We have an older PE T110 first generation with a PERC S300 RAID controller and 4x250GB drives. However, because the controller is older, there is not much in terms of documentation on SSD compatibility. Has anyone had any success upgrading any server/workstation using a PERC S300 with an SSD of any kind in RAID 10 configuration?
Lastly, I don't recall what kind of connector is on the existing drives and am a little confused about the difference between SATA and SAS. What normally comes stock with this system and what would I need if I moved to SSD's? New cables? Anything else I would need to know?
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would it be safe to assume that I could just as easily swap out each drive of the array, one at a time, with an SSD?
You cannot mix SAS and SATA in the same array. You also cannot mix HDD and SSD. If the S300 doesn't support SSD, then it may not know the difference between a SATA SSD and a SATA HDD, so it may work, but 1) I wouldn't count on it, and 2) just know that on real RAID controllers, it can't be done.
In the end, I'm not sure if it will accomplish your goals. The reason I asked is because you may have been able to just add the SSD's as a new VD, then move database files, etc. to it to improve speed, but this all sounds like a lot of work for little return. I'd just invest in a good backup, recovery solution. Can this run in a virtual environment?
"Stock"? Eh, that's buyer's choice, BUT hardly anyone would pay the price of SAS drives and put them in a T110.
SAS cables/connectors and controllers will take SAS or SATA drives. SATA cables/connectors and controllers will only take SATA. See the comparison here:
They make SAS SSD's, but they are very expensive, so assuming you go with SATA SSD's, you can use your existing cables (because the drives you have - 250GB - are SATA too).
Honestly, I would remove the S300 altogether and connect them to the onboard SATA ports.
Thank you so much for clarifying that. I was a little confused on the compatibility and that clears it up much better. Because this is a production machine and little available in terms of failover, having some RAID is better than no RAID. Or are you referring to using the onboard controller in RAID mode?
are you referring to using the onboard controller in RAID mode?
No. that is the worst possible scenario. The S100 controller is even worst than the S300. Put them on the onboard SATA ports in non-RAID (AHCI) mode and do OS-managed RAID instead.
"Honestly, I would remove the S300 altogether and connect them to the onboard SATA ports."
Well, since the S300 doesn't support SSD drives, that would be a good choice.
Not "supported", but that doesn't mean they don't work on it anyway. S-series reliability and performance is the real disservice and the reason I suggested just removing it altogether (not intending he use the onboard RAID).
That clarifies it so well, thank you. Because of the proprietary nature of software we run, I do not have any 64 bit migration pathway, so can only squeeze performance through hardware means only, even though it seems marginal. I found a set of Seagate Pulsar's that I can install and was wondering about a couple details.
I plan on using Terabyte Image to clone the existing RAID array. But are the RAID configuration details stored on the controller, the drives, or both? If I were to create an image, restore it to the new SSD array, but find it not working, would it be as simple as putting the old drives back in and booting back to normal?
Both. You can always put the drive back in, but because the SSD will have a different configuration, you will have to IMPORT the foreign configuration found on the drives if you put the originals back in.
I have never actually tried this before. Is it relatively straight forward in Windows 2003 Server x86? And given the age of the OS, wouldn't I be better off just trying to piece-meal this server using the SSD's on the PERC S300?
And as for "chicken or the egg," given my setup, how would I let the OS configure the array if I want to clone the OS to that same array ...? Or is it not possible w/o a clean install? Very interesting discussion, thank you!
For sake of simplicity, if you are cloning, I would create a VD with the SSD's, then clone directly from one VD to the other, BECAUSE cloning isn't designed to move between different hardware.
If you were doing a backup/restore using good backup software, then you could inject the onboard AHCI drivers into the restore, moving from the current S300 array to a standalone SATA SSD disk on the chipset controller THEN configure a software RAID.
So, it is also horrible that you are using Server 2003. 2003 doesn't support SSD's and won't know how to use them properly, although it will still run better on them. 2003 is also obsolete and past end-of-life. That said, let's look at why you are wanting to use SSD's in the first place. Something isn't running as fast as you'd like? If you are running a database or file shares or something like QuickBooks on the server, you can create a second/separate VD with the SSD's and move the data/services that need the extra speed to the SSD array.