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Raid 5 and Dell Open Manage

Posted on 2004-10-08
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We just purchased a Dell PowerEdge 1750 with a RAID 5 controller, 3 76 gig 10,000 RPM SCSI drives.  When I ran the Dell OpenMange cd I partitioned the drive at 40gb.  Then once I installed 2003 Server I went into the Disk Manager and allocated the other 120ish gb to the d:.  How do I know that the Raid 5 will work for the d: partition?  Is there a way to test.  The controller came with software but I am not 100% sure how to use it.  Should I have allocated the 120 gb using its software as a Virtual drive?  Or did it do the same thing buy allocating it using disk manager?

Thanks.
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Question by:r270ba
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8 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:dcsys
ID: 12261412
If you reboot the machine and hit <CTRL>M when prompted while the array controller posts, you should see one RAID5 container. The OS will see this as one single ~140GB drive. Your D: partition is part of the RAID-5 container. As long as the array controller has one RAID-5 container, you are OK.
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Author Comment

by:r270ba
ID: 12261489
You mean like backplane(channel 0)?  When I go into the RAID mgt I see 3 disks (which is correct).  The are contained in 1 array controller listed under Backplane(channel 0) and there is nothing listed under channel 1.  Is this correct?
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Author Comment

by:r270ba
ID: 12261581
Actually it goes like this:

+Arrays
  +PERC Subsystem 1
     +Array Group
        +Virtual Disks
          -Array Disk 0:0
          -Array Disk 0:1
          -Array Disk 0:2
     +Backplane(Channel 0)
       -Array Disk 0:0
       -Array Disk 0:1
       -Array Disk 0:2
     Channel 1 (Ready)
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Expert Comment

by:chumplet
ID: 12263349
Those (3) drives, from what you tell me, are configured as a hardware RAID 5 drive.  In other words, you have (3) harddisks acting as one physical drive.  When Windows is installed, it sees just one physical drive -- it does NOT have any idea about the individual harddisks that make that disk space up.  At that point, you are partitioning that RAID 5 drive into as many logical drives as you like.  If you made all of the usable space into one 150GB drive, it would be RAID 5.  If you instead made a total of (15) 10GB drives, they would all be RAID 5.  Once you've made those drives part of the RAID 5, it doesn't matter how many partitions  you make, they're all covered under that same RAID 5 -- for better or for worse.  If one of the drives degrades (fails) all of those partitions are affected at the same time, but you should still be fine as far as data loss is concerned.

Does that make sense?

You can use Windows disk manager to configure the partitions just fine.  It sounds like your setup is right-on. :)

Chumplet
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Author Comment

by:r270ba
ID: 12263490
Is there any way to test this before I move production over to this server?  These drives are supposed to be hot swappable...should I pull one while the machine is on?  

Also I was under the impression that with RAID 5 you can lose a drive and still work from the other 2 without losing data....then once a new drive came in rebuild it and you would be back up and running on 3 drives again.....is this wrong?

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chumplet earned 2000 total points
ID: 12263738
You can pull one drive while the system is on, but be prepared for some SERIOUS beeping while the drive is out and rebuilding.  It's pretty obnoxious, actually, so you'll want to either isolate the box in a room *or* figure out how to "silence" the RAID alarm in the software.  You can also silence the alarm in the RAID bios (CTRL + M to get there, usually).

Your second comment/impression is correct -- you can lose one drive and still function properly.  Losing two drives, on the other hand, is bad news!  Don't go there! ;)

Chumplet
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Author Comment

by:r270ba
ID: 12268301
Thanks a lot Chumplet!
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Expert Comment

by:fox404
ID: 13801272
what if i want to add in an additional harddisk to my Dell machine, i want it to be part of the RAID, can it be done ?
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