PowerEdge Tutorials: Physical Disks and RAID Controller (PERC) on Servers

Summary: Tutorials about Dell PowerEde RAID Controller Cards and Drive manipulations.

Article Content

This page provides tutorials about Hard Drives, Virtual Disks, and the RAID Controller (PERC) in PowerEdge Server. It explains how to replace a PD (physical disk or physical drive) when it is failed or in predictive failure status.

The list of available PERC models, with the generation and specifications, can be found at the following address Dell.com/PERC

A RAID controller is a hardware device on high-end servers or software program on low-end servers that are used to manage hard drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs) a server or storage array. The controller offers a level of abstraction between an operating system and the physical drives. A RAID controller can prevent groups of physical disks to the OS for which data protection schemes such as RAID-5 or RAID-10 can be defined to protect and guarantee data integrity.

Table of Content

  1. Hard Drives
  2. Virtual Disks
  3. Raid Controller
  4. More RAID information


Legend: Illustration of drives that are connected to a backplane, and communicating with the RAID Controller to provide 2 virtual disks to the host.

Operations on Hard Drives (HDD)

What is the meaning of LED on Physical Drives (PD)? SLN305722 
Most of the time these LEDs are blinking green. When amber appears, it can be interesting to know the color code.

How to identify the Hard Drive properties and update the firmware? SLN305723 
Each hard drive is using a firmware that is provided by the manufacturer, new versions improve the reliability. Learn how to check the current version and how to update. 

How do I identify a physical disk failure? SLN292295 
A hard drive is not performing as it should be? In this article, you learn the main symptoms of a failing disk and the steps to perform an initial diagnostic.

How to solve a Predictive Failure Disk? SLN305727
The number of bad blocks is increasing to the limit, it may be a good time to replace the hard drive before the failure.

How to switch offline a Physical Disk in OMSA? SLN317646 
Before unplugging a functional disk from a backplane, it is safe to switch the HDD offline in OpenManage Server Administrator. All Inputs and Outputs are stopped to avoid any loss.

How to physically replace an HDD (Hot-Swap procedure)? SLN305728
When it is time to replace the hard drive, this article is useful. It explains the steps to perform to safely replace the component. 

How to use the Nautilus Bootable media to update all drives firmware? SLN292308 
Using the Dell Nautilus Firmware Update Utility is probably one of the easiest and most flexible ways of updating your hard drive firmware. A server reboot is required to perform the update.

Operations on Virtual Disks (VD)

Create a Virtual Disk is the first step to do before loading data on it. Settings differ based on the PERC model.
The generation of the PERC can be determined on the following page Dell.com/PERC
PERC 7, 8 or 9: How to create a Virtual Disk using PERC BIOS? SLN132533
PERC 10: How to create a Virtual Disk using PERC BIOS (SLN307603) or iDRAC 9 Web Interface (SLN307276) 

RAID setup tricks and tips to get your Dell PowerEdge Setup using OpenManage Server Administrator HOW17101 
OS Deployment, Raid setup and additional raid configuration.  

Dell PowerEdge: How to change the RAID level of a Virtual Disk  000129246
After adding the new disk, it might be needed to add it in the existing Virtual Disk. 

How to add and replace a failed disk in a Perc S100, S110 or S300? SLN290972 
For software PERC, the procedure to replace a failed disk is more specific.

How to Assign a Hard Drive in Global Hot Spare? SLN305775 
Declaring a hard drive as a hot spare is useful when replacing a failed disk. (OMSA/PERC bios/iDRAC)

Assign/unassign hot spare in system setup in PowerEdge RAID Controller 10 SLN318494 
How to assign/unassign hot spare in bios.

How to extend a Virtual Disk? SLN305744 
Extend a Virtual Disk allows to expand the RAID size.

How to change the RAID level in a Virtual Disk? SLN305744 
An online virtual disk can be reconfigured in ways that expand its capacity and/or change its RAID level.
For example, this is possible to move from a RAID-0 to a RAID-5 or from a RAID-1 to a RAID-5.

How to back up a Virtual Disk? SLN305745 
Before engaging any critical data operation or as part of scheduled maintenance, having a working backup is an excellent option.

PowerEdge Server: How to delete a virtual disk using the System Setup -  
How to delete a virtual disk using the bios.

How to import a "Foreign Configuration" in the RAID Controller using the System Setup Menu HOW17083 
How to import a virtual disk showing as foreign using the BIOS menus.

SLN300675_en_US__3icon Note: RAID performances are slighted degraded during any controller operation.

Operations on PowerEdge Raid Controller (PERC)

How to update a Perc Raid Controller (PERC)? 
The firmware and the driver can be updated on a RAID controller card. The steps to update the firmware and the driver are provided in the "Update" page.
  • The driver has to be updated directly from the operating system, please read the article SLN305406 to know more.
  • The firmware can be updated from the operating system (SLN305406) or directly from the iDRAC (134013)

How to enter in the Power Edge Raid Configuration Utility? SLN306643 
Usually pressing CTRL-R during the startup allows entering in the utility. 

How to export PERC logs using software tools? SLN292191
Another alternative method to extract RAID controller logs for advanced analysis is to use the software a tool like PercCLI. All methods are available in the article SLN292191.

How to manage in command line the RAID Controller (PERC CLI)? SLN283135
The list of available command lines is provided in the article SLN283135. A binary has to be installed on the operating system.  

More RAID Operations and Information

How to fix Double Faults and Punctures in RAID Arrays
What are "double faults" is explained in the article SLN111497
Double faults and punctured back blocks can be fixed by taking specific actions SLN156726

How to solve PowerEdge Raid Controller Card errors?
For common PowerEdge RAID Controller (PERC) errors, see the article SLN129828
For common errors with physical disks, see the article SLN129432.   
For performances issues, the article HOW10156 explains how to start the investigations.

Can different drives be used in a RAID?
The article SLN283215 answers questions about drive specifications in the same RAID. 

What are the RAID levels and their specifications? 
A RAID is a group of independent physical disks. The physical disk group appears to the host system either as a single storage unit or multiple logical units. Data throughput improves because several disks are accessed simultaneously. RAID systems also improve data storage availability and fault tolerance. Data loss that is caused by a physical disk failure can be recovered by rebuilding missing data from the remaining physical disks containing data or parity. See the article SLN292050 for more information.

What is the PERC Learn Cycle feature and how to enable? 
The "Learn Cycle" feature is a battery calibration operation that is performed by the controller periodically to determine the condition of the battery. This operation cannot be disabled. See the article SLN292301 for more information.

What is the meaning of ""No Boot Device Available"?
The server powers on and the Dell screen appears. Unfortunately when the operating system should be loaded, the error "No Boot Device Available" is displayed and nothing happens. Find more information in the article sln292433
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Last Published Date

25 Jan 2021



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