Need help with Dell server configuration

Posted on 2010-08-28
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Hello and thank you for taking the time out to help me with my question. You time and input is highly valued. Thank you.

I'm on the dell website right now configuring a server. I was advised by pmanno " I would go with fast RAID1 for the OS on smaller drives, then create another RAID5 volume (SATA) (with spare) for network shares and such.  For example, if the machine has six drive bays, put in two hard drives for the OS in a RAID1, then four 500G in RAID5 (with one drive as a hot spare)."

Your input on this matter is greatly appreciated. Thank you...


I'm a bit confused. I selected Raid1 w/ 2x160gb hard drives but i'm not sure what controller i should choose for Raid5 config. Please be advised that budget is an issue.

 dell config
The smallest hard driver Dell offers are 160GB. I selected those for Raid1 on which the OS will reside on. I'm not certain how i should set up the partition on the hard driver. Should I use the whole thing for C driver or half 80GB. The selection for costumeization is not to clear to me.

 dell config1
Question by:loshdog
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 33551022
You don't need an additional controller for that setup.  You can get a PERC 6 or PERC H700/H800 that will handle as many RAID arrays as you need, including a RAID 1/RAID 5 configuration.  If you don't have the option of configuring a RAID 1/RAID 5 on the website, I would call it in - they can often do it for you.  If they cannot, then just order it in a RAID 5 or RAID 0, or whatever, then wipe it out and configure it as needed when it arrives.

As for the 160GB drives for the RAID 1 OS drive ... you will probably never need more than 80GB for your OS partition, so you could have an 80GB second partition.  If it were me though, I would get the RAID 5 drives with plenty of space, then just leave your OS partition at 160GB - you can always shrink it if you need it later.

Another option - if you aren't interested in reconfiguring/reinstalling - would be to order the RAID 1 configuration, then order 4 more DELL drives for your RAID 5 to add in and configure later.  Just get the PERC 6 or H700, as the SAS 6 and lower end PERC's cannot do RAID 5.
LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 33551030
BTW ... the "additional controllers" listed in your screenshot are for EXTERNAL storage only.

Author Comment

ID: 33551078
Hello and thank you for your response. I reconfigured as suggested. I don't have an option to select two different raids so i did as you recommended. Select Raid1 and added 4 more hard drives. Can you please take a look at the screen shot and let me know if i made the correct selections.

Thank you..

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LVL 33

Accepted Solution

PowerEdgeTech earned 500 total points
ID: 33551139
That would work, if the website configurator allows it (it is probably giving you an error right now saying that RAID 1 requires exactly 2 drives, of the same size and speed).  The controller will do this configuration, so if you can't configure it on the website, calls a Sales Rep to see if they can do it for you.  (Most times there is a RAID 1/RAID5 option.)  If they say they cannot do it, for whatever reason.  Then you can see about ordering the server with just 2 drives in the RAID 1, and order 4 larger drives separately - configuring these drives in a RAID 5 is very easy.  The drives, as long as they are purchased from Dell, will be covered under the server's warranty.

Author Comment

ID: 33551230
Thank you ...

And yes you are correct the website is giving me an error.

I attempted to call Dell but their server configuration support people are not on during the weekends.


Author Comment

ID: 33551270
I finished configuring the server. Just need to add the cals now. Not sure but might be able to transfer sbs 2003 to sbs 2008 we just bought the calls and server started to show many signs of eminent doom.

I still need to call dell on Monday and see about the Raid5 configuration on the controller. The website does not allow me to configure two raids on single controller.

I attached the configuration spec sheet. Please let me know if this configuration is a good one.

Client needs exchange and file server. I believe this is sufficient enough.

Thank you..


Author Closing Comment

ID: 33551280
Thank you for your time and input PowerEdgeTech.It is greatly appreciated. Please review the attached pdf w/ the specs of the server. I want to make sure i did not make a mistake.

Thank you again.

LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 33551434
Your config looks good and should be fine for a reasonable number of users/usage.  

Also, if you're not already familiar with the Dell warranties ... with a 5x10 warranty, parts/service are only sent for Next Business Day, serviced within business hours (8-6), only on business days.  So, worst case scenario, if your server crashes Thursday at 4PM, it would be down until Monday, as late as 4PM.  That is a worst case scenario ... I just thought I'd bring it up in case potential downtime is is a big issue ;)  Alternatives are costly 4-HR response contracts, but it is a cost to weigh against the repercussions of downtime.

Author Comment

ID: 33551789
Thank you PowerEdgeTech. I appreciate your input. Have a nice night.


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