Dell RAID controller

pchettri used Ask the Experts™
I got two Dell perc controller with connecter 0 and 1. Connector 0 shows to 70 gb SAS and 2 140 gb sata and connector 1 shows 3 140 gb sata. Is there a way to rebuilt the raid without damaging OS. I do not know the disk that integrated to C and E drive. I do not want to make changes to C drive and loose OS and license. But I am planning to add more space to E drive by adding newer disk with more storage.
This used to be an old exchange server, now I want to use this as witness server, if I create DAG and as archive server for archive enabled mail as as backup server to backup file using vdp appliance.
Is it easier to take symantec image of OS and repliace all disk and load OS using symantec BE 13 bare metal image, if RAID drive configuration does not get messed up during the process?
Hardware Dell poweredge 2950
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My recommendation would be to backup the server, then reconfigure the disks and PERC virtual volumes so they are laid out in the way you desire. I'm pretty sure there are restrictions on mixing SAS and SATA, but you can explore these possibilities without having to worry about preserving the RAID volume contents.

You can then do the restore. RAID configuration is at the BIOS level and will be unaffected by the restore.
John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems Engineer

Well it is possible and i have already done it some months ago ...
Just follow the instructions here as descreiber by Steve Friedl's post....
BUT take first a full image of your server preferably with two separated tools because as always something can go wrong....
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
Top Expert 2010

You can't mix SAS/SATA in an array, so if you need to move from one to another, you will need to do a backup and restore to the array of the new type.

What is described in tsgiannis's article is called a "retag". A retag is a RECOVERY operation, NOT an array expansion operation. The expansion of the array is a SIDE-EFFECT of the recovery operation and not its intended design. A retag may screw up the mappings and cause failure, either immediate or down the road. I would recommend against a retag for expanding your array and do a backup/restore instead, as recommended by jmcg.
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Looks like it is all SAS drive. I see two virtual disk (0 and 1). It looks vdisk 0 is paired up with two 70 gb disk and vdisk 1 configured with three 147 gb disk. I tried re-configuring vdisk 1 which changed it from raid 5 to raid 0.
I am sure C drive is using vdisk 0 and E drive is using vdisk 1 based on size. But I reboot the server by taking one HDD drive it does not start. It makes it difficult to expand all three disk in vdisk 1.I want to replace all three disk in vdisk 1 to get more storage space. But I would like find a way to test. May be delete vdisk 1 and reboot with just two disk, to see if I can replace rest of the disk
It's odd that a missing drive causes the server to not start unless your virtual disk 0 is set up as RAID 0.

Is this a PERC5 or PERC6? Are you using the BIOS (ctrl-R) utility to do the reconfig?

While nothing is guaranteed, you can usually delete a virtual disk, then reconstitute it [but not initialize it] using the same disks [in the same order] and the volume will come back good as new. But the only safe way to play with this beast is to make a good, soiid backup first.
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
Top Expert 2010

It's called a retag.

You can't "reconfigure" on a PERC 5/6 from the CTRL-R BIOS utility.
PowerEdgeTech - I must not be understanding you or I'm not using the right vocabulary. Here's a video (How to RAID Setup Dell Poweredge 2950 Server PERC 5/i)

of someone doing what I call a config or reconfig of a PERC5 on a 2950, from ctrl-R. I understand there may also be a utility that can be run under Windows that will reach down and manipulate the controller, but I haven't used it.

If you mean that the "retag" operation can't be done from BIOS utility, then I can't disagree, but I thought all of us were urging pchettri not to attempt that.
IT Consultant
Top Expert 2010
No, that video is showing a very basic initial configuration of a RAID 5, then he assigns a hot-spare. You could only call this a "reconfig" if you are deleting the config and creating a new VD/array (and only because reconfigure means to "configure again").

Here is some vocabulary:

OMSA (OpenManage Server Administrator) - software capable of interfacing directly with Dell server hardware, including the RAID controller.

"Reconfigure" (the actual name in OMSA of certain RAID operations)  - changing the RAID configuration on the fly - RLM (RAID Level Migration - RAID 1 to RAID 5, etc.) and OCE (Online Capacity Expansion - expanding the size of an array by adding disks). On PERC 5/6, a "reconfigure" can only be performed from OMSA (Live or local). Only later firmware versions for the H700 and subsequent higher-end controller models support RLM/OCE from the RAID BIOS.

Retag - a recovery operation intended to "tag" each drive with the position in an array when the configuration is lost, corrupted, or deleted. The VD is not initialized in a retag so as to not destroy the data on the disks. A side-effect of doing this after replacing drives in an array with larger disks is that the array appears to fill the entire space on the disks. This creates an unstable array and should not be used to expand a VD - only to recover a VD whose configuration has been lost.
OK, I understand better now.

To be more concrete for pchettri, what we are suggesting is that he

leave the C: drive VD0 alone, (but back it up just to be safe)
back up the D: drive VD1,
destroy VD1,
yank those disks and
put in new ones,
create a new VD1 from those new ones configured in whatever RAID version is preferred,
initialize, format, etc this new VD1,
then restore the backed-up drive D: to the new one.

These PERC operations can be performed from either the BIOS-level utility or from OMSA.
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
Top Expert 2010

That is what I would recommend.


I am taking backup using BE 2013 and wiping second vdisk 1 and see the OS is operation. Once it works, I will reboot the server and try removing other disk in array and see if it boots up


I deleted the VD1 and OS is still running after reboot. It has been resolved

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