mrpush
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Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

Flash,

Good info here thanks.

If my image software makes a exact copy of the meta data, then why would it not be seen on the new imaged drive?

(maybe caseu the drive was not marked active or bootable?)

If the above is all true, and lets say my image software is messing up the meta volume data,  then after image is done with the drive on the onboard sata (you said I could see raw data w this CERC), why could I not just copy the meta data back on the new drive?

Where is this metadata stored?

How does one do a block level copy of a CERC virtual disk?

And I thought if you did that it rendered the extra drive space on the larger drive unusable?

Thanks,

MP

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mrpush
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Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

Flash,

That is a good idea, did not think of that.  I thought I had read that the volume might be limited to the original smaller size disk howerver.  I guess I could try it.  As long as I have at least one of the originals, I should be fine so as to not lose mey data.  

Huh, I could make backup images of the drives, but they likely would not be recognized by the cerc anyway!  Back to source of my problem!

Now the CERC may not show the increased size, but could I not go into Drive manager in Windows and grow it there?  I have gparted as well that can grow partitons.  I did it successfully on one of my other PE's, but it was on the existing drive, not new drives.

Thanks,

MP

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theflash1932
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Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

"Where is this metadata stored?"

Exactly where the metadata is stored, I don't know ... I just know that only copying a partition or a file-level copy does not copy the part of the disk where this information is stored.  You must copy not just the partitions, but the entire disk, at the block level.

"If the above is all true, and lets say my image software is messing up the meta volume data,  then after image is done with the drive on the onboard sata (you said I could see raw data w this CERC), why could I not just copy the meta data back on the new drive?"

1) You and I don't know where the metadata resides (maybe someone does - and i may just be in the first few sectors of the disk), and 2) the CERC may not accept the metadata in any place but where it is programmed to put it, meaning you would have to leave enough space at the beginning of the disk for this metadata to be written.

"you said I could see raw data w this CERC"

To clarify what I meant to say:  You can boot a CERC drive on the onboard SATA ports and see the raw data, but you cannot do that in reverse (boot a drive on the CERC that was set up on the onbaord SATA ports).

"And I thought if you did that it rendered the extra drive space on the larger drive unusable?"

True that doing a disk copy will keep your partitions the same size, so you would then need to resize them manually (as many backup softwares can restore partition data to larger partitions), but the disk space at least should be available as Unpartitioned Space.

One way you might be able to do this is to attach configure your larger disks on the CERC, then boot to WinPE with the RAID drivers to format and partition the space, then restore your partitions from backup.  That makes sure that the metadata is intact when the partitions are formatted, which is, I believe, the source of the problem here.

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

Flash,

That is a good idea, did not think of that.  I thought I had read that the volume might be limited to the original smaller size disk howerver.  I guess I could try it.  As long as I have at least one of the originals, I should be fine so as to not lose mey data.  

Huh, I could make backup images of the drives, but they likely would not be recognized by the cerc anyway!  Back to source of my problem!

Now the CERC may not show the increased size, but could I not go into Drive manager in Windows and grow it there?  I have gparted as well that can grow partitons.  I did it successfully on one of my other PE's, but it was on the existing drive, not new drives.

Thanks,

MP

The problem that most people run into in doing this is say they replace two 250GB drives with 500GB drives ... after rebuilding each one, their VD (RAID 1) is still 250GB, and because of restrictions in the hardware/logic of the controller, the only thing they can do with that extra 250GB of space is create a new VD across those disks (called "slicing").  This appears to Windows as a separate "disk" in Disk Management, and as such cannot be used to extend existing partitions, and there is no software that will extend VD's.

If I remember right, this controller is the only one that can extend the size of the VD after rebuilding the drives in this manner - by design.  This controller is different from every other controller that Dell has ever used (for example, it can reconfigure to and from a RAID 10 (nested array), where no other controller, Adaptec or LSI, can reconfigure to or from a nested array).  AFTER the VD is extended, THEN  you can use a partitioning utility (Disk Management should be fine) to extend your data partition.

If this isn't the case, and you choose to try it without confirmation, then I apologize for even bringing it up Smiley Happy

 

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mrpush
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Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

"One way you might be able to do this is to attach configure your larger disks on the CERC, then boot to WinPE with the RAID drivers to format and partition the space, then restore your partitions from backup.  That makes sure that the metadata is intact when the partitions are formatted, which is, I believe, the source of the problem here."

Flash,

I have an Ultimate boot disk, not sure that would work or not.  What you are saying is that this would enable me to see the drives to do the format and partition adding CERC array data, but when I copy my images back over the these partitions, would it not just wipe out the array data again?

Maybe you are talking about a "FILE BACKUP" here and not an IMAGE backup?

Thanks,

MP

 

 

 

 

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

If you are only restoring a partition, it will not wipe out the array data.

Keep in mind that Windows cannot talk directly to the drives; the CERC manages the individual drives and creates a logical disk - a virtual disk - that Windows can use:

When you configure RAID, the blue RAID Array /  Logical Drive layer is created, reserving space for metadata and array management; this space is not accessible by Windows.  Windows only has access to those parts of the disk that the RAID array has been configured to make available (the purple).  So, by creating/configuring RAID on the CERC, you ensure the metadata is written to the drives, making a logical disk ready to be presented to Windows.  By booting to a WinPE disk, you can then format and partition the disk as needed - the metadata is protected against access by Windows.  At this point, you would be ready to restore partition-level backups (you said you were trying to restore C:?).

I don't know about Ultimate Boot Disk, but I suspect it will not have the RAID drivers in order to see and work with drives attached to the CERC, which is why I suggested WinPE with the RAID drivers added to it ... so it can see the logical disk made available to the OS by the controller, then partition and format that disk.

If you only take a backup - even an image backup - of a just a partition (I realize this is much faster than imaging the entire drive), then it will not copy that important metadata that is inaccessible/invisible to the OS, which is why you need to partition it first.  Like I said, I'm not familiar with Acronis, but the only way to get a block-level backup is pobably to boot to the backup software, and probably provide the RAID drivers so the software can see the array(s) on the controller.

Have you backed up the entire disk or individual partitions (probably for time/space constraints)?  How does Acronis work ... what are the steps required to make a backup?

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mrpush
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Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

Flash,

Well I have been toying wiht this and now I'm kind  of in a ditch, becaseu basically the CERC / Open Manager are junk, and one does not know what the other is doing.

I deceided to go the "put a single larger drive in place of a smaller drive, and rebuild".  

Well when I tried that, I wiped out all the data on the larger drive by deleting partitions in Drive manager.  The CERC BIOS saw the new drive as a "degraded raid-1" and also the original drive as a "degraded raid 1".  What the?

Appearently the larger drive still had some previous ARRAY DATA on it, you know that data that I though I could not get on the new drives to get them to work with images copies?

So now I boot to Open manager, check the arrays.  The Original raid 1 drive shows as Degraded raid 1.  That seems normal, however, it will not let me add another drive to it or re-configure it.  I can only "unmirror"

So I re-boot again just to see what happens without making changes.  Hey how about that, things changed again.

Now the CERC bios sees the original disk as a "VOLUME" not raid-1 degraded.  What the?

I zap the larger dirve I attempt to get in the mix and format it with Open manager.

I put the original small mirror drive back in and the CERC does not see it as the original mirror partner, just another drive.

Great, so now I have lost redundancy.  

I can unmirror the 1st original drive, but since these systems obviously do not work correctly together, who the heck knows what will happen and I'm afraid to do that.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

MP  

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mrpush
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Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

Update...well how about that, the unmirror will not even work.  Gives me an error.  

Wow...do they not test this things in multipule scenrios?

MP

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mrpush
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Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

Hi,

So it appers I have tricked the CERC and it has changed a RAID 1 to a "VOLUME" and now its stuck there and cannot be changed back to a RAID-1, I get and error that "this cannot be done".  Does anyone know how to re-trick this CERC and get my redundancy back.

Wow, I can't believe that this is this difficult the fact that a CERC that you depend upon can be messed up so easily.  Again what blows me away is the CERC BIOS says one thing and OPEM MANAGER says another.

If anyone has any suggestions that would be great.  I now have a non-redundant system with a CERC that is stuck with no ability to re-mirror my drives when I clearily should be able to.  

Thanks,

MP

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Highlighted
mrpush
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Re: How to upgrade to larger hard drives on PE1800 w CERC SATA 1.5/6?

Dalario,

Nice to have some company in this CERC SATA nightmare.  LOL.

I have spent a week messing around with this controller that does all kinds of crazy stuff and changes setting without any input from me!

I have forgone the "swap one larger for smaller and rebuild" as when I tried that the new larger drive already had some CERC array data on it as I tried to put a clone image on that drive prior.  Wow, talk about screwing things up.  The CERC killed my RAID-1 degraded and set it to type VOLUME in my case.  Now I am unable to do anything with this drive, its lost its redundancy AND it can't be fixed.  It has "unmirror" in tasks, but it does not work.  I can't add a global spare to it either, its hosed.

Oh yeah, the CERC BIOS says type "VOLUME" but in Open Manager, it stil says "RAID-1 Degraded".  Two different things!  It is all messed up and it was easy!  

After lots of reading it turns out in some Dell guide it says to "make sure you initialize any replacement drives prior to using as rebuilds to remove CERC array data."  

Huh, they needed to add to that that statment that if you don't, it will completely confuse the CERC and wreck your arrays.  Oh, did I mention that the other drive in the broken RAID 1, which should have been a perfect backup to the other, IS NOT EVEN SEEN on the CERC anymore, just shows up as another drive.  Well what heppendd to the array data on that one?  Must be the CERC gets jacked as well if you swap drive on other ports with different Drive ID's.  

You got "LEGACY" wow, thats one I never saw.

Anyway, the bottom line with this CERC is to NOT MESS WITH IT at all or you will be in trouble.  Take full backups of all your data and operations system, system state etc before even openign the case to touch this thing.

Now, I have already done what you mentioned.  

I added my 2 new drives (Oh, and they somehow show up as a RAID-1 pair and start to rebuild!  LOL!  Can you believe it)  Anyway, I created a new Virtual disk from them in OPEN MANAGER, added partitons with Windoes Disk Manager, Set the partitons the same as my originals (boot partition to be ACTIVE).

I cloned the partitions using DriveImage XML.  Everything seemed to go fine, however the cloned drive will not boot.  

I have tried a conglomerate of BOOTCFG, BOOTFIX, FixMBR etc, but I have yet to get it.

I believe the problem lies in that either the BOOT.ini or the drive letters assigned in the CERC.

Odd thing is that Driveimage XML and windows see the Boot drive letter as G, but the CERC (when I boot from Windows CD, apply CERC drivers, and then browes drive) sees the boot partiton as D.  Go figure.

I'm going to tinker with the boot.ini, as I believe it looks for DRIVE 0 in the disk(0) or rdisk(0) part of boot.ini, and this new imaged partiton is on DRIVE 2 in the CERC and windows.

I did get a "NTLDR not found" on one boot attempt.  

I *might* be close with this method.

I sepnt so much time as the image tools are great for DR, but if you can;t get them to boot, well, ya know.

If i can't get this cloned drives to boot, i will just wipe out the drives do a new OS install on the CERC Array, then restore from a FULL backup.  

What I was trying to avoid fromt he start.

Anybody have advice?

Thanks

MP

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