Configure Dell NX300 Raid5 File Server

I've got this new RAID5 Dell NX300 file server and I have to configure it. I've never done this before.  It came with two manuals, Administrator's Guide and Troubleshooting Guide and I have read both manuals, but I think I am missing something basic.

It has 4 2TB drives, one is a hot spare. When I look at the partition it shows 6 TB.  What do I have to do to configure it to look like 2TB RAID 5, rather than 6 TB?



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MajorBigDealAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, thats correct there is no hot spare.

The only way to have a hot spare would be to destroy the current installation, reconfigure the RAID, with 3 disks and hot spare, reinstall the OS.

If the above is supported, and I believe you have to use it as its been delivered. This is a preconfigured NX300 NAS.

Its not a Dell file server that you can customise.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
RAID 5 is a minimum of 3 disks.

3 disks RAID 5 is approx 4TB with a hot spare - total four disks.
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MajorBigDealAuthor Commented:
Hi hancocka,  so you are saying that with three 2TB disks (not including hot spare), I'll get 4TB instead of 2TB?  That is great news!  

But in any case, I have checked all the programs, and admin tools, and the "manage" area, read the manuals and I still don't know how to make it look like RAID.  Right now, it just looks like I have a 6TB file share.  

Admittedly, I'm seeing a lot of stuff that I don't understand and don't have experience with so I might be looking right at it and not recognizing it.

The only other thing I can think of is to look at the BIOS settings but I don't think configuring this would be a BIOS setting do you?

There must be some place I'm supposed to look to see the RAID configuration.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
if you have 4 x 2TB disks, and it's currently 6TB, that's RAID 5 strip across 4 disks.

RAID 5, 3 disks, and 1 for parity.

so 3 x 2 = 6GB useable, 1 disk for parity.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
RAID configuration could be in the BIOS.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just had a quick look at the manual, and I believe the NAS solution comes pre-installed with Windows 2008 Storage Server. So it's designed to be used "as is" and maybe not reconfigured.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Restart the system and press the applicable key sequence to enter the
configuration utility program:

• <Ctrl><C> for a SAS controller
• <Ctrl><R> for a SAS RAID controller

You will then be able to change the RAID type, but this will require a re-installation of the NAS software, if you change and destroy the current RAID.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Page 160 Troubleshooting a SAS or SAS RAID Controller

in this document

http://support.euro.dell.com/support/edocs/stor-sys/NX300/en/PM/PM.zip
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charlestasseCommented:
The Dell NX300 supports Open Manage Server Administrator managed Node (which should  have come pre-installed), you can download this from support.dell.com.

OMSA will show you exactly what your Raid configuration is, as I suspect that you are running a 4 Drive Raid 5 and should be presenting you 6TB to your OS.

The NX300 shoudl be running Storage Server and does not have the same flexability and upgradabilty as a standard server.
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MajorBigDealAuthor Commented:
Hi charlestasse,

Yes, I do have OpenManage Server Administrator.  That was the first application I opened because it was in the instructions.

There is a tree on the left, with three sub options, Main System Chassis, Software, and Storage.  Clicking on Storage, shows me 2 virtual disks, both listed as RAID5. One is small and has the OS, and the other is 6TB, as you said.  

I suspect that I am asking a really dumb question.  I don't understand why it is presenting 6TB.  My thinking is that 6TB is the amount of raw disk before RAID.  Is that correct?  If I were to create a file in this 6TB virtual disk, would it be RAID protected?  What I am trying to say is that I am expecting to see a much lower capacity than 6TB because RAID5 has a lot of overhead.  

I know I am confused, if you could help me get my thinking straight that would be great.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
the entire storage OS is RAID 5 protected including your file.

But you have 4 2TB hard drives, and one 2tB drive is the overhead!
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MajorBigDealAuthor Commented:
Hi hancocka,  now I understand what you were saying earlier and your calculation makes sense.  But that implies to me that the fourth drive is not a "hot spare".   Is that correct?  I really do want a hot-spare.  How can I configure it to be a hot spare?
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MajorBigDealAuthor Commented:
Thank you!
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