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Rebuilding Server with Win2003 SBS onto SCSI Array

Posted on 2011-03-08
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I have a server that totally blew out.  All I got was "no operating system found".  It was running a RAID 5 across 4 disks.  One was blown.  I gave up trying to fix it and simply started installing an old copy of Win2003 SBS I happened to have.

When setting it up, it found the 3 remaining drives (I tossed the other), not the virtual drive formed by an array.  So, rather then screw with it, I just partitioned one of the drives and moved on with the setup.

Now, when this thing finishes grinding away, I'd like to set it back to an array.  Is that going to be difficult?  can anyone find a nice check-list of how to do that?
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Question by:Danielcmorris
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dlethe earned 250 total points
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Yes, as a matter of fact, it will be difficult.  You just can't convert a non-RAID into a RAID and keep the data.

Better to just start over and build the RAID the right way.  (But the procedure is to add the RAID drivers, then use some software like ghost or acronics, or something that has the built-in RAID drivers)

It will be much faster & easier if you do it on the RAID to begin with.
Tip if you are doing a lot of I/O, like exchange, then best practice is RAID10.  Also align the partition and you'll get much better performance.  just google "align partition win2003" for instructions.
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by:andyalder
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Depends on what RAID controller you have.
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by:dlethe
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Agreed.  Some RAID controllers really virtualize a single disk so that it is really like a single-disk RAID0 drive.  It sticks the metadata there automatically, or puts metadata at the end.  This allows you to upgrade in-place a single RAID0 disk into a RAID1 or RAID5 by adding drives.   This is the sort of feature you get when you get an enterprise class server, but I've seen it on some JMR fake-raid controllers on some no-name desktops.

Read the specs.  One way to see if this is possible, or to at least confirm that it is NOT possible.   Look at the total block count on the disk drive.  (or byte count).  Then compare with the specs on manufacturer site.  If the value is the same, then no way is there metadata, so in-place migration is not possible.  If they are different, then it *may* be possible.

Since it seems to have spontaneously transitioned between RAID & non-RAID modes, then you can pretty much bet you have a rather dumb controller, or even a fake-RAID, which is a buffer chip and all the work is done by the device driver.  In this situations is unlikely you can convert, because a smarter controller would have detected the RAID was busted and would have detected this condition and given you the opportunity to restore the RAID config.   As yours didn't it is profoundly unlikely you can do an in-place migration.  I am not aware of any RAID5 capable SCSI controllers that would let you do so (but some older RAID0/1 controllers would have)
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by:Casey Herman
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At this point I wouldnt try to move it to the array. All the work you have done may get trashed. Sadly I would say it sounds like you should just use windows mirroring and put the other drive in a mirror. Then replace the fourth drive and  mirror those in windows. The reason windows didnt see the new array is because you have to load the boot time drivers when you install it (OEM.TXT file or whatever it is). Otherwise it doesnt know how to handle the array. You are using a software raid controller.. Where windows actually is handling the raid array anyways using drivers.
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