Can I restart server in middle of Background Initialization to start OS installation?

Posted on 2008-12-06
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I have a Dell with 4 drive RAID 5. I lost the server when 2 drives went down.

So I put in 2 new drives and used the Perc Bios to rebuild the 4 disk RAID 5 Array and a logical drive.

It started a Background Initialization a few minutes later.

I have read that you can stop a BGI and it will restart again later. I want to start installing the OS ASAP but only if it is going to work successfully ;)

Can I stop the BGI, soft restart the server and start installing the OS and let the BGI start again so I can get on with my rebuild project?
Question by:johnnydcusa
    LVL 24

    Expert Comment

    The background initialization of a redundant virtual disk prepares the virtual disk for parity information and improves write performance. It is important that the background initialization be allowed to run to completion. You can, however, cancel the background initialization. When you do so, the controller will restart the background initialization at a later time.
    I got this from here:
    I hope this information helps. Good luck.

    Author Comment

    Thanks Andrew. But I had already read that information.

    the article also states "Because the initialization is run in the background, other processes can continue while the initialization completes. "

    Does this mean if I restart the machine and allow it to boot up to the OS CD it will start the BGI again but I can be going through the OS installation process at the same time as it does the BGI?

    It has already been running a couple of hours; I have raid 5 on 4 x 73GB HD's.

    Any thoughts?
    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution

    I do believe you have to let it finish before you can start writing data to the disk. It may show you how much time is remaining if you view the virtual disk. When use a Perc6i card I know you can view the progress, but I am not sure for a Perc4i card.

    Author Comment

    You can only view the Initialization progress if you start it manually. If you wait over 5 mins (as I did while reading the documentation) it starts automatically to run BGI and I cannot see how far it has gone. Just saw a post on an HP site which said it took 4 hrs - but didn;t mention drive size ;(

    I'll keep this open a little longer to see if there are any other substantive comments about this issue....
    LVL 24

    Expert Comment

    Ya, keep it open for a few and see if anyone else has any ideas. Personally I would just wait it out. Go watch a movie or something and when you get back it should hopefully be done. Watching the screen right now is most likely like waiting for water to boil. Hopefully it will be done soon.
    LVL 55

    Assisted Solution

    HP site is irrelevant since HP make their own controllers and use their own algorithms (although they do use Adaptec and LSI chips for the interface). With HP Smart array controllers you can reboot, power off and do whatever you like during background initialisation which can indeed take hours but doesn't stop you installing the OS. It's probably the same with PERCs but I don't know Dell very well.

    Expert Comment

    I spoke with Dell support on this before and according to the technician you can write data to the array as long as the BGI process has completed a higher percentage of the array than you are initially planning to use.  In other words if you are installing an OS that will use 25GB on a 500GB array, then 5% of the BGI needs to be completed before starting the install.  Once BGI is complete you can use the entire drive.  We have performed this with 2950/1950/R710's with PERC 6/i and also with MD3000 arrays attached to PE Servers with no issue.

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