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PCI Sata Card and Raid1

Posted on 2010-09-08
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Last Modified: 2013-12-05
I bought a PCI Sata Card to set up a Raid1 mirror of my system disk on an old Dell-PE600SC server I have at home.  I am able to mirror the system disk with no problem, but I keep reading that if there is a failure (or in advance of a failure?) I should make certain changes to the boot.ini file (or possibly the Bios), but I am unclear as to exactly what I should do.

Can anyone help me?
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Question by:Randy_R
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by:dlethe
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Unless you are reading this requirement in the documentation that came with the RAID controller card, ignore that incorrect advice.  It is applicable to software and fake-RAID.

(I assume you have configured the controller to enable hardware-based RAID1, and it is presenting a single logical drive to the O/S, and not disabling the RAID firmware and letting your windows-based O/S do software based RASID).
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by:Randy_R
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I bought this card:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001JTO79Q/ref=oss_product

It (supposedly) has hardward RAID built in but I am mirroring my system disk, which is on a separate IDE controller on my system motherboard so I'm not sure hardward RAID (which my server doesn't have) will work, or whether I am dependant on Windows 2000 software RAID. I'm new to all this, so please tell me if I'm even making sense.
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by:dlethe
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You are not doing hardware-based RAID.  You are doing software-based RAID, so you have to configure your O/S so in event either disk boots, then your O/S will still boot.   (But I strongly advise you to migrate to the PCI-based RAID controller & configure it for RAID1.   Buy another disk to use for migrating, along with an external enclosure, then you have a portable backup disk.
Heck, in today's paper, Fry's has 2TB WD SATA drives for $89.00 so it isn't as if it is all that expensive for a backup and peace of mind.
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by:Randy_R
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When you say "migrate to the PCI RAID Controler," to you mean attach 2 disks to the card I bought?  Or are you suggesting a different piece of hardward?

Also, for the moment, how would I make the OS change so my server can boot from either the IDE or supplemental SATA drive?
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by:Randy_R
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Here is what my current boot.ini looks like.

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Server" /fastdetect
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by:dlethe
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Here is the official how-to.   Unless you went through this procedure, then it probably isn't set up properly to begin with.   Just because it is set up to mirror doesn't mean it is set up to boot off a failed disk.  I suggest doing what this article says if you just want to have 2 disks.  The better way to have mirrored boot is to put both disks on the RAID1 controller.  But do not do that unless the disks are the same make/model (or your RAID controller vendor's support dept said your particular combination of unmatched disks will be fine).

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302969

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by:Randy_R
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That is exactly what I did, up until this point, where I got confused:


"If you now want to boot from the new mirrored disk, you have to change the Boot.ini ARC path that points the computer to the partition in which the system files are located."

How do I set it up boot.ini so it will first try the IDE drive and failing that, try the SATA drive to boot?
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by:Randy_R
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Can anyone help me adjust my boot.ini so that my computer will boot from either the IDE system disk, or the PCI Sata disk if the system disk is not available?
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by:Randy_R
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Or is this an adjustment I need to make in the BIOS?
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by:ken2421
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Randy,
You are right. What you are wanting is the boot order in the CMOS (BIOS). You should be able to enter the CMOS and make the boot order change depending upon the BIOS manufacturer. Order them in the way you want them booted. If the BIOS does not find a bootable partition on the first drive it will go to the second and so on. Occasionally this doesn't work all that well between the MB and a Controller card.

Good luck,
Ken
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by:Randy_R
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I now have my PCI based Sata Drive (Silicon Image 3512 controler) mirroring my C system volume on my primary IDE controller and it works fine in Windows.  But the whole reason I want to mirror the system volume is to be able to boot from the mirror should the primary fail.

My bios (A09) on my Dell PowerEdge 600SC doesn't recognize the Sata Drive connected to the SI controller.  And the mirror (Sata drive) does not have a MBR.

What can I do to get my Bios to see the drive so I can put it in the boot sequence?
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Randy_R earned 0 total points
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Solution:  buy a Pata to Sata converter for $3 and connect the Sata drive to an empty IDE motherboard channel.  The Sata PCI card can not be addressed by the motherboard and the Phoenix 1.01 a09 Bios.
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