CERC SATA 1.5/2S on Dell SC420

Posted on 2009-04-04
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a Dell PE SC420 running SBS2003.  It was initially configured with 2 SATA drives in the dynamic disk/mirror configuration.  Since I've found this to be unreliable in case of disk failure, I decided to swap out both drives and use the CERC SATA 1.5/2S controller.

First I used Symantec's BESR program to image the boot drive (the only program I've found able to clone a dynamic disk).  When I turned on the controller and booted up using the BESR disk, I found that BESR does not support the RAID driver, and therefore had nothing to restore to.  Next I used the Dell server install disk to do a new install.  The setup program worked well and loaded the CERC driver correctly.  I was left with a brand new OS and no way to restore the original image however.

Finally, to get the system running, I went back to a non-RAID config and restored the image onto the first disk.  Whenever I try to enable the RAID controller and boot, it will go into continuous reboot.  I recall seeing a post where someone added an entry into one of the .ini files referencing the CERC driver, and got this to work.

There is another post on this website talking about the Acronis product being able to load the driver and restore the image.  I've tried Acronis as well and to my knowledge, it is also unable to load the driver.  Does anyone know what entry I can make into what .ini file to enable the system to boot into the RAID config?

Question by:acort
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

coredatarecovery earned 500 total points
ID: 24127730
First install the card and the driver before you transfer the data to the new raid array.

Once you install the driver,
Setup 2 new disks on the new raid card,
I would use ghost or your program to image the drive from raid number one to new raid number 2.

By installing the raid driver into windows first, you solve a bunch of issues. Before they begin.

So, If you need help, give a shout.


Author Comment

ID: 24131606

the steps you describe are those that I followed:

1. Image drive
2. Install RAID driver and configure array
3. Boot from BESR disk and restore image onto new RAID array
* The problem is here: BESR/Acronis etc. are not able to load the CERC driver.  I'm able to boot from the BESR disk OK, but cannot see the new array (even though it's fully built, I waited until the Adaptec configuration utility reported that the array wa built).  I checked the documentation for both BESR and Acronis, and lo and behold, neither support the Dell CERC driver.  It's possible that they support other RAID cards, but I'm trying to use the on-board CERC 1.5/2S.

When I installed the new hard drives, I wanted to make sure that the RAID controller worked, so I used the Dell server install CD to do a fresh install.  It worked great and WIndows recognized the RAID fine.  I should have looked at the boot.ini/system.ini entries, but didn't.  I then wiped both drives, configured in RAID, and tried restore - which doesn't work for the reasons above.  Next I restored onto the first drive, wiped the second drive, configured into RAID 1 using disk 1 as the source - but then got the continuous reboot issue.

I recall seeing a post about solving this by adding an entry into either a boot.ini or system.ini file.  Perhaps someone on this list has a CERC 1/5/2S running on Windows 2003 and can take a look at their system?

I suppose I could do another image, do another fresh install, record the .ini values, then rewipe, restore to the first hd, boot up with it, add the .ini values, reboot and build the new array, and see if that works.


Alexis Cort
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 24131927
Alex, I suppose you will have to do the backup and restore in windows including the system state.

I understand the problem you are having and don't have any suggestions to just blow it onto the new drive array.

You would have to create the array and setup windows and basic drivers, connect to your backup and restore the whole computer including system state.

a lot more work but, this will work for you.

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