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Swapping a RAID Controller

Posted on 2009-07-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I have two servers that are identical in hardware. One is having problems with writing to its logical drive. I ran the built-in controller test and the controller in slot 2 fails when tested. I want to swap the controller with my other like server.  

Is this a practical idea?  

Is the RAID configuration stored on the Controller card?

Will this effect my controller setup if the RAID on the two servers is configured a little differently?

These are production servers, I have backups but I don't want to make my situation worse with this troublshooting technique. What are my risks?

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Question by:egalois
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6 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

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noxcho earned 500 total points
ID: 24830077
Hi egalois, I don't think that simple swapping will work flawless but there are still chances.
Please make backup of entire system and data drives on sector level. You can use trial version of this product for that purpose: http://www.paragon-software.com/business/db-server/
In case there is still difference in hardware, not noticed: http://www.paragon-software.com/business/adaptiveimagingtools/download.html
This second one is free yet.
The idea is:
1)Take backup of entire drive with Drive Backup
2)Switch the controllers and see if you get any problem. No problem - good. Won't work? - configure new RAID and restore from backup take by Drive Backup, it will make exactly same logical structure on array so your server will boot straight to Windows. Yes, before you take backup save the system state with Ntbackup if you have more than one DC in network.
3)As restore is done restart to Windows.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 24830211
You haven't said what make/model of servers or RAID controllers you have. Proceedures differ depending on the conytoller type.
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Author Comment

by:egalois
ID: 24831207
IBM xSeries 345.     035-253-001-20090711-61-RAID Interface  ServeRAID 5i

http://www-304.ibm.com/systems/support/supportsite.wss/docdisplay?lndocid=MIGR-43384&brandind=5000008

ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/systems/support/system_x/19k6408.pdf

I swapped the cards. Mail server fails to boot with card from backup server.  The backup server reports that the "configuration has changed"  Press f7 "if you would like to copy configuration from drives"

I need to know if I should copy the configuration from the drives. Even though the mail server fails to boot, I believe I can enter into the configuration utilitiy and copy the drive configuration from the drives to the card. But never having done this, I want to get feed back here before I proceed.

I assume that once I've done this procedure on both cards and they are written with the information from their respective new homes, I could then swap them back and do the same all over again, writing the configuration information back from the drives without serious consequence.

I found the links above while looking to identify the card - reading it now.

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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 24831899
The drives haven't changed so you should copy the configuration from the drives to the controller.
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Author Comment

by:egalois
ID: 24890584
Waiting for my controller card to arrive....
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Author Closing Comment

by:egalois
ID: 31602403
Thanks
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