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How to figure out if my Server is setup as an Array.

Posted on 2008-10-10
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Last Modified: 2013-12-05
Hi, thanks for your help here.  This is a long post.

This is my first time for updating hardware in any server.  I have only just started this job, and my boss asked me to add a new hard drive into our HP ProLiant ML370 G3 Intel Xeon 2.8GHz server (we want to transfer our MS Exchange data over, our existing HD is running out of space).  

We currently have one SCSI 36.4GB Compaq Disk device installed.  Our Adapter is Compaq 64-bit Dual Channel Wide Ultra 3 SCSI Adapter.

So, after reading the manuals, I then take a picture of the rack and post it on forums to ask for advice.  
http://www.fpcuk.co.uk/Rack.jpg

So, as you can see the rack is a hot-swap.  The main priority of this upgrade is to not shut-down the server, the Server is feeding the factory, and the main offices.

My point:

I think I have purchased the wrong hard drive for the Server 76.4GB - eek.  I said to my boss we do not need a drive of similar size (36.4GB) because we do not currently have a RAID Array set-up (we only have one HD) - so each disk would run independently

Additionally, the manual of the server states that if you only have a flashing activity light, and no "online" light - then "the drive is being accessed, and is not configured as part of an Array".

However, here comes the mistake, the image of the rack (above) was taken with the flash on - upon closing inspection of the hard drive, the activity light is "flashing" and the online light is "Active".  So, according to the manual "This hard drive is configured as part of an Array".

My question:

*Can one hard drive be part of an Array? (I know you need 2 drives at the minimum for RAID 0/1).
If the answer to that is no; well then how come according to manual the current drive is part of an Array.

We have an SCSI adapter, but for this particular model server, I think I would need a Smart Array Controller.  Again, if this is the case, then why does the manual state that this drive is part of an Array.

The problem here is, if I add this new drive to the Server;

a) Because of the different sizes, will this not degrade the performance of the first drive. (So would have to send the drive back, which makes me look incompetent b/c I took an image of the rack, and did not look closely at the "online" light).

b) I would have to reconfigure the existing RAID Array to include the new drive - which means a lot of research, having to come in on the weekend (getting keys of boss etc..) because to configure the RAID I would need time.

So, to my main point (I do have one!).

1)How can I tell if my Server has a RAID Array without shutting down and rebooting the Server?

2) Could you tell from the image of the rack (ie, one drive) that we do not have a RAID Array, and that it would be perfectly fine to add the second independent drive.  If this is the case, then why does the manual say if you have one flashing activity light, and one constant online light - you have a RAID Array?


Any info, tips would be most welcomed.  Thanks.


PS: Sorry for the long-winded post.  


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Question by:SpencerKarnovski
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 22685981
The short answer is no... one drive can not be a part of an array.  By it's very definition you have to have multiple drives. The type of RAID that you set up will dictate the minimum number you have to have. The server may very well have a RAID array controller, but your drive is not part of an array and adding in any other disk that is compatible with the server should not impact the other disk's performance.
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by:SpencerKarnovski
ID: 22686080
Hello jhyiesla

Firstly, thank you very much indeed for answering.  Thanks.

Of course, you are right.  Everything I have learnt is telling me that you have to have, at the minimum, two drives to be able to have any sort of Array.

Could you possibly then shed any light on the reason why the manual is saying, that if you have a flashing activity light and a constant online light, the drive is set-up for RAID, fault tolerance?

So based on this information you have, will l safely be able to insert the hot-swap drive in the rack without the need to;

1) Back-up any data on the main Server.  (We do daily back-ups on tape)
2) Reboot the Server.

Thanks.



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by:jhyiesla
ID: 22686230
I can't answer the light question, except to say that perhaps the lights are only valid with certain configurations and since you don't have an array of any kind....  but that's just a guess.

If both the drive bays and the new disk are truly hot swap, you can just insert the new disk and the system should recognize it and Windows should also see it in the Disk management console.

However, it's always a good idea to have a current backup...just in case.

I've done hot swaps in that particular server and haven't had an issue and the picture you attached looks like my server and the disks that I use.
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Author Comment

by:SpencerKarnovski
ID: 22686233
Ok - so I have just inserted the drive into the 1 stop on the Server.  As I clipped the drive in, I got a brief red flash, then nothing.  The OS has not recognised the drive, the drive is not located in Disk Management.

The drive is compatible with my machine.

Any ideas why this would happen?

Thanks.
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 22686282
Thinking back on my experiences with this I realized that mostly what I have done is to replace failed disks.  My guess is that you do probably have to reboot the server so that the controller will see the new disk.  Once the controller sees it, Windows will as well.


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Author Comment

by:SpencerKarnovski
ID: 22686408
Hi jhyiesla

Thanks for helping me here.  Top marks for you!

Just one final query, before I get onto the boss and say we do need to reboot.

When I initially plugged the drive in, I got a red flash showing in the fault light.  In your experience, does this happen every time.  Sort of like an initial flash before the Server recognises the drive; even though in this case the drive is not recognised >.<

What I am getting at, is basically for a millisecond the Server recognises the drive (With the red flash), then does nothing. "Could" this be a fault?   Do not want to have my boss standing there when I reboot only to have it not working.  Rebooting the server, or stopping people from working is a big thing in my workplace.  After all, this is a hot-swappable drive and is mean't to be recognised while the Server is on.  Thank you for your much needed help.

Spencer K
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by:SpencerKarnovski
ID: 22686955
Would just like to add that we have a SCSI tape drive running.  Would this cause any conflicts?  I should not think so, as this Server auto assigns ID's.  

Could it be possible that the Server assigned the SCSI ID 1 (existing Drive is 0) to the SCSI tape drive? This is the reason why the new Drive is not being recognised?

Thanks.
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Accepted Solution

by:
andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 22687092
>Can one hard drive be part of an Array?
As far as Proliant Smart Array controllers are concerrned, Yes. You can have a single drive as a RAID 0 array even though the terminology is technically incorrect. The distinction is that it has the metadata on it that a Smart Array controller can read.

ML370 G3 came as array and non-array models so you could have either, one way to check is to look under device manager, SCSI and RAID controllers to see if there is a Smart Array Controller in it, the other way would be to run the Array Configuration utility if it is installed - start, run HP(or Compaq) system tools, ACU.

Have you tried to scan for new devices under disk manager?

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by:jhyiesla
ID: 22687110
I think that the initial red light flashing is just the drive recognizing that it has power. But since the controller needs to be rebooted to recognize it, it doesn't spin the drive up and no no other lights come on.

Obviously the drive could be bad, but that's not likely especially if it's new and you got it from a reliable source.

As far as hot swap-ability... remember that technically you're not swapping a disk, you're adding in a new one. If you had a running drive, whether in a RAID array or single and it failed, you should be able to hot swap that drive.  The controller already knows about it so it should spin right up... especially if it's in a RAID array.  

I'd just leave the drive in the slot where it is and when you reboot it should just recognize it.  There could be one caveat, although I don't think that I've seen it since the old Netserver days.  I put a new non-hot swap drive in an old Netserver and because of the position of it in the drive bays, the system chose it as the bootable disk... which of course it wasn't. Fixing it was as simple as going into the BIOS and telling it to boot from the other disk.  But as I said I haven't seen that in years.

The SCSI tape drive shouldn't affect this.  HP does a really good job of figuring out the SCSI IDs automatically.  I don't think that I've ever had to set any SCSI anything on any drive I've ever installed and I've done some in severs that did have a SCSI tape backup.
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Author Comment

by:SpencerKarnovski
ID: 22687168
Bingo !

I do not have a Smart Array installed.  The only options listed under SCSI / RAID was the adapter card.

But, I just tried "scan for new devices" and it worked.  The activity light started to flicker, and the the drive is now recognised in Disk Management Console.

Thanks loads!

Spencer

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Author Comment

by:SpencerKarnovski
ID: 22687270
Thank you both for your help.  This is truly a great resource for us new people.

Have a good day!

Spencer
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