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Hardware Thread, From SCSI controller to RAID controller in a Dell in Technical; My logic is somewhat fuzzy on this so I thought I'd better check what I'm letting myself in for before ...
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    From SCSI controller to RAID controller in a Dell

    My logic is somewhat fuzzy on this so I thought I'd better check what I'm letting myself in for before I do anything drastic.

    I have a server that borked recently taking the hard drive with it... In the process of getting it back up and running I've realised that what I thought was a SCSI RAID controller is in fact a SCSI controller with no RAID at all.

    Unfortunately the backplane for the servers will only allow one channel (Dell Poweredge 1800) so I'm looking at how best to swap the controllers over whilst still retaining the new Win Server 2003R2 OS installation that I've been working on restoring.

    I'm assuming that I can't simply swap the controllers over and expect the single disk to work as a JBOD or for the OS to simply boot up with the new RAID controller without blinking. I'm also guessing that I'm probably going to be faced with taking a full backup, swapping the controller and then doing a system repair using the Win2k3 bootable CD to get it back with the correct drivers.

    Is this right or have anyone got any other tips on this one.


    The ultimate plan is to convert a server with no RAID backup to having 5 drives (3x 146 and 2x 300) as RAID 5 and RAID mirror with the OS on the 146's and backups to tape with a ASR backup and ghost image taken for disaster recovery.

    Thanks in advance... I just want to be sure I get this one right...
    Last edited by contink; 27th May 2008 at 10:14 AM.

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    I'm assuming that I can't simply swap the controllers over and expect the single disk to work as a JBOD or for the OS to simply boot up with the new RAID controller without blinking. I'm also guessing that I'm probably going to be faced with taking a full backup, swapping the controller and then doing a system repair using the Win2k3 bootable CD to get it back with the correct drivers.

    Is this right or have anyone got any other tips on this one.
    system repair/backup rollback you mentioned is probably going to be you're only option, it could be possible to inject the raid controler drivers into the OS that would allow you to boot into w2k3 but you'd first need to boot into soemthign like BartPE to do this. Haven't tried it so i'm a bit vague on the specifics.

    excuse my ignorance, but why would you need a single disk to act like a jbod...couldn't you just use the RAID as purey a scsi controller for the purpose of connecting the disk to the server. If you were looking to replace the controller for a 5 disk array you'd have job getting it working without replacing the scsi raid controller like for like....but the singe disk shoudn't have these raid controller issues as there's no raid group....just the driver issues for booting the OS.

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    contink (27th May 2008)

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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    system repair/backup rollback you mentioned is probably going to be you're only option, it could be possible to inject the raid controler drivers into the OS that would allow you to boot into w2k3 but you'd first need to boot into soemthign like BartPE to do this. Haven't tried it so i'm a bit vague on the specifics.
    Hmm... thought as much..

    excuse my ignorance, but why would you need a single disk to act like a jbod...couldn't you just use the RAID as purey a scsi controller for the purpose of connecting the disk to the server. If you were looking to replace the controller for a 5 disk array you'd have job getting it working without replacing the scsi raid controller like for like....but the singe disk shoudn't have these raid controller issues as there's no raid group....just the driver issues for booting the OS.
    Sorry, was thinking initially the first disk is going to appear as a single disk which usually means setting it as a JBOD option...

    The problem with the controller is that the controller in there is a non-RAID version and no option to upgrade as far as I'm aware. I've managed to source a RAID controller that is compatible with the PE1800 so drivers there won't be an issue. My main concern was the potential to:
    a) get it to boot (which it seems we're looking at resolving with a system repair)
    b) getting it shifted to a RAID array rather than just one disk.

    Ultimately I guess this is going to be a try it and see... If I have to do a clean reinstall then I guess that's going to be a necessary evil... but it seems I should be ok so long as I'm careful

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    Hmm... thought as much..


    Sorry, was thinking initially the first disk is going to appear as a single disk which usually means setting it as a JBOD option...

    The problem with the controller is that the controller in there is a non-RAID version and no option to upgrade as far as I'm aware. I've managed to source a RAID controller that is compatible with the PE1800 so drivers there won't be an issue. My main concern was the potential to:
    a) get it to boot (which it seems we're looking at resolving with a system repair)
    b) getting it shifted to a RAID array rather than just one disk.

    Ultimately I guess this is going to be a try it and see... If I have to do a clean reinstall then I guess that's going to be a necessary evil... but it seems I should be ok so long as I'm careful
    one thing you might want to look at is the migration options for moving from the initial single disk setup to a raid 5 setup proposed for later on....

    i'm pretty sures it not a data in-place upgrade to transition the OS/data to the raid 5. In other words a disruptive upgrade where you can't migrate the OS and data across other than via fresh
    OS install and restoration from backup.

    my advce is if you are going to do a clean install, do the raid 5 thing now if poss. Or at the very least setup the OS as a mirror (software or in hardware hanging off the raid controller)...the single disk setup shold be purely as a temporary measure for getting to the data....

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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    Unfortunately the backplane for the servers will only allow one channel (Dell Poweredge 1800) so I'm looking at how best to swap the controllers over whilst still retaining the new Win Server 2003R2 OS installation that I've been working on restoring.

    I'm assuming that I can't simply swap the controllers over and expect the single disk to work as a JBOD or for the OS to simply boot up with the new RAID controller without blinking. I'm also guessing that I'm probably going to be faced with taking a full backup, swapping the controller and then doing a system repair using the Win2k3 bootable CD to get it back with the correct drivers.

    Is this right or have anyone got any other tips on this one.


    The ultimate plan is to convert a server with no RAID backup to having 5 drives (3x 146 and 2x 300) as RAID 5 and RAID mirror with the OS on the 146's and backups to tape with a ASR backup and ghost image taken for disaster recovery.

    Thanks in advance... I just want to be sure I get this one right...
    I have done something very similar to this in the past week, the trick to migrating the controllers is to install the newer controller in Windows in your current installation while your drives are still connected to the old controller. This will add the correct drivers to the windows registry, at this point you can shut down your server and swap the drives over to the controller.

    So long as the RAID controller supports a single disk configuration you should be able to import it and use it just as before. If your new RAID controller supports level migration you may be able to add the extra drives and migrate the RAID level to RAID 5 using the controllers configuration tool.

    Even if the RAID controller does not support the disk import by adding the drivers beforehand a full restore an a pre-setup RAID 5 volume should just boot without issue.

    Using this method I was able to swap between two different HP RAID controllers with different drivers in two reboots and without a reinstall.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 27th May 2008 at 01:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I have done something very similar to this in the past week, the trick to migrating the controllers is to install the newer controller in Windows in your current installation while your drives are still connected to the old controller. This will add the correct drivers to the windows registry, at this point you can shut down your server and swap the drives over to the controller.

    So long as the RAID controller supports a single disk configuration you should be able to import it and use it just as before. If your new RAID controller supports level migration you may be able to add the extra drives and migrate the RAID level to RAID 5 using the controllers configuration tool.

    Even if the RAID controller does not support the disk import by adding the drivers beforehand a full restore an a pre-setup RAID 5 volume should just boot without issue.

    Using this method I was able to swap between two different HP RAID controllers with different drivers in two reboots and without a reinstall.
    didn't think you could restore an image made from a single disk onto a RAID 5 volume. Or are you talking about restore from backup rather than restore from backup image.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I have done something very similar to this in the past week, the trick to migrating the controllers is to install the newer controller in Windows in your current installation while your drives are still connected to the old controller. This will add the correct drivers to the windows registry, at this point you can shut down your server and swap the drives over to the controller.
    Ah.. now I would never have thought of that, but you're right, that makes a heck of a lot of sense

    So long as the RAID controller supports a single disk configuration you should be able to import it and use it just as before. If your new RAID controller supports level migration you may be able to add the extra drives and migrate the RAID level to RAID 5 using the controllers configuration tool.
    Some reading required I guess...

    Even if the RAID controller does not support the disk import by adding the drivers beforehand a full restore an a pre-setup RAID 5 volume should just boot without issue.
    Ah yeah... but as Torledo was wondering, how would you do the backup and restore in the first place? You mean a basic NTBackup and Auto Recovery Disk or something else..

    Bear in mind I have no other backup software aside from a very old Backup Exec 8.5 and no spare tapes to hand.

    I do however have Acronis Disk Manager Enterprise as well as a few other bits available to me on a rather useful boot disk.

    Using this method I was able to swap between two different HP RAID controllers with different drivers in two reboots and without a reinstall.
    Glad you did this recently!

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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    didn't think you could restore an image made from a single disk onto a RAID 5 volume. Or are you talking about restore from backup rather than restore from backup image.
    Depends on your imaging tool, the ntbackup way should work out fine as it is file based, it will probably require a FIXMBR and FIXBOOT from recovery console to add a boot sector to it and make it a system partition as well as running the tool to alter the boot.ini to point to the right controller as it may have changed depending on your BIOS.

    I have used drive snapshot (2GB a minute or more live image) successfully in conjunction with the UBCD for windows to do a restore this way. You can take a live image of the windows installation and then just restore it to the new partition on the RAID, the direct image did not work but you can mount the image as a drive and just do a direct copy.

    After this I had to run FIXMBR in recovery console as the file copy did not write a Master boot record to the drive and I also had to change the partition and adapter numbers in the boot.ini file. There is a tool that does this but I just wrote lots of the possibilities into the list ie:
    Code:
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /FASTDETECT /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /FASTDETECT /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN
    multi(1)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /FASTDETECT /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN
    multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /FASTDETECT /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN
    and went through the list till I found the one that pointed to the right partition.

    If your server BIOS supports setting the boot controller order though this step will probably not be necessary as when you set the RAID controller to be first it will take the place and ID numbers of the old on board controller, this was the case with the hp controllers.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 27th May 2008 at 04:35 PM.

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    Having wasted a full day on this I thought I'd better feedback a few relevant lessons learned.. Someone might as well benefit from this.

    1. Make sure you have a decent drive with you that can be connected internally that you can use irrespective of the SCSI controller (eg: RAID, IDE).
    2. Forget USB drives, even if they do connect in DOS OK... if you use them to backup to in DOS they will take hours to restore data from
    3. DON'T automatically assume you will need to do a fixboot and/or fixmbr... see if the new disk will boot without this (probably my biggest mistake)
    4. Bring some games, a book or other work because this is going to take forever.

    Still not finished resolving this but all in all I wish I had just reinstalled the OS on the RAID controller for all the time I've wasted... Still n'all the lesson has been worth learning, albeit painful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    So long as the RAID controller supports a single disk configuration you should be able to import it and use it just as before. If your new RAID controller supports level migration you may be able to add the extra drives and migrate the RAID level to RAID 5 using the controllers configuration tool.

    Even if the RAID controller does not support the disk import by adding the drivers beforehand a full restore an a pre-setup RAID 5 volume should just boot without issue.
    I think I may have been an idiot... In trying to ensure I never actually lost my drive data I've been taking disk images and then restoring them to the RAID drive but it seems that because I have a DELL Perc 4SC the controller will in fact see the original drive if I set it up as a RAID 0 (stripe) with just a single drive in it.

    For obvious reasons I've assumed that this wouldn't work because the drive is a primary partition, not a logical one. Try as I might I can't find anything to indicate if I'm barking up the wrong tree or not because I think you've pointed out that you were going from one RAID controller to another. Thus your disk partitions have always been Logical.

    Thinking it through logically I've reached the conclusion that the best way to see if the partition type causes a problem or not is to clone the existing drive, take it out and then use the clone to test whether I can create a stripe drive and get it to boot first of all, and if successful, elevate the RAID layer as the PERC docs seem to indicate I can.

    Fingers crossed

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    LOL... Ok... It seems that ordering a chinese helps

    I cloned the system drive I'd setup... Pulled it out, swapped over the SCSI cable to the PERC card and booted up. CTRL + M to get the RAID BIOS... set the cloned system drive to a RAID 0, set that to the bootable drive and reboot again.

    Chinese arrives so I get distracted and go get food... Walk back in... IT WORKED!!

    Ordering a chinese may be an optional step



    Edit: I suspect a little book reading is now required to resolve the confusion of logical RAID drive vs' logical partition. That certainly threw me for a loop. Re-education on this point would be appreciated.
    Last edited by contink; 31st May 2008 at 09:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    Chinese arrives so I get distracted and go get food... Walk back in... IT WORKED!!

    Ordering a chinese may be an optional step

    Edit: I suspect a little book reading is now required to resolve the confusion of logical RAID drive vs' logical partition. That certainly threw me for a loop. Re-education on this point would be appreciated.
    Yea, DOS is horrible when it comes to drive transfer speed, the smartdrive.exe helps a little but I am pretty sure that even this does not properly use DMA to transfer the files which means that is it really slow.

    I have to agree that a break from these kind of things can be really helpful as it gives you time to think and re-frame the problem. Sorry to hear that the fixboot caused issues, I should have made it clearer that those particular commands were only for purely file based backups and restores. I am glad to hear that it is finally up and running for you now.


    When it comes to the RAID stuff the RAID logical drive is the grouping of drives that is presented to the OS a a single continuous drive. Logical partitions are just the low level divisions written to the partition table at the start of the logical drive that Windows uses to represent the raw space as 'data volumes' which are commonly reffered to as drives.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 31st May 2008 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Clarity

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I have to agree that a break from these kind of things can be really helpful as it gives you time to think and re-frame the problem.
    I actually went for a walk around the deserted school and enjoyed the moment earlier but that didn't work.. but yeah... often it's when you stop and say "Ok... start over, whadidimiss?!"

    Sorry to hear that the fixboot caused issues, I should have made it clearer that those particular commands were only for purely file based backups and restores. I am glad to hear that it is finally up and running for you now.
    My own dumbass fault for not checking back through my docs. Lesson re-learned

    When it comes to the RAID stuff the RAID logical drive is the grouping of drives that is presented to the OS a a single continuous drive. Logical partitions are just the file system based divisions written to the partition table that windows uses to represent the raw space as 'data volumes' which are commonly reffered to as drives.
    Gotta love the duplication of terms and confusion caused as a result don't you... Thanks for the primer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    Gotta love the duplication of terms and confusion caused as a result don't you... Thanks for the primer.
    You are so right about that, its common usage messing things up again. Everyone just called them drives back in the old DOS days as in general a partition represented a single drive, like a: or c:, multiple partitions were possible on hard drives but the distinction didn't make the proper term stick.

    The drive based model remained through Windows with the drive letter and so the duplicated usage of the terms remains, even though calling C: C drive is technically wrong lots of people still do it.

    Microsoft has been trying labeling its stuff right in some places, like in the disk manager these chunks are labeled as partitions but wrong in other areas. Example their default label for a partition is "Local Disk" and the type specified under the partitions properties is "Local Disk" also.

    It is no wonder that there is confusion



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