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replacing disk in dell 1600sc raid

Posted on 2009-05-05
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I'm trying to set up a back up system that will get my servers up and running quickly.  I also don't ever want to deal with reinstalling software and configuring servers again.  So, here is what I am trying to do.  First, for my network server, which also services Exchange, I bought a used 1600sc (comparable cpus) and my plan is to have a recent mirrored (hot swappable) disk sitting in the recently acquired 1600sc.  If my server has a catastrophic failure, I can turn on recently acquired 1600sc and have the network back up.  I could then restore files not on that disk from back up software.

But, to get a mirrored drive off the server and to give an added dose of protection to server, I bought a new hot swappable drive to replace the mirrored drive I want to take out and put in the recently acquired 1600sc.  Well, that didn't go so well.  I thought I could just turn server off, pull out second drive from the top (it has a back plain), replace with new drive, go into set up on boot up and run 'rebuild' routine.  That didn't work because when I tried to rebuild, the system said, 'can only rebuild failed drives.'  I thought that maybe the drive had to be formatted in set up (an option) but it wouldn't do that either.

So, in short, I am asking how can I get new drive in to replace existing mirrored drive?  And secondly, do you see any problems with putting old mirrored drive in a second 1600sc as a deep back up plan?  Thanks for reading all this.  dan
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Question by:m3surveys
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jamietoner earned 2000 total points
ID: 24310466
Just to note the way you removed the drive and replaced it with a blank while the system was off is highly not recommended as it can corrupt the array. Possible you may need to do what you never wanted to do again. Force the new blank drive offline and restart and see if the system boots if it does then do the rebuild, if it doesn't pull out your disks you get to do a reinstall. The way you need to do that is after removing the drive restart let the controller fail that drive slot then install the replacement drive and do the rebuild. When you install the recently removed drive into the backup 1600sc the raid controller should read an nvram mismatch choose to load the config from the drives, it should then see the raid 1 in a degraded state then add the 2nd drive for the backup 1600sc and do a rebuild. I would turn the backup 1600sc on weekly to make sure it boots and perform updates so it's not horribly out of date when you need it.
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by:tankergoblin
ID: 24311100
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by:m3surveys
ID: 24329957
not sure I completely understand--if I am pulling out the primary drive (as opposed to the mirrored drive), why would I have a problem booting or with corruption?

as to your particular instructions, how do you force a drive off line?  and then secondly, i believe what i tried is your second option: i re-started machine with primary drive in and new blank drive replacing old mirrored drive, went to set up and tried to re-establish mirror.  the message i got was that i could not rebuild a drive that had not failed.

i'm willing to try things and i didn't think i was risking the integrity of my primary hard drive by what i was doing, which is why my first question, at the top, is very important to me.

thanks for your help.

dan
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by:jamietoner
ID: 24330410
When you pull an online drive with the machine off you need to reboot the machine without the new drive so the raid controller takes it offline, then you can put the new drive in and start the rebuild. When you remove the drive and replace it with a blank disk while the system is off the raid controller doesn't know the drive has been swapped, it still thinks it has 2 mirrored drives rather than 1 original drive and a new one, this is why it won't let you rebuild. Forcing a drive offline can be done from the raid controllers bios usually in the same menu as the rebuild option(depends on the controller you're using).
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