large disk that you installed Windows on. If this is the case then you already have the answer. You can't convert a disk that contains a system partition from Basic to Dynamic. This is just not possible. You need to create two logical drives on on your RAID array. The first step in RAID setup is creating a RAID array. This is where you tell your RAID card what physical drives to use and what RAID level to use for data protection. After this you are asked to create a logical drive. Usually people just use the easy mode wizard simpleton option and it just sets it all up into one drive. You can do a custom setup and tell it to only use 20GB. Then setup another logical drive with the remaining 85GB. Now install Windows and you will see two disks available. Install Windows to the 20GB disk. When that is done you can use disk manager to create a dynamic disk on the 85GB logical drive.
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Author Comment

by:clebrowns
ID: 11720457
sorry for the long delay, i was able to configure the preboot RAID array and had to reload W2k Server and it came up as potuncle, sirbounty, and orion just explained.  I got 1 logical drive for storage, 1 for page file, and 1 for OS.  its running great.

i tried to give assisted answer to sirbounty and orion but i dont how to do that..is it too late to do that ?
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Author Comment

by:clebrowns
ID: 11720492
to add my recent comment, i also want to give "assisted" points to sirbounty and orion...please advise

thanks again
TC
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Expert Comment

by:sirbounty
ID: 11722718
clebrowns - as you've accepted this and it's 500 point-value, generally, the only option is to request it be reopend in Community Support.  As I'm a Page Editor though, I can reopen it - and you can use the Split Points link just above your comment box to divide the points as you wish.

Thanx - glad you got it working. : )
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