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

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

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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.

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 Content

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)

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.

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.

How do I identify a physical disk failure?
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?
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?
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)?
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?
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
PERC 7, 8 or 9: How to create a Virtual Disk using PERC BIOS?
PERC 10 and 11: How to create a Virtual Disk using PERC BIOS or iDRAC9 Web Interface

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.

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

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

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

How to change the RAID level in 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.

How to back up 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.
How to enter in the PowerEdge RAID 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.

How to export PERC logs using software tools?
Another alternative method to extract RAID controller logs for advanced analysis is to use the software a tool like PercCLI.

How to manage in command line the RAID Controller (PERC CLI)?
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?
See 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?
See the article: 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: What are 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. See the article PERC Learn Cycle for more information.

What is the meaning of ""No Boot Device Available"?
The server turns 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 No Boot Device available.

Article Properties

Affected Product
PowerEdge RAID Controller H730P MX, 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 H745P MX, PowerEdge RAID Controller H755 Adapter, PowerEdge RAID Controller S150, 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

19 Dec 2022



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