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HP Proliant DL360 G7 - Install PCI Raid

Posted on 2012-12-22
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Last Modified: 2012-12-28
One of my friend is having a problem installing one HP Proliant DL 360 G7 server. The server has on-board RAID (I think so) and it has a PCI RAID P411 also. Still the server is raw, nothing installed, no HDD Raid formation. If he opens the utility of the on-board RAID he can see all his disks, but not yet configured in any array formation. And if he opens the utility of the PCI Raid card, he can't see any HDD.

What he wants is to disable the on-board RAID and divert all the HDD to this secondary PCI Raid card.

What he has done so far;
           1. In the server BIOS, select the secondary PCI RAID card as the default boot device
           2. Disable on-board RAID from its own utility

Now he said he re-booted the system, and wen to the utility of the second PCI RAID, but still can't see hard disks.

Any suggestion?
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Question by:lapatiya
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Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 38715223
there should be a way of disabling the built in raid controller in the bios
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by:rindi
ID: 38715433
Did he install the PCI card or did the server come with it already built-in? If he bought it, what is the reason for using that other card instead of what is built-in?

I suggest he uses the embedded smartarray controller and not the PCI one. Also, most HP servers come with a Smartstart CD. Normally you boot the server using that CD, and it then allows you to configure the array, select the OS you want to install, and then it prepares the system, pops out the CD when ready and asks you to insert the OS installation DVD. Only if there is no such smartarray CD for that server model should you setup the array using the BIOS utility.
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by:andyalder
ID: 38715439
Doesn't make sense; in a DL360 G7 the P410i that's on the motherboard is exactly the same controller as the P411 except that the P410 has two internal connectors and the P411 has two external connectors to connect to an external disk shelf. No way are you going to be able to connect the internal disks to a P411 unless you saw a hole in the back of the server and make a special cable.

See this summary page, note that the "Cache (read/write)" column is just the default size, you can get 1GB FBWC upgrade for the P410i, in fact you probably already have one you can pinch from the new P411 unless you can return it unopened for refund.

http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/arraycontrollers/index.html
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by:lapatiya
ID: 38715564
So does that mean, on-board Raid can't be disabled and divert the HDD to the PCI mounted secondary RAID ?? , If so, how do you add a PCI RAID card in case of on-board RAID faulty (considering that the warranty period is over and can't afford to buy a new motherboard). Logically there should be a way, correct?

If you still says that on-board RAID can't be bypassed, why we need to use a secondary PCI mounted RAID? just for the purpose of adding external hard disk enclosures to the server?
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by:rindi
ID: 38715595
Is the internal controller good or bad? If it is good then there is NO reason to not use that controller. Who says you need to use a secondary PCI RAID controller?

You can usually get extended warranty for servers. After that period has expired a server is normally obsolete anyway and should get replaced whether it breaks down or even if it doesn't. Life cycles for servers are usually between 3 and 5 years.

The backplane the disks are connected to is usually either directly attached to the internal RAID controller, or you need special cables for the connection. If you have a 3rd party RAID controller you would have to find a way to connect that 3rd party controller to the backplane or the disks.
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by:andyalder
ID: 38715645
It's not a case of the onboard controller not being able to be bypassed, it's a case of the one your friend has bought not having any internal connectors.

Should the onboard controller fail some day in the future then you can fit a P410 in a PCIe slot as a replacement. (you would have to move the cables from the motherboard to the replacement controller). You can even fit a later model Smart Array controller or transfer the disks to another server with a later model Smart Array controller in it*. Your friend has just wasted their money unless the reseller will take the controller back.

"Data Compatibility among all models of Smart Array controllers allows simple and easy upgrades any time needs for higher performance, capacity, and availability increase. Even successive generations of Smart Array controllers understand the data format of other Smart Array Controllers."

http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/13201_div/13201_div.html (under "the smart array advantage".

*No guarantee it'll boot in a different server as the drivers for network etc. may be all wrong but the data will still be readable, compatibility between generations is a major selling point for HP controllers. HP can offer this guarantee because although they use third-party chips the code is their own, all of their cards run the same RAID algorithms.
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by:lapatiya
ID: 38722599
Here is the reply I got from my friend;

"The reason we decided to use the external rather than buit-in RAID controller because;

1. The built-in RAID has Zero Memory Cache (ZMC) and on top of that it does not have battery installed. This both factors make the built-in RAID controller to support only RAID 1+0. We prefer to have RAID5

2. The external RAID controller (P411) has 1Gb memory cache and on top of that it doest have battery pack installed. This RAID controller now can support RAID5 in addition to the RAID"
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by:rindi
ID: 38722920
I don't recommend RAID 5 these days. The drives available are large and cheap enough that you don't need to go for that. RAID 5 is unreliable, rebuilds take long (and particularly during the rebuild your data is at a high risk should a 2nd drive fail). It is also harder to manage, which means you can make mistakes and kill the array by mistake. I would go for RAID 1 if I were your friend.
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andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 38723090
Take the cache module + battery* off the P411 and plug it into the motherboard as I suggested earlier, then the built in RAID controller will have 1GB FBWC. Your friend should have bought HP 1GB Flash Backed Cache 534562-B21 to plug into the motherboard, no matter, they have one on the P411 that they can use.

Your friends arguments will then be reversed vis:

1. The external RAID controller (P411) has Zero Memory Cache (ZMC) and on top of that it does not have battery installed. This both factors make the P411 RAID controller to support only RAID 1+0. We prefer to have RAID5

2. The built-in RAID controller (P410i) has 1Gb memory cache and on top of that it does have battery* pack installed. This onboard  RAID controller now can support RAID5 in addition to RAID 1.

*It's a supercapacitor rather than a battery but that doesn't affect the argument, it still protects the write cache in the event of power failure.
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Author Closing Comment

by:lapatiya
ID: 38726036
It worked.
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by:andyalder
ID: 38726793
If they're stuck with the P411/zero at least they can use it if they buy an external SAS tape drive to backup onto.
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