Dell Poweredge 840 controller card replacement and rebuilding hard drive raid array.

Hi Experts,

Working with a Dell Poweredge 840 running in Raid 1.  The controller card failed and in order to keep running I pulled the card out and just connected one of the drives to sata port 3 directly on the mother board.  It wasn't pretty but it worked after some bios configurations.  Now the new card is here and I have to install it.  Do I have to install drivers for the card and how do I rebuild the array since one of the drives has been running with out the other one for 5 days now.  

This is the replacement card here, http://www.scsi4me.com/dell-perc-6-i-integrated-sas-raid-controller-card.html
Rob4Asked:
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Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer LindowsCommented:
Hi,

IMHO you should install the raid drivers in Windows server first and once confirmed it is installed correctly backup your OS disk and when finished reboot.
During POST create a new Raid set en reboot, next restore your image to the new logical drive. This should do the trick.
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Rob4Author Commented:
Hi Patricks1972 thanks for the response.  If I go that route what is the step by step?  Install card leave the current single drive connected to the motherboard and boot.  Then install drivers for card.  Power down, connect single drive to card then boot to OS and do full server back up.  Power down after back up then connect 2nd drive to card, boot then create new raid set during post.  Then boot from Install disk and do server restore.  

I cant believe that the raid set doesn't rebuild itself or be rebuilt in server settings.
What is the point of having redundancy if I have to use backups? (other than the obvious, drive failure)  They haven't made the process of replacing drives in raid sets easier than this yet?
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Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer LindowsCommented:
Hi Rob,

 If I go that route what is the step by step?  Install card leave the current single drive connected to the motherboard and boot.  Then install drivers for card.  Power down, connect both drives to card, create the new raid set (this controller isnt aware of any raidset) then boot to OS and do full server back up.

You could try, without any promises but hey! since we have a full backup, is to install the card in Windows, reboot and connect the single drive to the raid controller. Boot up hoping Windows starts, and (in case of hot swappable drives) you could startup the Raid controller management tool and add the second drive. One would think it could work ....
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Rob4Author Commented:
I am a tad confused in the steps there.  If I connect both drives to card then create the new raid set how do I have a backup before hand?
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Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer LindowsCommented:
Hi again,

Install card, boot and install drivers
Verify it is working correctly.
Take full backup here.
Shut down and connect one drive to controller and (lets hope) try if it allows you to create a raid 1 with only one disk. If not, connect other one and create new raid set. (2)
If it does allow you to create raid 1 with only one drive boot windows
Install windows raid config manager and add second drive to excisting raid.
(2) Now we have raid 1 set we need to boot from rescue disk or Windows server cd/dvd and restore the backup unto the newly created raid set.

Hope this clears your confusion.
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Rob4Author Commented:
Instead of doing a backup can I use like acronis imaging software instead?  I am having an issue with the exchange server database not wanting to back up.  I will tackle that later.  If so, what can I use?
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Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer LindowsCommented:
Sorry no experience with Acronis Imaging software. I recommend use Windows Backup util for easy recovery.

If still the exchange backup does not want to backup stop (in services.msc) Microsoft Information Store service during backup.
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Rob4Author Commented:
I got a drive selected in bios is too small for this recovery image error while trying to do a restore.  Any advice?
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Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer LindowsCommented:
Hi,

In BIOS you mean PERC 6/i Integrated BIOS or computer BIOS?
The right step by step is to be found here.
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Rob4Author Commented:
Well that was a huge cluster f@#k.  The Windows system recovery for sbs 2008 is crap.  It wouldn't allow the backup to restore because it was apparently too big for the new logical drive.  However I changed nothing and it was the same exact size prior to doing the recovery.  I ended up having to use a mirroring program which worked great.  In fact it worked so well, I am no longer going to use Windows Server Backup.  I have set it to do incremental image backups daily on the server now.  Active Disk Imaging Professional is the software I used and purchased for $69.  http://www.disk-image.com/  Thanks for your input Patricksr1972, aside for using Windows system recovery, your advice on installing the Perc 6/i card and creating the logical drive was great.
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