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Switch Widows Server 2003 to a new Raid Controller

Posted on 2009-04-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a windows 2003 server running primarily as a web, email, and dns server. It was set up with a motherboard integrated ATI RAID 1 (mirroring). The integrated RAID has been nothing but trouble. We'd like to switch to a name brand RAID controller--we're considering a 3ware.

The RAID is RAID 1 consisting of two 500Gb SATA drives.

Question--Is it possible to migrate this windows installation to another more reliable RAID without having to reinstall? A lot of work went into the configuration of this server that we would prefer not to loose and "Start Over".

Thanks,
--Rick
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Question by:RangerRick1
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Expert Comment

by:rickdwebguy
ID: 24070664
What do you mean, the integrated RAID had been "nothing but trouble"?? Is it slow, does it crash, what's the trouble??

If the server is just running Web, Email and DNS, there is nothing that can't be duplicated/replicated on another machine while you resolve the issues on this one.  An "integrated" RAID controller should be better than and operating system/software version, but RAID 1 is so basic, it usually works fine whether it is software or hardware based.  

Really need to know what your "troubles' are.  
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by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 24071043
I think that wouldn't be much of a problem, I have replaced Mobo with a new one to a server but didn't have any side effects even on the long run, It just asked me to reinstall all the drivers once I restarted the server it works perfectly ... but there's a possibility that you won't have the exact results ....

So you might want to make a tape of all data on server with latest system state using ntbackup or using any software to do a full image of the system like Norton GHost or Acronis Server version.

Good luck
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Author Comment

by:RangerRick1
ID: 24071588
I have installed the latest driver and replaced the motherboard and both hard drives and all cables. I keep getting the following error several times a day:
24 ATI SB600 SATA Controller - Controller 1 Warning 2009/03/04 04:33:25 Task e7 timeout on disk (Port Number 0,Target ID 1) at LBA 0x00 (Length 0x0)

Port 0 indicates the first hard drive. Occassionally, I'll get an error indicating Port 1. It appears random.

Sometimes the RAID corrupts and the server might reboot and the mirror has to be rebuilt. I'm at a loss other than to replace the problematic raid...
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by:rickdwebguy
rickdwebguy earned 100 total points
ID: 24073391
You should be able turn off the RAID mirror, install a new RAID controller, then create a new RAID 1 array, without having to do anything with the o/s or applications.  You could even try using software RAID in Server 2003.  It should work fine in your situation because web and DNS would not be subject to many write operations - it would depend on how much email activity, and the performance of the server.
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RangerRick1 earned 0 total points
ID: 24461744
Okay an update ... this one has gone on a while.

Because it appears to not be easy to migrate to another raid (I called some third party raid companies and talked with their pre-sales support - both 3ware and adaptec advised a reinstall would be necessary) --We are working hard to save the existing installation on the existing raid.

The motherboard is an ASUS M2A-VM with an ATI SB600. I went back to our system builder and expressed our concern and problems with the RAID. They contacted ASUS and received an unofficial notice that ASUS has received reports of problems with the SB600 on the Win2003 Server OS. In fact, they stated "we don't officially support this raid on the Win2003 Server OS". Which is irritating because I informed the system builder this would be a win2003 install and they confirmed ASUS had "Win2003 Specific Drivers" available for this board.

Nonetheless, Asus says it should work if you:
1. Uninstall the ATI "Catalyst" Driver
2. Uninstall the ATI Video Driver [use a windows generic video driver - a server really doesn't anything more]
3. Re-install the SB600 Raid Driver

I guess their is some sort of conflict between the ASUS issued ATI drivers for the video, catalyst, and the sb600 raid (but evidently the problem only becomes critical on the Win2003 Server OS).

After doing the recommended changes above we have experieced stability for the past 4-6 weeks.

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