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

Summary: Questions about Dell PowerEdge RAID controller cards and drive manipulations are answered here with tutorials.

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Article Content


This article contains information about PowerEdge server RAID controllers and drive configurations.



Not applicable


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.

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 operating system for which data protection schemes such as RAID 5 or RAID 10 can be defined to protect and guarantee data integrity.

Table of Contents

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

Operations on Hard Drives (HDD)

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

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

PowerEdge HDD: What is predicted Drive Failure and how to solve it?
The number of bad blocks is increasing to the limit, it may be a good time to replace the hard drive before the failure.

Dell PowerEdge: How to switch offline a hard disk using OpenManage Server Administrator
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.

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

Dell Nautilus Firmware Update Utility: Bootable media for automatic Hard Drive updates
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.

PowerEdge: How to physically replace a Hard Drive
An introduction to how to physically replace an HDD (Hot Swap procedure). This short video covers the steps to physically replace a hard drive in a PowerEdge Server.

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.
PERC 7, 8 or 9: How to Initialize and Create a Virtual Disk With a Dell PowerEdge RAID Controller Series 7, 8 or 9
PERC 10 and 11:
Dell PowerEdge: How to change the RAID level of a Virtual Disk
Adding the new disk in the existing Virtual Disk may be required after adding it.

Perc S100/S110/S300 : How to replace a failed hard drive on a software RAID
For software PERC, the procedure to replace a failed disk is more specific.

Dell PowerEdge: How to Assign a Hard Drive in Global Hot Spare.
Declaring a hard drive as a hot spare is useful when replacing a failed disk. (OMSA, PERC bios, or iDRAC)

Assign and Unassign hot spare in system setup in PowerEdge RAID Controller 10
How to assign or unassign hot spare in bios.

How Reconfigure a Virtual disk or add additional hard drives.
Extending a Virtual Disk allows to expand the RAID size.

Dell PowerEdge: How to change the RAID level of a Virtual Disk
An online virtual disk can be reconfigured in ways that expand its capacity 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.

Dell PowerEdge: How to backup a Virtual Disk?
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
How to import a virtual disk showing as foreign using the BIOS menus.
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.
Dell PowerEdge: How to access the PERC BIOS configuration utility?
The management applications for PERC cards include:
  • Comprehensive-Embedded Management
  • Dell OpenManage Storage Management
  • Human Interface Infrastructure (HII) Configuration Utility
  • The PERC CLI
The BIOS configuration utility is not supported on PERC 10 and newer cards.

Gathering logs for advanced troubleshooting on PowerEdge servers
Another alternative method to extract RAID controller logs for advanced analysis is to use the software a tool like PercCLI.

How to use the PowerEdge RAID Controller (PERC) Command Line Interface (CLI) utility to manage your RAID controller
The list of available command lines is provided in the article. A binary must 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, Double Faults and Punctures in RAID Arrays.
Double faults and punctured back blocks can be fixed by taking specific actions PERC - How to Fix a RAID Puncture.

How to solve PowerEdge RAID Controller Card errors?
Refer to the Troubleshooting section of your specific RAID Controller User's Guide as the detailed steps and procedures vary across PERC controller generations and cards. See Storage Adapters & Controllers, select your specific PERC model, and then Documentation.

Can different drives be used in a RAID?
Refer to article: Dell Enterprise RAID and Physical Drive: Replacement FAQ - Can different drives be used in a 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: Dell Servers - What are the RAID levels and their specifications? 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. Reference the article Dell PERC controller learn cycle mode 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. 

PowerEdge RAID Controller (PERC) Maintenance
Even though the PowerEdge RAID Controller (PERC) performs several Automated Maintenance : Controller operations, users are still responsible for performing certain manual operations.
The most common manual maintenance processes are detailed below: 

Article Properties

Affected Product
PowerEdge RAID Controller H730P MX, PowerEdge RAID Controller H745P MX, PowerEdge RAID Controller H755 Adapter, PowerEdge RAID Controller S150, PowerEdge RAID Controller H200, PowerEdge RAID Controller H310, PowerEdge RAID Controller H330 , PowerEdge RAID Controller H700, PowerEdge RAID Controller H710, PowerEdge RAID Controller H710P, PowerEdge RAID Controller H730, PowerEdge RAID Controller H730P, PowerEdge RAID Controller H740P, PowerEdge RAID Controller H800, PowerEdge RAID Controller H810, PowerEdge RAID Controller H830, PowerEdge RAID Controller H840, PowerEdge RAID Controller S100, PowerEdge RAID Controller S110, PowerEdge RAID Controller S130, PowerEdge RAID Controller S140 ...
Last Published Date

15 Apr 2024



Article Type