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  1. #1
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    Question New to servers with some very basic questions

    Hi All;
    Like the title says, I am new to servers and I need a little advice to get started please.
    I bought a PowerEdge 1950 III server (circa 2008) and a pair of Seagate 300 GB Cheatah SAS drives in the proper sleds. I was hoping to set this up as a home network server of sorts.
    The unit powers up fine and I can get into the bios and the PERC 6/i RAID configuration utility. This shows the drives correctly as physical drives, but that's it.
    When I try to install an OS, it shows no visible drives on which to install the OS.
    I can't figure out how to configure the drives so that they are useable. How do you do this?

    I looked through the Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager User Guide, but it looks like it needs to run on an operating system, so I cant use it yet.
    I did notice it says in several places that no drives that are part of the RAID array should contain the OS.
    So where does the OS install and live?
    This rig is a 1U height and only has space for two internal 3.5" hot swap drives. So if they are part of a RAID 1 or 10 array, where does the OS go?

    Appreciate any help at all thanks.
    rstew

  2. #2
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    I have no solution but you mentioned installing an OS but which one? Will it be Windows Server or maybe Apache or Linux server software? I'm thinking of installing Windows Home Server but only because I have a spare computer.

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    Welcome to "you have no drivers for your controller so can't install". You need to obtain the Dell drivers for the disk controller and have them ready on a floppy / USB. Go to the Dell site and enter the service tag number to be taken to the driver page.
    What OS are you trying to install?

    You should always load the OS on your RAID array. The "standard" is to use RAID 1 for the OS, speed vs capacity, and use RAID 5/6 for data, capacity vs speed.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Welcome to "you have no drivers for your controller so can't install". You need to obtain the Dell drivers for the disk controller and have them ready on a floppy / USB. Go to the Dell site and enter the service tag number to be taken to the driver page.
    What OS are you trying to install?

    You should always load the OS on your RAID array. The "standard" is to use RAID 1 for the OS, speed vs capacity, and use RAID 5/6 for data, capacity vs speed.

    cheers, Paul
    Paul;
    Thanks for the guidance. I have been to the dell site and downloaded the drivers I think I need. I got the latest perc 6/I driver and the driver for the drives, best I can tell.
    How do I install them without having an OS loaded? Do I need to boot from a bootable CD?
    You mention RAID 1 for the OS and 5/6 for data. Can I set up two different RAID types on one pair of drives? All I can fit is one pair of SAS or SATA drives.

    Both you and Berton asked what OS I am considering. Good question.
    I was thinking of just loading Win 7 x 64 for now, just to see if everything works as it should.
    If that checks out OK, then I may look around for a suitable server OS.
    This is just a small home network, so I don't think I need anything too fancy-shmantzy.
    What would you suggest?

    rstew

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    One problem is I cant seem to find a user manual for the PERC driver system.
    Nothing I have found yet discusses how to set up the drives so the system can find them, then how to configure them to load the OS and set up a RAID array.
    I found a manual for something called SAS Raid Storage Manager guide, but it looks like it runs on top of the OS, so I cant use it just yet.
    The basic 1950 user manual is no help in this regard.

    Thanks,
    rstew

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    rstew
    Can I set up two different RAID types on one pair of drives? All I can fit is one pair of SAS or SATA drives.
    Probably not. The various RAID setups differ in their operation.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    Probably not. The various RAID setups differ in their operation.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels
    Berton;
    That is kind of what I figured.
    That being the case I'll go with the option for more capacity, and sacrifice some speed.
    Until I can get the system to recognize the drives though, I still can't figure out how to load anything!

    rstew

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    OK we are making some progress.
    I watched a couple of very informative Utube videos on configuring PERC systems and that helped a lot.
    I found an option to delete a foreign VD (left over from the server's last life I guess), which I did, and then I had the option to make a new VD. This was previously not available.
    I went in and selected RAID 1 (only RAID 0 and 1 are available for a two disk array), then selected the drives, selected initializing, and OK'd everything.
    Bingo; off she went. It is now initializing, which looks like it is going to take a few hours.
    So after that is done, hopefully the Windows install disc will be able to find the array to install an OS onto! We shall see how it goes.

    rstew

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    For Windows 7 you need to download the Dell integrated driver (extract onto a USB), then boot from the Windows installation DVD and tell it to search the USB for drivers.

    RAID 1 is the best choice for your test set up.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    For Windows 7 you need to download the Dell integrated driver (extract onto a USB), then boot from the Windows installation DVD and tell it to search the USB for drivers.

    RAID 1 is the best choice for your test set up.

    cheers, Paul
    thanks paul
    Once we are back home in a couple of weeks I will give that a try.

    rstew

  11. #11
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    Update:
    Decided to try loading Win 7 x 64 bit just to see what would happen.
    Well it loaded fine and configured without issue.
    Its a little early to tell, but it looks workable.
    Two things I notice: there is a lot of background cpu activity going on in Task Manager, even though the system is idle; and the mouse pointer is very jerky and disjointed.

    Paul T; if you are reading this, what will the Dell Integrated driver, that you mentioned, do for the system, and where do I find it please?

    Thanks,
    rstew

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    As W7 is running it must have drivers for the disk controller. You now need to update / install the remaining drivers from the Dell support site - enter your Service Tag number and you will be taken to the appropriate downloads.
    Open Device Manager to see what drivers are missing - yellow exclamation mark.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    As W7 is running it must have drivers for the disk controller. You now need to update / install the remaining drivers from the Dell support site - enter your Service Tag number and you will be taken to the appropriate downloads.
    Open Device Manager to see what drivers are missing - yellow exclamation mark.

    cheers, Paul
    Hi Paul;
    I checked Device Manager and found no yellow exclamation marks. It looks like all necessary drivers are installed.
    I downloaded and installed PowerEdge Diagnostics, but when I try to open it, a window opens saying it needs administrator permission.

    The only remaining issue is what is keeping the cpu's so busy in the background. Task Manager shows a really weird pattern on all 8 cores.
    I also get a message "SC-CORE-01" in the front message window; whatever that means.

    Thanks,
    rstew

  14. #14
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    If you right click on a program you should find a "Run as Administrator" option. Sometimes you need to Shift right click.

    Process Explorer is really good for finding CPU hungry tasks.

    cheers, Paul

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    If you right click on a program you should find a "Run as Administrator" option. Sometimes you need to Shift right click.

    Process Explorer is really good for finding CPU hungry tasks.

    cheers, Paul
    Paul;
    Thanks for that info.
    That process explorer is a very handy utility. I am going to try that next on the 1950 and see what it shows.

    Thanks again,
    rstew

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