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Windows Thread, Setting up new server in Technical; Iím setting up anew Dell server and as Iíve never touched RAID before I need help. It will be running ...
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    Jobos's Avatar
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    Setting up new server

    Iím setting up anew Dell server and as Iíve never touched RAID before I need help. It will be running 2003 R2

    Ok, the server is a PowerEdge 2900 5 X 146GB SAS HDD configured as RAID 5 with a hot spare HD. On the Dell system build screen its saying RAID level 5 and size 680GB. So that looks like the spare HD is running. Is that correct and do I need to change anything?

    Whatís the recommended size of the boot partition? I was thinking 20GB.

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    sammy's Avatar
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    Build

    Hi ,

    hmm let me think..... if you have 5 x 146gb....in a raid 5 scenario with 1 hot spare online hdd ...then your system should be showing 3 x 146 = 438Gb of usuable RAID 5 data space on which you can create partitions etc becuase you lose 1 disk in the parity stripe. Outside of this you should see 1 x 146Gb disk which is assigned as a hot online spare to the previous array / raid set.

    if your not familiar with RAID this may sound like mumbo jumbo....sorry if im not being more clear.

    I am not very familiar with the DELL RAID utility because I deal mostly with HP and IBM servers...but the principles of RAID are exactly the same.....

    come back to me if you have any issues with the above.

    Ps. if you are currently seeing 680Gb , then you definitely dont have any online spares in place....the entire 5 disks are being used in the RAID set.


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    IanT's Avatar
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    On RAID 5 you should have it like this:

    Total Array Size: 584GB
    Total Useable Disk Space: 543GB

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    Jobos (3rd December 2008)

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    Jobos's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply guys. It looks to me like the spare HD is being used. Apart from removing the drive is there anyway to configure RAID to keep it as a spare? The server is using a Perc 6 controller.

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    Controller

    Hi ,

    the Perc 6 raid controller will have a option on the main GUI config screen that allows you to assign drives to arrays and also assign the hot spare.

    Are you trying to configure this using the rom based bios utility or the raid setup cd ?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I would go with 30 to 40GB for the system partition as this gives you more room for unexpectidly large server apps and unpackuing updates etc.

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    Jobos (3rd December 2008)

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    Jobos's Avatar
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    I don't remember seeing a CD for the raid. Could I use the options at boot-up?

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    Controller

    Hi Jobos,

    im not familiar with the Perc controller utility on the DELL servers but im very certain that the interface will be very similar to the Smart Array controllers on the HP servers...because all these manaufactures have similar setups.

    When you restart the server, at the bios screen where its going through initial checks etc, it will highlight that you have a PERC controller which can see x number of disks on the system....it will then also give you a F1 or F8 or something F prompt which will take you into the Raid controllers utility at bios level.....in there you can set up the raid level very easily and assign the spares etc with a very basic GUI....I always use this.

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    Jobos (3rd December 2008)

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    Bezwick's Avatar
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    Wink

    During boot up there will be an option to access the raid system. In there you will have to delete the current RAID setup and create a new one. When you do, you can selct which drives you want to be part of the RAID array. Sorry i cant remember all the key presses, but its a couple of years since i setup ours. But i do remember its quite straight forward.

    When you come to install the OS i would agree make the system partition 30-40gig (I Use 40). Also for preference i make a seperate parting quite small around 8gig to use for the swap file to help with fragmentation but its not essential its just a matter of choice.

    Good luck

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    Jobos (3rd December 2008)

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    Jobos's Avatar
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    Iíve changed the raid and made a 40GB system partition. This server is replacing a win2000 box and will be the only server acting as jack of all trades. Now I need to decide on the partition sizes for the other drives and what is installed where. Iíve got 505GB unallocated space to play with. So far my list includes:

    ISA cache only mode
    SQL 2005
    Exchange 2003
    Sims
    CA anti-virus
    WSUS
    Users data (currently 50GB)

    Any thoughts?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Chuck all of the data on to one large data partition, this will provide the most efficient use of space. The main reasons to have the data on a different volume are to prevent run away data from using up all the space and chokeing AD and the server to death along with makeing it easier to reinstall.

    The only real benifit that you would get from more partitions is being able to implement different file quota settings for each one. Putting it all into a large data partition will not cause any performance hit and will prevent the situation of having multiple partitions that have just enough space left to run but not enough to be useful. Ongoing matinence and operation wise I would go with this method.

    You could have fun with ISA and exchange on the same box as that configuration is not recomended due to its fragile nature. ISA 2006 is virtualizavle so it might be worth looking into running it on a VM if it causes problems for you. I'm also assuming that it has a fair number of processor cores and a stack of RAM to deal with that load without grinding to a halt.

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    Ideally, you should have really created multiple RAID sets and not just the 1 (RAID 5). Further more you could have created partitions after. One reason to create multiple RAIDS is purely on performance of the server. Having a RAID 5 gives you fault tolerance but the least performance considering the other options you have. Also, it allows only 1 disk to fail, although you have a hot spare, if you havent tested the hot spare funtionality and if you dont know if your servers' HD has failed, your server will be unavaliable, total loss. One idea that I'd recommened is that you could have deployed a virtual environment, that way you could have multiple servers isoloated and if one fails then other services are avaliable. This RAID 5 set-up is only giving you some HA at the hardware level, not at the OS/Application Layer. Hence, why I'm saying that it would have been nice to have virtual servers. Assuming that you're a MS user, you could have implemented a clustered solution using the virtual servers giving you HA/R at both the hardware and software level. What happens if one of the software cause a crash, your whole server could go down, total loss of service for those users it's providing a service to.

    Just my thoughts.

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