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windows 2000 server mirrored drives

Posted on 2004-08-31
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Hello, I am going to mirror 2 data drives on W2000 server. This may sound silly but, if a drive fails, how will I know which one? Will it announce itself across the network? Local message on the server? Or, do I have to look in Disk Management every so often and watch for unhealty drives? Thanks
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Question by:jvf
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by:kinveachy
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Disk Manager is probably the best.  However, depending on the type of failure, you'd probably get an error light on the actually drive that's got the problem etc.  Alerts and notifications depend on the type of drivers and hardware you've installed and whether your server came with any monitoring software?  In past experience with a failed mirrored drive on a Compaq server, the lights on all the mirrored drives were flashing (which catches your eye to the problem fairly quickly) and diskmanager was then used to find out what the problem was and whether i could reactivate the mirror or whether a new drive was required.....
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by:Duncan Meyers
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Were you planning to use Dynamic discs to do the mirroring or use a RAID controller card to do it for you? If you are using the hardware solution, which controller card are you using?
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by:Cyber-Dude
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Simple,
One way is as kinveachy descibed, the Disk Manager. You may also be aware when a disk is problematic by just watching the event viewer and see some potencial SMART messages along with any bad sectors the OS may encounter with. This will provide you enough time to replace the defective drive BEFORE a true catastrophy is occuring.

More info? Just tell...

Cyber
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by:kinveachy
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Oh yeah - forgot about the Event Viewer!!!  Nice call...
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by:tapkep
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Is it software RAID (disks are connected to EIDE/SATA controllers, everything else is done by OS), or are disks connected to RAID controller?

If software RAID - Event viewer is your best friend. If you have RAID controller - install management software (from Adaptec, Promise - depends on manufacturer). Then you can configure when and where to send notifications (it can be message/email/sms).
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by:mcp_jon
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How will you do the mirror ?

Windows Dinamic disks or 3rd party hardware ?

Through the Event Viewer you can monitorize it.
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by:jvf
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From your responses, it seems that how I implement mirroring will affect the “alarm system”. My planned method (after I read the chapter again) is to use the native 2000 Server mirroring functionality. If there IS a drive problem, the next problem is that this server resides “out of sight, out of mind” in the corner of a small office. It doesn’t even have it’s own monitor. It shares everything via a KVM switch with a nearby workstation.  It runs a client/server application for a small dental practice and I occasionally service the hardware and tweak the software. When I’m not there (the norm), the good Doctor is left to fend for himself. He has learned how to poke around and I’m reasonably sure I could teach him how to monitor the system if it does not produce an “active alarm” upon trouble. He’s pretty good about running a tape backup but wants to go completely paperless (yeah, right) and wondered if we could do anything else. I image the OS drive every so often and suggested that we could add another data drive and use mirroring for the two data drives. He got the extra drive (same capacity as the existing data drive, of course) and we’re getting ready to put it in.
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by:mcp_jon
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Ok, do it, but keep in mind that you will have to upgrade the disks to Dymanic and only then, create the Mirror Set. Also keep in mind to teach the good doctor how to use Event Viewer, and when to alarm you should anything happen .

Best Regards
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Lee W, MVP earned 150 total points
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With 2000 mirroring, it is NOT Dynamic - don't misunderstand - you need dynamic disks, but if one of the disks fails, the server WILL go down - got this directly from a MS tech when I had an issue mirroring in 2000 server myself.  Basically, you'll have an exact copy of the system on the other disk and can use that, but it will require manual intervention to get up and running again.  A better bet would be to get an ATA RAID card (assuming the drives are ATA) and setup a hardware RAID.  The software included with the RAID card would likely warn you of a failed drive.

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by:tapkep
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My experience with software RAID (NT 4.0 Server, mirror):
* you can't get system partition mirrored (this is true for any software RAID)
* disks should be on different controlers - primary master, secondary master - or performance decreases (still, it might be acceptable)

For eventlg monitoring, you can look at these tools: http://www.kiwisyslog.com/
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by:Lee W, MVP
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tapkep - 2000 will mirror the system partition (I have a server at home running it and several at my last job).  You may be right about NT4 though.
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by:exx1976
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tapkep - I don't know where you got your information, but even NT4 would mirror the system partition..  Just took some reconfiguring of ntldr to boot from it if the first drive went south (hence all the questions about ARC paths on the MCSE exams...).

Now, however...   Depending upon how much money the good doctor wants to spend, you have a few options:  software mirroring using what he's got.  Buy a hardware RAID card to use the two drives he has (ATA, IDE, whatever).  If he's REALLY that concerned about data availability and integrity, and is not opposed to $$, then go grab a couple of SCSI disks and a nice Adaptec 2100s...

HTH,
exx
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by:jvf
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Good comments all, and Thanks.
Leew points out a failing of Server's system that I was unaware of: regardless of alarms, It'll go down. This I don't need. I thought introducing a hardware solution might complicate matters but I've been convinced otherwise. I headed to the Promise website and found a FastTrak100 TX2 Pro card. It comes with 2 hot swappable cases and software so it seems that Leew has provided the most complete answer  
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