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Disk monitoring similar to Acronis

Posted on 2011-09-09
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New to IT stuff, found a disk monitoring software freebee from Acronis and installed it and I like the report it emailed me today using SMART parameters.  When I tried it on my SBS 2008 server, it gave me reports on my two backup drives, but not on the main drives.  Drive G is a single HD used for backup. Drive F is an external RAID where two HD's mirror each other. Both G and F were read by the Acronis freeware, but the main drive C and E which are RAID 10, 3 HD's in RAID 10 mode, it wouldn't read that.  What can you recommend that is budget friendly?  Running SBS 2008 with a RAID 10 and a single backup drive and an external RAID 1 drive.
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Question by:rodynetwork
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14 Comments
 
LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 36514033
What RAID controller do you have?
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Author Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36514108
How do I figure that out?  It is whatever is on the board.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 36514149
What is the make/model of the board?  The deal is that all RAID controllers use a vendor-specific programming interface.  Some controllers are also incredibly dumb, and they don't even support an application to drill inside of it and query the disks.   Hence the need to know what you have.  Motherboard-based controllers tend to be dumb, but if you have a server board then you could very well have a controller with enough intelligence.
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Author Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36514208
Intel Desktop Board DQ965GF - motherboard - micro ATX - LGA775 Socket - Q965 - LGA775 Socket
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Author Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36514221
Dumb question, but what makes a mobo a server board vs a non server?
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 36514489
Server boards support Xeon cpus and ECC RAM, and have very little in the way of other features.  They are designed to be rock solid 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I'm not surprised your RAID arrays were not detected, as that is a function usually restricted to the RAID controller.  Onboard RAID controllers unfortunately don't have a lot of professional level software to support them - what software came with the motherboard?
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 36514526
You've got a matrix "fakeraid" controller.  It really, really sucks.  SBS2008 will run much better and faster and more reliably, plus you can look at the RAID if you let the windows O/S do the RAID1.  This requires a reload, however.

Go to the intel site and look for the matrix manager software. I don't know if you will get what you want but that is where you will find it, in the area reserved for your motherboard.
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Author Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36516366
More dumb questions:

I am building a i7 2600k machine this weekend with an SSD. Would it do better as a server?  It is faster than the xeon 3220 processor in my server.

As for RAID controller, is it better to build a RAID card and change over to that?

I am going through my physical folder and finding a few CDs and a floppy.
Floppy has Intel Matrix Storage Technology RAID Driver.  It also say at the bottom of the floppy BLACK SATA CONNECTORS Version 6.2.1.1002.  

As for CD's, there is a Driver CD and there is another CD with Bonus software.  

The bonus software is
Intel Desktop Utilities,
Norton,
Wave EMBASSY Trust suite,
Diskeeper 9 Home Edition,
Farstone Restore IT,
Premium VOIP service offers,
SAAZ Starter Edition 5.0,
SyAM Software Desktop Monitor Central,
Kaspersky Antivirus
Kingsoft Antivirus
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Author Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36516427
Weird. I put the CD in with the bonus software. The installer won't run. I can open the CD and view the files, but cannot get the installer to run at.  I have now taken the CD to one of my XP desktops and the installer looks like it can run on the XP box, but it will not run on the SBS 2008 box.  Wonder if that is somethign to do with software compatibility?

Also, what would MS not put hard drive monitor tools into the SBS monitor?  Seems dumb. Anyway, wonder what I can install to monitor the hard drive. I had a catastophic failure last Aug due to 2 of the 3 drives having errors.  Would like to be able to see something that monitors harddrive issues like bad block and whatever else. The Acronis thing seemed cool because it actually showed something about a bad block on a back up drive. That is the kind of feedback I would like to get on my RAID drives.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 36517017
The software you got with your motherboard is probably designed for desktop machines and OSes.  Many server machines come with hardware RAID cards which have software to monitor the health of the drives, so that is probably why SBS 2008 doesn't include one - it's designed for various different hardware.  Desktop software is not stringent about the hardware needing to be up and running 24/7, so that's likely why it doesn't work.

Using the i7 as a server depends on whether you need it running constantly without downtime.  Any desktop can be a server if you allow reboots and shutdowns in the middle of the day.  You pay the higher price for a server because it will run consistently for long periods.

Discrete hardware RAID cards are better performers, have more functionality, and last longer than motherboard RAID as a general rule.  They also are very expensive - several hundred dollars each, and typically work best with enterprise class hard drives, which also cost much more.
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Author Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36517045
We are a small company with 4 users. The server runs all the time, but we really only actively access it M-F 8-5pm.  Since everything is set up and running, I will probably just leave it as is until we make a new decision on systems.  For now, I would like to have a utility of some sort that will keep me posted on the hard drives physical state, like the Acronis software does. Is there a utility that will work on SBS 2008? or should I just work with what I have and plan on implementing that when I am upgrading equiipment?
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LVL 69

Accepted Solution

by:
Callandor earned 250 total points
ID: 36517179
If you look at this blog by an SBS MVP, the monitoring software from the hardware manufacturer is recommended: http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/2009/05/sbs-2008-setup-checklist-v111.html

In your case, that would be the Intel RAID Storage Technology software, if they provided the feature, but I doubt it for "software" RAID.  Anyway, it seems that you haven't been able to get the software to run on SBS 2008.  Perhaps Active Hard Disk Monitor will work?  http://www.ntfs.com/disk-monitor.htm
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:dlethe
dlethe earned 250 total points
ID: 36517405
That RAID card doesn't give you such capability.  It is NOT so much a RAID card, as a silicon switch. The work is done by the device driver. Get a decent RAID card, and you can do it.  But you'll have to do a full backup, build the RAID, then restore.  Plus the new size may be a few MB larger or smaller than the original.

If you don't have the time or desire to do that now, then just blow it off until you do.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36517515
You guys are fantastic.  Thanks!
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