[1st server for me] Dell Poweredge 2950 cant setup RAID

I purchased the machine used. It came with no discs in it. I purchased 3 146g Serial Attached SCSI drives. I am hitting CTRL-R on the boot screen, and it just continues to load into windows setup. I have examined the bios and I see no options to set raid up. Can anyone that is familiar with Dell PowerEdge Servers point me in the right direction? I am including the original system setup.
1	JH903	Processor, 80574K, XDH, E5430 FCLGA6
0	01323	INFORMATION..., NO ITEM
1	0R215	Cord, Power, 15A, 125V, 10, 5-15/C13
0	2260R	PREPARATION MATERIAL..., DEV, SRV, INCRS #1
0	5R203	INFORMATION..., FLYER, DOCUMENTATION...
1	DY029	TECHNICAL SHEET..., POWER SUPPLY..., DIRECT CURRENT..., DOCUMENTATION..., UPDATE..., P2950
1	GG460	Kit, Strain Relief, Cable, Power
1	HM430	TECHNICAL SHEET..., NETWORK..., ETHERNET..., BROADCOM CORPORATION..., DOPP
1	M332H	Assembly, Printed Wiring Assy Planar, Third Party MaintenanceESG, Rest Of World, MITAC INC...
1	NP544	Guide, Product, Information Poweredge/powervault, DAO/BCC
1	YC453	GUIDE..., GETTING STARTED..., P2950, DAO/BCC
1	0R215	Cord, Power, 15A, 125V, 10, 5-15/C13
4	MR272	Dual In-Line Memory Module, 512667M64X72, 8, 240, 1RX8
1	CR679	Assembly, Card, SAS6IR, Integrated, Sled
2	D981C	Assembly, Carrier, Hard Drive Serial Attached Scsi Universal, 1IN
1	CJ339	Mouse, Universal Serial Bus 2BTN, Wheel, Lead Free, Optical Black
1	RH659	Keyboard, 104, UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS..., UNITED STATES..., Black, DARFON ELECTRONICS, CORP...
2	TN937	Hard Drive, 146G, Serial Attached SCSI, Dell Update Package, 15K, 3.5, Seagate, 15K
1	FC024	Assembly, Bezel, 2U, PE2950
1	FC554	Printed Wiring Assy Input/output, CD-INTRPSR, PE2950
1	FG027	Card, Backplane, Key, TOE, 2PORT Enterprise Systems Group
1	FN360	Kit, Rack Rail, Rapid/Versa Rail2U, Slide, V4
1	GF449	Assembly, Heatsink, Processor Direct, Contact, P2950
1	H6188	Printed Wiring Assy, Riser Server, Server Chassis, DELL PE2950, PC Interface Extended
2	H7511	Assembly, Carrier, Blank, Hard Drive, Universal, 1IN, 2
1	JH903	Processor, 80574K, XDH, E5430 FCLGA6
2	NY526	POWER SUPPLY..., 750W, REDUNDANT..., ARTESYN
1	KC411	Assembly, Cable SASX4-PERC5X4-X4BKPLN
1	NC074	Assembly, Cable, CDROM-SIDEPLANE
1	R707G	Kit, Media, Digital Video Disk Drive, Document Object Model V5.4
1	JU618	Assembly, Cdrw/dvd, 12.7MM Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology, ENTERPRISE SYSTEMS GROUP...
1	T7421	Assembly, Floppy Drive, 3.5 inchForm Factor, Controller/no Cable, Teac, Black, Lead Free
1	TW793	ASSEMBLY..., CHASSIS..., 3.5HD, 2U, PE2950, III
1	TX988	Assembly, Cable, Flexible FLOPPY-PLNR, V2
1	WM766	PRINTED WIRING ASSY..., Backplane, SERVER, SERVER CHASSIS..., Dell2950 3.5X4SAS
1	X3959	Card, Network, PERIPHERAL COMPONENT INTERCONNECT EXPRESS ..., COPPER, DUAL PORT

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DotNetChanoAsked:
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DotNetChanoAuthor Commented:
Update:

I have followed the instructions here Dell Raid and I do not see either message on boot. Does taht mean that I dont have a raid controller?
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CoSmismgrCommented:
It has a PERC 6i controller, and you should be able to boot into the RAID config at startup. You said you are hitting CTRL + R and it is not working. Does the BIOS prompt say to press CTRL + R to enter RAID configuration?
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
According to your order details, you have a SAS 5/iR (which would be CTRL-C during POST), not a PERC controller (which would be CTRL-R during POST).

Which do you have?
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charlestasseCommented:
I see your issue is that you have a SAS 6/iR Raid card which is CRTL-C to enter the bios
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CoSmismgrCommented:
Try pressing CTRL + M at startup
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Sorry ... says you have 6/iR, not 5/iR.
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DotNetChanoAuthor Commented:
Another Update:

I searched ebay for Dell Poweredge 2950 Raid Controller

It returned this result http://cgi.ebay.com/Dell-PowerEdge-CR679-1950-2950-6-i-RAID-Controller-/390303333066?pt=COMP_EN_Networking_Components&hash=item5adfe43aca#ht_1826wt_1139

Looking inside of the Server I definitely have a piece that looks identical to that.
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CoSmismgrCommented:
I'm sorry, it is a SAS 6/iR... be aware it only supports two raid containers and can only do RAID 0/1 as well.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
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DavidPresidentCommented:
You are unfortunately making the assumption that this was a shrewd purchase and that the controller is actually good.  If neither CTRL-M or CTRL-C work, and nothing shows up on the BIOS, then odds are the controller is bad.   (But reseat it, and try it in another slot and also in another server, just to see if something shows up in the BIOS).
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DotNetChanoAuthor Commented:
Cosmismgr -  by 2 raid containers do you mean 2 drives? (sorry Im new to raid)

I was wanting to do Raid 5 is there no way to rig the system to do RAID 5? Why would they sell a system that has 4 drive bays that can only accept 2 drives?

PowerEdgeTech - I think I will give that a try

dlethe - You are correct that I am assuming everything is good. This thing was in perfect shape when I received it, no scratches, no dust, the thing looks brand new. I know it is possible that the part could be bad but after seeing how well this was taken care of I feel safe assuming the parts are in working order.


On another note, if it can only do raid 0/1 which card would you guys recommend I order to be able to do RAID 5 while keeping my costs down?
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DotNetChanoAuthor Commented:
Ok I took the card out. The tray has NP007 on the bottom of it, im assuming this is the PN for the tray.

The card itself has this part number e2k-ucs-61-(b)

Does this tell us anything?
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
PERC 5/i or PERC 6/i will do RAID 5 and are the only "supported" cards for the 2950 that do.
SAS 6/iR is limited to RAID 0 and 1 ... it can't be "rigged" to do something it simply cannot do.
If the card is good, you should at least be able to enter the configuration utility during POST.  If you cannot, it is unlikely that the Dell utility will work either.
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CoSmismgrCommented:
A container can contain multiple drives. Lets say you had 2 drives configured for mirroring the OS and 2 drives for mirroring data. You would not be able to create another RAID array, only spares.

Get a PERC card if you need RAID 5. I agree with dlethe, if the POST is not even displaying the RAID prompt message, the card may be bad or not installed correctly.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Most Google entries indicate that "e2k-ucs-61-(b)" is the SAS 6/iR (although that is not recognizable as a Dell part number).
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CoSmismgrCommented:
The card itself has this part number e2k-ucs-61-(b)


That part number confirms that it is a SAS 6/iR RAID controller card.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Well, it is a dell, so the PERCs are preferred.  You can get them used on ebay. If you care about performance, get a model that has onboard battery backup for the cache. This will usually give you 2X or more better write performance.

The SAS PERC cards are actually rebranded LSI RAID cards (but not the megaraid family).  Go to http://www.lsi.com and you can probably get a better deal, and latest technology. I have no idea if that system uses a backplane or just direct-attach cables , don't feel like looking it up, but if your disks are SAS-2, then you can futureproof by buying a SAS-2 controller.

The disks may very well be SAS-2 anyway.  Mixing & matching is OK, you just might not get all you can.  If the disks are hot plug, then the backplane will surely be SAS-1, so a SAS-2 controller won't buy you anything unless you get one with an external expansion port that you can attach to more disks in an external enclosure in the future.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
All 2950's will have a backplane/hotswap drives.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
This isn't PC, but better to have a brain-dead controller then one that has a cancer which slowly destroys/corrupts data, or one that hits the bucket a few days after the system is live and fully integrated.  

Since you did save some money, then maybe you should get a small external SAS-2 enclosure with the SAS-2 RAID that supports external ports.  Then you don't have to worry about internal mounting and limits of any bus, and then should this system fail, or plans change, then all you need to do is unplug the controller and carry it along with the external expansion enclosure to another host. Or in a disaster recovery situation, you just need to plug the controller in, load drivers, and the data will be online in minutes.   Or, for that matter if you have a larger SAS enclosure that has multiple ports, you could dual port that dell so that you carve out just the 3 you need, and then another host could use the other drives the way it needs to.  Certainly there are rules for doing this right, but just supplying options.  

I just hate to have people use internal slots for disks if they have multiple systems, it costs less in the long run and is more flexible to externalize storage.  (If you have multiple systems)
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DotNetChanoAuthor Commented:
Cosmis/Poweredgetech - Thanks for the input guys

dlethte - There is a backplane in this server. With the backplane are there going to be any aftermarket cards that will plug into that "amphenol/patch cable"? I would like to go pick one up at my local www.frys.com store if possible. Do you think this is possible?


I dont have multiple systems and have no plans of expanding to multiple systems. There really is just no need in my situation.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
I've always found that mucking with backplanes without the proper internal shielded cabling will wreak havoc on performance.  I kid you not, even if it "works", you could very well be losing a good 50% or more even on such a short run unless you have the proper cabling.   All the better reason to buy a nice quality external enclosure that uses the standard "inifiniband" looking shielded cable and a matching controller.   You can even pick them up used as well.  
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charlestasseCommented:
the picture you indicated in your above post does correspond to the SAS6IR Intergrated with SLED (PN NP007). The part number e2k-ucs-61-(b) also is a SAS6IR with Sled.

Here is the documenation for the SAS6IR
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/storage/RAID/SAS6iR/en/index.htm
The control key to enter the BIOS during POST is CRTL-C

This controller only support 2 Raid configurations Raid 0 and Raid 1
This controller can support up to 10 Physical Disks but has a Maximum of 2 Arrays(Virtual Disk)

I would not be concerend at all about LSI-Raid vs MegaRaid, and what version of SAS, it really doesnt factor into the issue.

Your quickest resolution to your issue is to simply call DELL, they will troubleshoot with you to validate that the hardware is good or not and what your options are. They do this all day, every day!

Cheers
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