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tpiusa
1 Copper

Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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I have two PowerEdge 2900 III servers with Perc 6/i RAID controllers.  The motherboard died on one of the machines.  I'd like to put the 4 drives that make up a RAID 5 configuration on the dead computer into 4 empty bays on the good computer, and then copy some files off that drive.  Sounds simple enough 🙂  Will there by any "ID" conflicts if I do this and then eventually put the drives back into the original computer once the motherboard is replaced (or into another computer that replaces this one?).

Both machines have the Perc 6/i controller.  The drives are hot-swappable.  Can I pull the drives from the dead machine, put them in the running machine, use Dell OpenManage Server Administrator to "import" the virtual drive from the 4 disks?  Will I need to reboot before the OS (Windows 2008 Standard Edition SP1) can see this drive to copy data from it?

Is there doc on how to "import" a foreign VD?  I've never done this before...

Is this a "safe" thing to do (as long as I don't "initialize" any of the disks, they will not be written to unless configured properly and written to by the os)?

Any advice would be appreciated, I'd like access to these files as soon as possible.  Unfortunately not everything is backed up properly, so I'd like to tread lightly.  If you think it best to replace the motherboard and leave the drives where they are, I'll wait...  

Also, I probably need to ensure the BIOS / firmware is up-to-date first...  Not sure where to check for Perc 6/i firmware updates yet.  Currently in the working computer:

Firmware/Driver Information for Controller PERC 6/i Integrated:
Firmware Version 6.3.0-0001
Driver Version 2.24.00.64
Main System BIOS:
Version 2.7.0
Release Date 10/30/2010
Thanks for any and all advice.
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Re: Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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TPIUSA.

I assume that you have an existing array on the good 2900 III? Is the array you are bringing over ALSO an array containing the OS and is bootable? You can add the dead servers drives to the working server and it will show up as Foreign, as the drives have existing array data on them. What you would need to do is boot to the controller BIOS (CTRL-R) on boot. From there select the Virtual drive that has the failed servers drives in it showing Foreign and hit F2. Then select FOREIGN CONFIG and then Import Foreign Config. The array will then be accessible. To return the drives to another server you will have to perform this each time.

I wouldn't suggest making a habit of this, but your data should be stable. I would get the data from the drives and then if the drives will stay with this server I would backup data and then recreate the array after retrieving the data.

Also, after importing. You need to make sure your existing array is still marked as bootable in the controller. You can access the data that way and not run into any driver issues booting to a array from another server.

Let me know how it goes.

 

Chris Hawk

Dell | Social Outreach Services - Enterprise
Get Support on Twitter @DellCaresPro 
Download the Dell Quick Resource Locator app today to access PowerEdge support content on your mobile device! (iOS, Android, Windows)

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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"Can I pull the drives from the dead machine, put them in the running machine, use Dell OpenManage Server Administrator to "import" the virtual drive from the 4 disks?"

Yes, and in a perfect world, that is all you'll need to do.

"Will I need to reboot before the OS (Windows 2008 Standard Edition SP1) can see this drive to copy data from it?"

Not usually (especially in later OS's).

"Is this a "safe" thing to do (as long as I don't "initialize" any of the disks"

You don't initialize individual disks on a PERC.  You initialize virtual disks, and only after they are created.

Making sure the firmware matches up will help reduce the chances of "odd" things going wrong.  From what you posted, the firmware version is 6.3.0.0001, and the latest is .0003, so if the old one was running the latest, it would be best to update it first.

http://ftp.dell.com/FOLDER00416609M/1/SAS-RAID_Firmware_W83M2_WN32_6.3.1-0003_A14.EXE

 

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tpiusa
1 Copper

Re: Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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So, just to follow up...  As I put the disks in one at a time, they may say "foreign", but once I have all in, they should automatically be recognized as a VD? Or is there some "import" step I'm missing? That sounds almost too good to be true 🙂  I will try this afternoon...

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Re: Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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TPIUSA.

I assume that you have an existing array on the good 2900 III? Is the array you are bringing over ALSO an array containing the OS and is bootable? You can add the dead servers drives to the working server and it will show up as Foreign, as the drives have existing array data on them. What you would need to do is boot to the controller BIOS (CTRL-R) on boot. From there select the Virtual drive that has the failed servers drives in it showing Foreign and hit F2. Then select FOREIGN CONFIG and then Import Foreign Config. The array will then be accessible. To return the drives to another server you will have to perform this each time.

I wouldn't suggest making a habit of this, but your data should be stable. I would get the data from the drives and then if the drives will stay with this server I would backup data and then recreate the array after retrieving the data.

Also, after importing. You need to make sure your existing array is still marked as bootable in the controller. You can access the data that way and not run into any driver issues booting to a array from another server.

Let me know how it goes.

 

Chris Hawk

Dell | Social Outreach Services - Enterprise
Get Support on Twitter @DellCaresPro 
Download the Dell Quick Resource Locator app today to access PowerEdge support content on your mobile device! (iOS, Android, Windows)

theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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Don't put them in one at a time.  Power down to do this.

"As I put the disks in one at a time, they may say "foreign", but once I have all in, they should automatically be recognized as a VD"

They will not automatically be recognized as a VD.  The RAID configuration is stored on the controller and on the disks, so if you introduce disks with configurations on them that are "foreign" to this controller, it will mark them as such.  When you Import the foreign configuration, the controller then reads the configuration from the drives and loads it for use with the OS.

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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"That sounds almost too good to be true"

It is not magic; it is a design feature of the PERC's.

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tpiusa
1 Copper

Re: Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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Thank you all for the great info.  Turns out I avoided the "foreign" import altogether - a colleague had a Power Edge 2950 not in use that had a Perc 5i controller.  We simply removed the Perc 5i, put my Perc 6i controller in, put the drives in the same locations, and booted the machine up.  At least as a short term solution - this gets me the data and the machine is up and running.  

Again, thanks for the quick responses!

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: Need help reading RAID 5 drives from one machine on another - Perc 6/i controllers

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That works too 🙂

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