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Robert Retzer
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Installing a server OS on a server with a PCI raid controller card

I have a PowerEdge server T300 that was given to me a couple years ago to play around with at home to learn how to build a server. It has four Dell Enterprize 750 gb hard drives, and 24 gb of ram. Since this computer has a Raid controller PCI card that is connected to a backplane that has slots to four SATA drives, where the four enterprize drives are installed. My question since the drives have been wiped. How does one go about installing a server OS on the server, as I never worked with a raid controller before. I can install the server 2016 on a trial basis or I can install server 2008 which I have licenses for. This is just a learning computer, as I want to learn how to install and configure, server software to advance my career. I do realize that 2008 is no longer supported and 2016 will soon be EOL as well, but I am sure there still will be people still using 2016 until it is fully end of life in 2027. Any one can lead me to a good website to learn: 1) how to install an os on a system with raid controller hardware, and two how to go about installing and configuring the Server, 2016. I have enrolled in an udemy course adminstering the 2016 server but in the course they are installing the software as a vm on computer. I would like to install  Server 2016  as the main OS not as a VM. 

Operating SystemsRAIDDellStorage

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Robert Retzer

8/22/2022 - Mon

HP & Dell Servers usually come with an installation CD/DVD. If my memory serves me (it's been ages since I worked with Dell Servers), I think the tool is called OpenManage or something like that. If you don't have the Media you should be able to download the iso for your Server from the Dell Site, burn it to CD or DVD, then boot the server with it. This tool should help you set up the Server & RAID array, & eventually ask for the OS DVD, and then the installation should continue.

You can also setup the Array via the BIOS/Firmware.

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Dr. Klahn

As long as the RAID drivers are slipstreamed into the install CD/DVD, or you have them available during install, things should be OK.

Personally I prefer to bring up the system on a standard single drive, then install the RAID controller drivers after the system is up, then configure the RAID and then transfer the operating system onto the RAID.  I/M/O this has a bettr chance of being able to back up and try again if something fails at any point, but you pays your money and you takes your choice.

Press F6 to load storage drivers isn't something I remember having to do in about 20 years. I wouldn't advocate bringing up on a single drive and then switching controllers.
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William Peck
Lee W, MVP

When it comes to installing Windows on Server, it's just like installing Windows on any old PC.  Windows needs drivers for the controller.  Even Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 10 all needed drivers for the controller.  Thing is, they were included with the OS for MOST older systems.  Newer controllers just needed you to provide them at startup.  Like any hardware, if you need drivers, go to the manufacturer's site and look for them.  Sometimes they may specifically note their purpose.  Newer OSs will have the drivers build in, so you don't have to worry about that.

But here's the thing, ALMOST NO ONE is running physical servers these days UNLESS they are hypervisor hosts.  (ESXi, Hyper-V, others like them).  So install the server to hardware, but then setup Hyper-V and do some VMs for whatever you want to learn.  Physical servers are the exception today, NOT the rule!

I would absolutely agree with Lee about VMs vs. physical servers.  Install whatever server OS you wish as the host, then make VMs for what you'll actually work with.  There are many good reasons to do this.

>>   a Raid controller PCI card    <<   plse post the model of the card + it's config, then we can offer precise help
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Lifecycle controller based installation is not available for T300 so as mentioned above just boot the OS installation DVD after setting up the logical disk via BIOS, then put OMSA and missing drivers on afterwards. PERC 5 drivers have always been included with Windows since the card came out.

If I understand your question properly you are trying to install the OS but do not have target drives as the raid array has not yet been configured.
Depending on the model of the raid controller you will likely need to either go into a dell provided gui (setup CD) or the raid controller directly (usually something like F8 during boot you will see the prompt) and setup your raid volume. Once you have done that the drive will be available to install what ever OS you want to on it as you normally would (be it Vmware, linux, windows etc) 
Robert Retzer

thanks everyone for your advice, since this is a home project, I will have to wait until Sunday when I have some time off to work on it. I will let you know if I am still stuck. thanks for the advice everyone. 
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