HP Proliant Server ML350 G5 - How to safely change SAS disks

Okay so we have an HP Proliant Server, ML350 G5. It has a RAID 1 mirror with 2 disks on it currently. There is one logical drive in the array, and it is booting Windows Server 2003.

We want to install Windows SBS 2008, but it will take more time for me to install it than we can afford in downtime.

I need a way to work on the new server while still keeping the old one bootable at all times, so I can work on configuring SBS 2008 in the evening, then switch back over to Server 2003 after I'm done and they can continue anothe business day without any interruption. So basically I need to dual boot SBS 2008 and Server 2003.

We purchased a third SAS disk, it's in the array right now but it isn't being used for anything. I can maybe use it temporarily to my advantage.

So... how can I do this dual boot setup? Maybe some way I can swap around the SAS disks? I know it's an ugly mess trying to dual boot Vista and XP, and I imagine Server 2003 vs 2008 will be a similar deal.
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Just install SBS2008 on the non-RAID disk and change the boot order.   You can then convert it to RAID1 when you are ready by destroying the RAID1 array and then using one of those disks for booting.

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Dual boot between Windows 2003 and 2008? Don't even try because the are running different booting methods. Windows 2008 is no longer using boot.ini. You may end up create a big mess on your current server. If you would like to load a test 2008, try to use vmware desktop. MS force a big change on 2008/Vista/7 so that upgrading from 2003 can be a bit challenge if you are not a Windows expert. :(


Hi Frosty555

the solution proposed by dlethe is ok i didn't try but i guess it might work.

they way i did is
i had two extra hard disks you can use one hard disk too.

i powered the server down
removed the win 2003 raid 1 hard disks
and installed the new two hard disks and started fresh install
when my time was up
i powered down the server removed the hard disk and installed the win2003 disks back and every thing was back.

this way you can be %100 sure that you have your old one in good condition.

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Frosty555Author Commented:

I really like this idea and it is exactly what i'd like to do. But I'm afraid of destroying the relationship between those two SAS disks, and the configuration in the bios about how they are being used (RAID 1 mirror).

Is it a valid thing to do to remove the two Win2003 disks, install the one spare, install Win2008, then when I'm done, pull the one disk, put the old two disks back in and expect the data to still be intact?
Frosty555Author Commented:
dlethe: I can install the second SAS disk, set it up as a "second logical drive" in the bios. If I do that, is it possible to select the "logical drive" to boot from? How do you change the boot order? I didn't see any options for this in the bios, the only obvious option was to boot from the SmartArray as a whole
The bios, as you learned only selects the controller, then it is job of a controller's BIOS to set the bootable device number.  You can do this from HP's ACU program. I don't think there is a way to select just the bootable logical device from the BIOS SMARTArray configurator.
Frosty555Author Commented:
The ACU program... is that this program here?


There's no way to do it from the BIOS? What if you told the array controller to boot from a drive that doesn't have a valid operating system, wouldn't you just be stuck at that point?

You've seen what the BIOS gives you, just very basic stuff like deleting arrays and creating one with defaults.  it bugs the heck out of me too, but remember that real estate in BIOS is expensive, so they gave you all the functionality they could provide without having to spend another $0.17 on a bigger NVRAM chip for firmware.
Frosty555Author Commented:
So this weekend was the deployment.

When I removed the two RAID 1 disks like artoaperjan suggested, the server stopped on boot up complaining that the two disks had "failed" and to replace them. If I pushed through the error, all logical disks were disabled. Only way to fix it was to flag the disk as failed, or delete it from the array. So that didn't work at all.

Installing Windows Server 2008 on the second logical disk like a naive user turned out to be the solution. The setup rearranged the boot order so that Windows Server 2008 boots by default, and it added the second entry into the BCD for Windows Server 2003, calling it "Earlier Version of Windows" in the boot list. I can pick which one I want to boot from on startup via the Windows Server 2008 BCD boot menu.

So Dlethe, your answer ended up being exactly right - just install it.
Frosty555Author Commented:
Long story short is dual booting windows is easy if you are going forwards in time - e.g. you have XP and you install Vista, Vista will be smart enough to set things up for you. It's going backwards that is a nightmare. Installing Vista, then trying to put XP in afterward - XP doesn't know about Vista's different booting system so it just blows away BOOTMGR and replaces it with it's own NTLDR, effectively breaking your Vista installation.
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