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Can't set up raid 5 on HP server

Posted on 2006-11-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-19
Hi. I was setting up Windows SBS 2003 Standard edition on an HP Proliant MX 110 G4 server with three non-SCSI 160 GB hard drives.

Everything on the install was going smoothly, until I tried to set up the RAID 5. All three disks were dynamic, but when I right-clicked on the disk to set up RAID 5, the pop up window would only allow "simple," etc. The raid 5 box was greyed out.

Is there anything I am doing wrong?

Thanks.

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Question by:Bert2005
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17976343
Perhaps this will help you out? http://support.microsoft.com/kb/323434

Jeff
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by:Bert2005
ID: 17976770
So, it sounds like when it says that you need three disks in order to make a RAID 5, it means three disks over and above Disk 0 where the operating system resides. I only have a Disk 0, 1, and 2. So, maybe only two disks are available for RAID 5, which would not be enough.

Please advise.

Thanks.

Bert
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17976813
Does your server have a RAID controller?  If so, then you can and should use the configuration software for the hardware RAID to create your volume prior to installing SBS.  Otherwise, as the KB article points out, you cannot create a RAID5 with Windows unless it is separate from the OS and boot files.

Jeff
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by:Bert2005
ID: 17976832
So, I could go back and do that. If the SBS is already installed and you must use three separated disks (from what I understand) to have a RAID 5 separate from the OS, is there an advantage to that. In other words, is having four disks with three used for raid 5 in the end better than using three disks with the raid being set up prior to the install?

 
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17976867
Essentially, yes.  If you keep your OS separate from your data, it's always better.  If you can add another drive to the server, I'd go that route... since 160GB SATA drives are less than $100 these days.

Jeff
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17976871
Plus... then you'll get 320GB of storage space if you do it that way.

Jeff
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by:Bert2005
ID: 17976885
So, I am a little confused. I have three 160GB drives. One is for the server and data, etc. The other two for the raid. That would give me 360GBs of storage space. Or do I have to use another 160GB drive for parity?

Thanks. It's all new to me.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17976907
If you currently have three 160GB drives... one is for the server... NOT data.  

Data goes on your RAID5
So you would add an additional 160GB drive to create your RAID5 with three drives.  A RAID 5 with 3 drives will result in 2/3 the total amount of space because as you stated... one is used for parity.

Jeff
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by:Bert2005
ID: 17976926
Thanks. So, if you use the first drive (of the four -- if you add one) for just the OS, isn't that a very large drive for the OS? Or can the OS drive be smaller than the three RAID 5 drives?

If all of one's data is on the RAID 5, when you do backups; do you simply back up the three raid 5 drives or would you back up the OS as well?

I guess I could set up a mirror, but then I would have an extra drive. Do you prefer a mirror setup or RAID 5 or RAID 10?

Thanks.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17976938
It is large for the OS, so I'd create a 25GB partition on it for that... and use the rest for things you don't need to back up... for instance, I'd put all of the original install CD's on there so you don't have to pull them out when you need to make an OS change.

Jeff
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by:Bert2005
ID: 17976965
What about simply using the three existing hard drives for the RAID 5 and then adding a 40GB drive for the OS? Or does even the OS drive have to be the same size as the other three?

I guess I could remove a drive and mirror the other two and then have a good drive around if I needed to replace one?

I guess this begs the question of is a RAID 1 better than a RAID 5. How do you do the backups in a RAID 5? Do you simply back up all of the three RAID 5 drives? Do you back up the OS?

Sorry, again, very new to this?
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 500 total points
ID: 17977099
You certainly could add a smaller drive for the OS.   It's just that these days, I don't usually see anything less than 80GB drives out there and the cost difference between an 80GB drive and a 160GB drive is usually about $25.00 or so.

No problem with the questions...

A RAID 5 is usually better than a RAID 1 because of the parity.  Once the RAID is created, you don't actually see three separate drives anymore... so backup would be of the VOLUME created.  

(With SBS, you should use the built-in backup anyhow... which will backup everything you need for a complete restore).

Jeff
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by:Bert2005
ID: 17977136
Thanks. By the way, is it possible to have a RAID 5 while using another hard drive to mirror the OS disk?

Thanks for all the help.

Bert
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 17977150
You can... but it's really not necessary, since the process of breaking the mirror and replacing a new drive would probably be more complicated than just restoring from backup.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_array for a good overview on RAIDs

Jeff
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