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Need help installing a raid controller with an existing software mirrored pair of hard drives.

Posted on 2004-09-13
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Hi,

I have an existing server running sbs 4.5 and it has a dual PIII 450 MB with no scsi or onboard raid controller. The software is maintaining the mirrored pair od 13 gig HD's C: and E: , two partitions each and the CDrom is D:

I want to install a raid 1 adaptec 1200 card to make the machine more efficient and install more ram before upgrading it to sbs 2000.

Can someone tell me how to do this, preferably without losing my present mirror, but what ever will work best. I only have three users right now so not a big deal to back up etc.... Please be specific as I know little to nothing about raid setups, never done one before.

Thanks,
Chuck
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Question by:webnso
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by:harleyjd
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Ghost the server onto an IDE harddriive before doing anything else.

Install the RAID drivers.

Prepare an NT4 Boot disk - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;119467

Break the mirror, move the free drive to the RAID card then mirror to it, break the mirror from the old scsi drive  -or- don't break the mirror, move one drive to the RAID card

then follow http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=141702 Don't worry about it saying IDE drives - its fairly generic... Check http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;102873 for some more details...

Once you have it booting from one disk you can roll in the second.

Article 102873 talks about ARC paths - these are the pointers to the Operating System partition, and adding and removing SCSI cards can change all this, that's why the bootdisk is important - it allows you to troubleshoot issues if the arc path changes and you need to build one from scratch...



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by:webnso
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Hi,

I dont have scsi drives, they are like udma 33 I think regular eide type connections. Also, as far as upgrading from sbs 4.5 to sbs 2000, are the NTFS partitions the same? I was just wondering if there was any advantage to wiping disks clean and doing a new install versus doing an upgrade...

Thanks,
Chuck
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by:harleyjd
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Ok.

No SCSI makes it easier!

So the new RAID is IDE RAID?

If you're keeping the disks then Slip in the RAID card, install the drivers, DO NOT break the mirror, but move one drive (the second for preference - leave the first disconnected) to the RAID card and see if it boots.

If all is OK, then upgrade away. I'd be a bit worried about having only a small partition for W2k - I like 8gigs myself, 12 if you're thinking of w2k3 in the future.

if the upgrade goes OK, then bring in the other drive and mirror away. You should be able to create the array with the server up and running, using the Adaptec manager.

It would be better to use new disks. Then you could:

install the dirvers, install the card. Create the new array straight away. Ghost the old disk onto the new array with greater space on the c: drive. Upgrade away!

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by:webnso
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Hi,

Ok, the idea of new disks intrigues me. But, what would then be the order? First, should I go with new eide udma 133/166 drives or serial ata 150 drives? Next, when would I install the raid card and drivers? Also, how do I ghost the old drives to the new drives and when would I do that? Do you ghost one old drive to one new drive and then mirror it? I upgraded the point s as the qustions are getting more in depth.

Thanks,
Chuck
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by:webnso
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Note that the Motherboard only has 100 mghz FSB and support up to udma 66 I believe.... its an asus P2B-D with dual P-III 450 cpu's
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by:webnso
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Also, if I disconnect one of the existing drives to connect the new one for ghost will this cause any problems? What if bios doesn't recognize the new drive? How would I ghost with serial ata drives? Gosh, I know nothing.....
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by:harleyjd
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With new disks I'll break it down some more:

Install the Drivers for the card:

Install the card and new disks

Create the array with the Adaptec utilities.

(here's the tricky bit - theres option that each have good and bad)

1. Break the mirror, ghost the primary master to the RAID array, with new sizes. (good, but means the now broken mirror #2 drive would need to be rebult if things go bad, mirror #1 drive is ok)

2. Don't break the mirror, ghost the primary master to the RAID Array with new sizes. (Good because the old mirror is easily reestablished. Bad beacause the NEW array will throw an error about a lost mirror)

(in general answer to your Q - no, disconnecting the mirror drives doesn't hurt per se, unless you need to boot the old server again later)

Upgrade the server.

See, the thing with that fancy RAID card is that you DO NOT use disk manager to create the mirror - it's handled completely independant of the OS. This is cool, as it takes the load off of windows and puts it right back on the RAID array. Ghost, Windows linux et al see the 2 drives in the array as a single drive. This saves oh so many headaches.

I wouldn't be too worried about the speed of the drives - the 450 is going to be the limiter...
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by:webnso
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Hi, I didnt understand this sentance.. can you explian further?

Ghost, Windows linux et al see the 2 drives in the array as a single drive. This saves oh so many headaches.


Thanks,
Chuck
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harleyjd earned 100 total points
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Ok.

At the moment you have 2 disks, right?

In Disk Manager you have told the system they are a mirrored pair.

When you move to the adaptec 1200 card you will no longer need to make the mirror under windows. You create an  ARRAY, using the adaptec software. It takes the 2 new drives, and creates one virtual drive that the OS will see. You will no longer see the 2 drives, but just one. The redundancy is taken care of at a hardware level.

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by:webnso
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HI,

Okay, here is a side question that has been buggin me. If I build a new system to replace my old system, can I just put my old hd into the new system and have it work? or is this not possible? I am under the belief that when you change a MB and chipset that you need to reinstall windows completely.... but I have my OS and programs just the way I want it but I want a faster system.

Thanks,
Chuck
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by:harleyjd
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No, it's not going to work.

You need to run an in-place upgrade on the system and move the disks to the new server when the setup has copied the files, but before it detects the hardware. This should make it detect the hardware of the new server motherboard.

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