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RAID in server 2008

Posted on 2008-10-06
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi
I am running IBM X3500 server, two SAS drives 146GB, I have made 2 arrays for the two drives (in control A option when the system boots up).  I have 64bit server 2008 ent edition.  Under storage options when I right click over the drives the RAID options are dim.  Do i need a software to establish RAID onto my server? which one? I thought once enabled in BIOS/control A option it will automatically be seen in the OS?
I need to test different arrays.
Help plz
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Question by:amanzoor
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 100 total points
ID: 22651194
When you use a hardware RAID, you don't configure RAID within Windows (unless you use specific RAID management software for the controller you're using.  I am not familiar with IBM servers of this kind, but it sounds very much like you have a hardware RAID.

(Also, you cannot create a software RAID if you are using BASIC disks.  I believe GPT supports RAID and I know Dynamic disks do.  But if you use a hardware RAID, you do not want to convert the existing disks to GPT (I think) or Dynamic (definitely) as doing so will make things much more difficult to deal with in a recovery situation.
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willettmeister earned 300 total points
ID: 22651248
If you want to manage the RAID volumes from within windows on an IBM server you need the serveRAID software installed on the server.  Go here http://www-304.ibm.com/systems/support/supportsite.wss/docdisplay?lndocid=SERV-RAID&brandind=5000028.

Choose your controllers then download the serveraid support cd.  Install it on your server then you should be able to manage your array see it's health etc.
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by:mds-cos
mds-cos earned 100 total points
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There are two distinct types of RAID.

Hardware RAID is what you are describing.  This is where you go into your controller (be it BIOS for built-on RAID or controller setup for add-on RAID cards).

Software RAID is controlled by the operating system (and for what it's worth is far inferior to hardware RAID solutions).  If you are running hardware RAID, the operating system is entirely unaware of this fact.  As far as the OS goes, you are running on a plain old disk.

When you start looking in Windows, what you are seeing there is software RAID.  Probably dimmed out because you have not converted your drives to dynamic.  YOU DO NOT WANT TO RUN HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE RAID AT THE SAME TIME.  (sorry, not yelling but that point is very important so I wanted it to stand out).

Some manufactureres will provide add-on drivers that allow you to view and even manage the RAID status from within the operating system.  Some of these add-on drivers will even integrate into the Windows device manager so that when you go to look at the disks you actually see RAID containers.  I don't know what IBM is providing these days.
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by:amanzoor
ID: 22652450
OK
Very productive infomation guys thanks.
I have an idea now of what type of RAID I would want to deal with, I think its HardWare RAID.  Question: when I press control+A on system boot and go into RAID configuration there I can only make new arrays, delete them, see hard drives, it never gives me any option to actually deal with RAID? Help!
-I have a CD for 'serveRAID 9 Application' this is the one which can be installed on windows, but again if I install this CD I would have to deal with software RAID, am I right?
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by:mds-cos
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What do you mean by "deal with RAID"?  The functions you describe are the functions of RAID.  Stuff like RAID level, container size, etc. come into play while you are creating the array.

Based on the name, I would have to say yes to being able to install the contents of the CD.  No, installing the application should not put you into a software RAID setup.  In Windows you don't install anything for software RAID, you just configure Windows appropriately.  I see no reason why IBM would give you a disk to re-create software RAID functionality.  Since every piece of hardware can be slightly different though, I will strongly advise that you read the manual though.  Take a hard lesson learned from one of my collegues who failed to do this and stumbled along based on knowledge of other hardware RAID solutions -- he selected the wrong answer and totally blew out the RAID configs on a live server.
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by:amanzoor
ID: 22653103
I meant I will be dealing with hardware RAID.  May be I think you are right and I missed something and simply made two arrays on 2 drives.
Thanks for the words of caution.  Since its a new server I have ample time to fully configure after testing it.
Thanks
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by:willettmeister
ID: 22653487
ServeRAID is not software RAID.  It is the software that allows windows to manage the hardware RAID.  The difference is that the RAID controller is actually performing the striping, mirroring, etc. with hardware RAID.  If it were software RAID the software i.e. the OS in the case of windows software RAID would be handling that functionality.  

You will have much more functionality if you install the ServeRAID software than you do from the hitting control A while the server is posting.  
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by:amanzoor
ID: 22653904
willettmeister:
Thanks for clarifying.  I just installed 'ServRAID 9 application' CD and it has actually many features as compared to just hitting 'Control + A'.  So it means any changes or RAIDS I make through 'ServRAID9 Application'  will be done immediately to the hardware RAID controller and next time the machine starts if I press Control + A those changes will be seen there?
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by:mds-cos
ID: 22655265
Yes, that is correct (I know, I'm not willettmeister, but I happened to be in the site checking one of my questions ;-)
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Author Closing Comment

by:amanzoor
ID: 31503465
I really appreciate your time guys.  I have learned another exciting process with this discussion.  Keep up the good work!
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