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How can I replace Intel S1200bt motherboard, and copy and reinstall all Raid 5 data to new S1200bt motherboard?

Posted on 2014-12-12
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Last Modified: 2014-12-16
Client has a Server 2012 OS on a Intel S1200BT motherboard with onboard Raid 5, (3) 1TB sata drives. Server is acting as workgroup server only, no AD, no Exchange. Been having numerous issues with Raid over a years time saying a drive has failed. Drive is replaced on that port number and it takes 4 days to rebuild the raid. I have tested the drive, and it is perfectly fine. I have changed 4 drives so far, and on all ports 0, 1, and 2. All the drives have been tested good, so it has to be an issue with the raid system on the board.

I got the OEM builder to get me another Intel S1200BT. I need to replace the existing board, but first image the existing system to external drive, replace the board, and image back to new motherboard. I am trying not to loose anything.

I need to know an efficient way of doing all this, over a Saturday, so everything will be back up and running as it was before. After the motherboard is swapped, I will make another raid 5, same as it is now, with the same drives. The motherboards are identical, same models. I will move the processor and ram over to new unit.

Any help is appreciated.
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Question by:kevinecaldwell
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it_saige earned 250 total points
ID: 40496213
Using an onboard raid controller, it is not impossible, but be certain that you have a rock-solid contingency plan (i.e. - worst case scenario, restore from a backup).  If this is a 2008 server and/or above, then Windows Server Backup is really your friend here as it can provide you with a bit-level backup which means that you can treat the server as if it were a bare-metal system.

So what do you need to do.

Pre-steps (Do not, DO NOT, make the hard drive connections for these steps):
1.  Perform a backup.
2.  Verify that the new motherboard has the same firmware as the old motherboard.  If it doesn't upgrade the firmware on the lesser of the two.
3.  Verify that the new motherboard has the same raid controller (and chipset) as the old motherboard.  Again verify the firmware versions.
4.  Make note of the entire RAID configuration on the old motherboard.  Every setting.

For the pre-steps you will most likely have to take down the old server, install the motherboard and check the settings.  

Once you have completed the pre-steps.

1.  Perform a backup.  Some people are paranoid [for good reason] and will perform 2 backups.  One the night before and one the day of.
2.  Perform your hardware maintenance.  Be especially sure to take note of the hard drive hardware connections.  If you are dealing with a hot-swapable hard drive bay, then make sure you make note of the hard drive placement in the bay.  The idea here is that when you finish the server the only change would be the motherboard (all connections and hard drives are in the same place).
3.  Create a new array on the new motherboard that matches the configuration that is on the old motherboard.  Again for every setting.  When asked to initialize the array, say no.

There is the possibility that with these steps, the raid controller can read the meta-data on the hard drives and basically perform a verify.  If that all happens then you can pat yourself on the back and go have a beer. ;)

Otherwise, you will need to reinstall the server operating system (so have the installation media handy) and perfom a restore.

Again if this is Server 2008 or above) you can then perform a restore directly from the OS installation screen [just choose restore from backup/image].

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770266(v=WS.10).aspx

-saige-
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by:McKnife
McKnife earned 250 total points
ID: 40496215
The raid 5 config is on the disks. You connect them to your new board and all is good.
Having backups is mandatory anyway, not only when modifying hardware.
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Author Comment

by:kevinecaldwell
ID: 40496580
McKnife,

You are saying, first of course, do a backup. But the data for the raid is on the drives, and once I swap the motherboard for the other same motherboard model the raid will be there? WI I have to create the raid 5 first in the controller, or will it just pick it up with the drives attached ?

It Saige,  You are saying I have to install the OS again, and then do a restore from a backup? But the raid may see the drives anyways?
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40496613
I swapped numerous RAID arrays to new controllers (same model as before or successor models) on different boards (some the were identical, some not, does not matter), never the slightest problem. So yes, all should be well, you would not have to create a new array but the old one will be found by the new controller.
But please mind IT Saige's advice and see that the new controller has the same firmware/bios as the old one, that can be important, sometimes even critical.
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by:it_saige
ID: 40496651
Reiterating what McKnife has stated and adding that you would only need to reinstall the operating system *if* the array cannot be reinitialized.

-saige-
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Author Comment

by:kevinecaldwell
ID: 40498047
Update:

Removed all cabling, ram, processor from old MB, replaced with new MB and installed/hooked up everything. I changed the boot order in the bios to the volume 0, and rebooted. It picked up the raid and booted into windows.. The raid is rebuilding now, I made the drive it said was failed to normal first on the old MB. Like I said, I have changed 4 previous drives and all tested good, even though raid said otherwise. This MB has a higher bios, and firmware, but is working fine.

I read on a review that with a raid 1 and 2 500 WD "blue" drives, rebuild took 2 hours,, so I don't know how long it is for a raid 5 with 3 sata drives. It used to take 4 days !!!  Just ridiculous time.. I am guessing 4-5 hours? Remember I have (3) 1 TB drives, but surely, not 4 days to rebuild..
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40498052
We cannot call something normal/abnormal. Only the manufacturer can do that, he would have a list of drives he tested his controller with and he found to be working good/rebuilding in a timely fashion.
4 days is surely not what the manufacturer had in mind. Out of experience, I would think it may of course not take more than a day, but maybe even 12 hours are already abnormal.
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Expert Comment

by:it_saige
ID: 40498103
Agreed.  But bear in mind that many facture (drive type, drive speed, connection type, drive size, raid size, raid utilization, raid type, etc. etc.) determine the overall amount of time.

-saige-
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Author Comment

by:kevinecaldwell
ID: 40498488
I just checked the rebuild, it's at 42% after 8.5 hrs.. Looks like it's rebuilding much quicker than ever before, could be a good sign.

Once done, I will split the points between you both, ok?
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40498802
Your decision, why not.
Good to see that the effort was not in vain :)
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Author Comment

by:kevinecaldwell
ID: 40498930
You both were right on point, it saige was little more detailed, but you were right on it to as the raid hooked right up. Thankfully I did not need to bother with firmware/bios updates. The change in boards did not matter with the updates, as the new board took the drives right away. I have been where raid 5 goes horribly wrong.. I'm glad the way it turned out.. The raid is at 83%, much faster then before, I expect it done today.
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Author Closing Comment

by:kevinecaldwell
ID: 40503067
The only 2 who responded to this question were right on the money with their answers, they were excellent.
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