Dell PowerEdge: PERC H310 / H810 Configuration and FAQ

Dell PowerEdge: PERC H310 / H810 Configuration and FAQ

This tutorial is going to show the main steps to configure the controllers PERC H310 and PERC H810.

Table of Content

  1. Entering the controller PERC H130 / PERC H810
  2. Key shortcuts
  3. Creating a VD with RAID 0 or RAID 1
  4. Removing an HD and recreating your RAID 1 array
  5. Loading drivers to install Windows
  6. How to connect the Hard Drives
  7. Is it possible to use only one HD without creating an array?
  8. What to do with a foreign status
  9. How to configure a hot spare
  10. Differences between SATA and SAS

1. Entering the controller PERC H130 / PERC H810

To enter the controller’s configuration menu, you must press the combination of <CTRL> + <R> keys after the POST (as soon as the Dell logo is not visible anymore).
The following screen will be presented:

Understanding each of the menus available:
VD Mgmt – Configuration of virtual disks, formed by the combination of physical disks, creating one single virtual volume call VD.
PD Mgmt – Configuration of physical disks, with some options to rebuild, configure the hot spares, among others.
Ctrl Mgmt – The option to configure the controller to communicate with the system. It allows you to configure the communication with BIOS, how errors are presented, among others.

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2. Key shortcuts

There are some keys to help navigate the menus:
F1 – Help
F2 – Opens a pop-up menu with the options for the selected item
F5 – Refresh the data visualization
Ctrl+N – Go to the next tab
Ctrl+P – Go to the previous tab
F12 – Select the controller to be used (in case there is more than one in the same system)

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3. Creating a VD with RAID 0 or RAID 1

On the VD Mgmt tab, select the controller (in this example a PERC H800), press the <F2> key, and select the option Create New VD:
  1. In RAID Level, press the <ENTER> key and select the option desired. In this example, we used the RAID-0 option, but the creation process for the other RAID types is the same.
  2. Press <TAB> to go to the Physical Disks configuration. In this section, you can select the disks you want to be part of this array by pressing the <SPACE> key.
  3. Press <TAB> again to enter the Basic Settings section, where you can set the VD size and name.
  4. Pressing <TAB> again will take you to the Advanced Settings section, with the available options:
    1. Stripe Element Size: You can set the size of each segment that is going to be written on the physical disks on RAIDs 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and 60. The standard and recommended size is 64KB. A higher value will give you a better reading performance if your system does sequential reading.
    2. Read Policy: The standard value is Adaptive Read Ahead. The Read Ahead option allows the controller to perform sequential searches on the disk, predicting the information that are going to be needed and storing it in cache for a better reading time. The option No Read Ahead disables this option. The option Adaptive Read Ahead is going to check if there are sequential searching being requested, and if so, it is going to work with the prediction. In case it is random search, it is not going to work with the prediction.
    3. Write Policy: You have the option Write-Back, where a signal is sent to the controller when there is the need to write something on the disk and, after all the data is cached on the controller, it is then written on the disk. The Write-Through option indicates that this signal will be sent only after all of the data was written to the disk.
  5. Press <TAB> again and select OK to create the VD or Cancel.

  6. After the creation of your RAID-0 volume, we need to initialize this array so it can be ready to receive an operational system. For this, inside the disk group of your controller, select your VD, press the <F2> key, and select Initialization and then Fast Init.

  7. As soon as this initialization is over, this array is ready for an operational system installation.
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4. Removing an HD and recreating your RAID 1 array

When there are some problems regarding the communication between the disk and the controller, or even if it is removed for some other reason, the RAID state can change do Degraded.
This status will change your VD’s color do yellow, informing that your RAID is partially functional. In case it is red, the state would be Failed, indicating that the RAID is not operational.
Expanding the Physical Disks section, you can see which disk is causing this error and some options to revert the situation pressing F2 while the failed disk is highlighted:

  • Rebuild: This option will rebuild your array, trying to fix some communication problem and rebuilding the whole array. This is the longest process, but also the recommended.
  • Replace Member: You can use this option to replace a faulty hard drive. If you select this option, another screen will show up where you can specify which disk should be replaced and start rebuilding it.
  • LED Blinking: Using this option will force the hard drive LED do blink so you can identify it physically on the system and replace it if it is faulty.
  • Force Online: If the hard drive is offline for some reason, this option will force it’s status do Online if possible. Select this option as the first choice when trying to solve this sort of problem.
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5. Loading drivers to install Windows

As the hard drive is not connected directly to the motherboard, the device responsible for its communication with the system is the controller.
When installing Windows, no disk will be recognized as the Windows installation disk does not contain the drivers needed to communicate with the controller and show you what volumes are available.
In this case, there is an additional step when installing the operating system.
First of all, you need to download the driver: After the download is finished, you must extract the content of the installer to the C:\Dell\Drivers folder and then copy it to a USB Flash drive, External Hard Drive or burn it into a media so it can be used during the Windows installation.
On the screen below, you must press the item "Load Driver":

In the next screen, press OK and make sure to select the option "Hide drivers that are not compatible with hardware on this computer", to avoid some compatibility issues.

After loading the drivers, click on Next and start the Windows installation.
You can use this same procedure for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

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6. How to connect the Hard Drives

Check the image below In order to perform the correct Hard Drive installation:

The hard drives must be connected to your controller, not to the motherboard. This way, the controller will be responsible for the communication with your disks.

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7. Is it possible to use only one HD without creating an array?

This configuration is possible, but some steps are needed when configuring your disk.
When there's only one hard disk connected to the controller, the configuration should be as RAID 0 or leave as Non-Raid. It is important to remember that if you install your system in a non-raid volume if one day you need to change the array type, you are going to have to do the entire configuration again.
Follow these instructions in order to leave it as non-raid:
  1. Go to the Pd Mgmt screen pressing <Ctrl>+<N> on the home screen
  2. Highlight your disk and press <F2>
  3. Select the option Convert to Non-Raid
In order to create a RAID with a single disk:
  1. Go to the Pd Mgmt screen pressing <Ctrl>+<N> on the home screen
  2. Highlight your disk and press <F2>
  3. Select the option Convert to Raid Capable
  4. Proceed with the steps in section 3. Creating a VD with RAID 0 or RAID 1
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8. What to do with a foreign status

There are some cases where you can have an alert in your controller indicating a Hard Drive with the Foreign status.
This status only indicates that the controller did not automatically recognize the configuration stored on this hard disk.
It is a common problem and can happen even by removing the hard drive physically and reattaching it.
To solve this problem we must:
  • On VD Mgmt screen, highlight the controller and press <F2>
  • Go to the Foreign Config option and press the right arrow on your keyboard
  • There are two available options: Import and Clear
    • Import: Use this option to import the configuration from the disk to the controller
    • Clear: This option will clear all of the information on the disk, making it possible to use it to create a new array or setting it as a dedicated hot spare.
  • By selecting Import, a new window will show up with the import information where you can confirm the data before starting the process.
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9. How to configure a hot spare

Hot Spare definition: If there is any I/O errors in any physical disk, all of the arrays of this disk are going to be copied to a safe disk as designated.
To configure these disks, considering we already have an array, we must do the following:

Select your Disk Group, and then press the <F2> key. Select the Manage Ded. HS option:

On the next window, we can see the available disks to be used as Hot Spares. You can press <SPACE> to select it, and then press OK to commit the changes.

you can see on the main screen that there is a dedicated hot spare configured:

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10. Differences between SATA and SAS

Here are some of the main differences between the SATA and SAS technologies.
Description SAS SATA
Operational Availability 24h x 7 days 08h x 05 days per week
Load 100% 20%
Cost Moderated Low Cost
Search and Latency 5,7 milliseconds, 15k RPM 13 milliseconds, 7.2k RPM
Search Line Order Total Limited
Rotational Vibration Tolerance 21 RD / sec / sec 5 to 12 RD / sec / sec
Input-Output for unity 319 77
Duplex Operation Total Partial
Damaged sector recovery 7 to 15 seconds 30 seconds
Sensor vibration RV Compensation No compensation
Sector size 518 bytes and allows controller Fixed size in 512 bytes
Temperature ~60ºC ~40ºC
Warranty Up to 5 years Up to 3 years
FW Code Wide Limited
LEDs Yes No

Other than the technical specification in this table, the SAS speed is superior to SATA disks.
The cost of a SATA disk is lower than a SAS as the technology used for SAS disks in overall is expansive.
Depending on your environment, need for storage space or performance, a SAS disk can be the better option.
If you do not need performance and need a bigger storage space, SATA would be the best option.

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Article ID: HOW11629

Last Date Modified: 10/03/2018 09:12 AM

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