DELL Raid drives configuration

Some comments and instructions for adding and extending add’l drives in a Raid-5 server


1. DELL Support Forum:
I can’t speak for the Dell tech support dept but the Dell Forums are also a pretty good source of info, including Dell technician answers.  They have a community forum set up specifically for “Poweredge servers – Raid configurations”.   I’ve seen your type of question there a million times. I’ve also seen steps to adding the drive and then extending the partition afterwards with 3rd party or even Dell Ultilities…

While I get most of my help and advice from this fantastic newsgroup, the Dell Raid forum is also pretty helpful when it comes to a such a narrow and specific topic.

http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/board?board.id=pes_hardrive

2. Comments from Gavin:
It appears to be as simple as:
1) Backing up the data ; )
2) adding the drives to the bays (hot swappable)
3) opening Dell Array Manager
4) Right clicking on the virtual drive array
5) adding the disks (called members)
6) letting it reconfigure the drives
7) either format or extend the new unallocated space
We’ll see!! ; )


3. Comments from Dave:

Hi Kevin – What I’d do is upgrade the controller firmware to 2.7-1, which is the version immediately prior to the current 2.8x.  I ran into problems with 2.8 and actually had to remove it from one of my servers due to a huge number of controller errors. (The controller appeared to be working normally but it was logging so many problems I was constantly reading event logs).  The easiest and best way to do it is to download the firmware and create the firmware upgrade diskette.  Then install the comparable driver version in Device Manager.  When the server reboots from the driver update, let it boot to the firmware diskette and upgrade the firmware.  I don’t use Open Manage to upgrade this stuff any more after it smoked a motherboard – the diskette method is tried and true.  (A Dell tech told me over the weekend that they’ve had some problems with the 2.8 versions of the drivers and firmware).


 

Dell switched their support site around, which seems like a big PIA.  Anyway, the fix for that ASPI issue is under the Systems Management category and Dell OpenManage Array Manager 3.4.1.  I installed this and I think the installer just removes the unsupported version and installs the right version

 

If you can do the configuration you’re after in the container utility, I don’t know of any reason not to.  It seems like the Dell techs tend to go there rather than Array Manager (annoying since a reboot is required, where array manager can run while the server’s in use).

 

Since you don’t already have array manager, you can get OpenManage Server Assistant, a ~200mb download but it includes array manager.  Server Administrator uses IE as the interface, and it reads all the internal probes (temp, voltage, etc), the ESM logs, etc. – all the on-board diagnostic stuff.  It’ll also let you see driver, bios, and firmware info without rebooting.  You can access it from a workstation, and it logs to the event log if there’s a problem.  I let a Dell support tech talk me into it and I’ve never been sorry.  The driver and firmware requirements apply, and the installation will bomb if the server doesn’t meet the requirements.

 

I’ve had problems with all 3 of my PE’s lately – the 2500 raid controller failed because of a firmware upgrade that was botched by OpenManage Server Administrator (but a hardware guy told me the MB could have been ready to go anyway).  The 2400 got a new backplane yesterday (4.5 year old server), and the 2600 had a drive fail at the age of about 5 months.  I feel like I’m ready to go to work for Dell support.  But having paid all this money for redundancy, hardware raid, and hot spare drives, I’ve got to say that everything worked flawlessly, no data lost, and no down time other than diagnosis and parts repair.  I guess if I had to pay for it, I’m glad it worked.

 

Let me know if you have any questions.  As I said, I’ve been into all this recently so it’s fresh in my mind.  And give Server Administrator a try – I think you’ll like the features and the amount of info you can get from it.  There’s another thing called (I think) IT Assistant – you can set up a box with that, and all the servers’ Server Administrator programs will report to that one location, so you can monitor all the servers from one box.  If I get a chance, I’m going to try setting it up on an old win2k p3 workstation I’ve got in the attic.

 

Talk to you soon,

Dave



 

One thought on “DELL Raid drives configuration

  1. Hello Dave,
    Being a newbee i find this problem handy.

    I have got a PE6950 server.
    5 harddisks(80 gb each)with raid5 configured.
    I have to add two more HDD to extend raid volume without lossing data.

    Is it possibe? If yes ,HOW?

    Please help

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