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RAID Configuration and Management: Dell PowerEdge Expandable RAID Controller 5/i and 5/E User's Guide

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RAID Configuration and Management

Dell™ PowerEdge™ Expandable RAID Controller 5/i and 5/E User's Guide

  Dell OpenManage Storage Management

  SAS RAID Storage Manager

  BIOS Configuration Utility

  Entering the BIOS Configuration Utility

  Exiting the Configuration Utility

  Menu Navigation Controls

  RAID Configuration Functions

  BIOS Configuration Utility Menu Options

  Setting Up Virtual Disks


Storage management applications enable you to manage and configure the RAID system, create and manage multiple disk groups, control and monitor multiple RAID systems, and provide online maintenance. The applications for Dell™ PowerEdge™ Expandable RAID Controller (PERC) 5 controllers include:

  • Dell™ OpenManage™ Storage Management

  • SAS RAID Storage Manager

  • BIOS Configuration Utility (Ctrl-R)


Dell OpenManage Storage Management

Dell OpenManage Storage Management is a storage management application for PowerEdge™ servers that provides enhanced features for configuring a system's locally-attached RAID and non-RAID disk storage. Dell OpenManage Storage Management enables you to perform controller and enclosure functions for all supported RAID and non-RAID controllers and enclosures from a single graphical or command-line interface without requiring the use of the controller BIOS utilities. The graphical user interface (GUI) is wizard-driven with features for novice and advanced users and detailed online help. The command line interface is fully-featured and scriptable. Using Dell OpenManage Storage Management, you can protect your data by configuring data-redundancy, assigning hot spares, or rebuilding failed physical disks.


SAS RAID Storage Manager

SAS RAID Storage Manager is a storage management application for PowerEdge™ SC servers and Dell Precision™ workstations. SAS RAID Storage Manager configures virtual disks, and monitors and maintains PERC 5 controllers, battery backup units, and other devices running on systems and workstations. It offers a graphical user interface (GUI) you can use to perform these tasks.


BIOS Configuration Utility

The BIOS Configuration Utility, also known as Ctrl-R, is a storage management application embedded on the PERC 5 controllers that configures and maintains RAID disk groups and virtual disks, and manages the RAID system. It is independent of any operating system.

NOTE: The BIOS Configuration Utility is to be used for initial setup and disaster recovery. Advanced features can be set through Storage Management and SAS RAID Storage Manager.

The following sections will help you attain the basic knowledge needed to use the BIOS Configuration Utility. See the online help option by pressing <F1> to obtain additional information about the ongoing operation.

NOTE: PERC 5 controller configuration utility refreshes the screen to show changes to information on the screen. The refresh occurs when you press a key or every 15 seconds if you do not press a key.

Entering the BIOS Configuration Utility

The BIOS Configuration Utility configures physical disk groups and virtual disks. Because the utility resides in the controller BIOS, its operation is independent of the operating systems on your system.

Starting the BIOS Configuration Utility

Perform the following steps to enter the BIOS Configuration Utility when you boot the system.

  1. Turn on and boot the system.

A BIOS banner displays information about the controller and configuration.

  1. During bootup, press <Ctrl><R> when prompted by the BIOS banner.

After you press <Ctrl><R>, the Virtual Disk Management menu screen displays by default. This screen displays the controllers, virtual disks, physical disks, free space, hot spares, and other details in an expandable tree directory similar to that of Microsoft® Windows® Explorer.

NOTE: You can access multiple controllers through the BIOS Configuration Utility by pressing <F12>. Verify which controller you are currently set to edit.

Exiting the Configuration Utility

To exit the BIOS Configuration Utility, press <Esc> at any menu screen until the utility closes.


Menu Navigation Controls

Table 5-1 displays the menu keys you can use to move between the different screens in the BIOS Configuration Utility.

Table 5-1. Menu Navigation Keys 

Notation

Meaning and Use

Example

Use the right arrow key to open a submenu, move from a menu heading to the first submenu, or move to the first item in that submenu. If you press the right arrow key at a menu heading, the submenu will expand. Press it again to go to the first item in the submenu. The right arrow key is also used to close a menu list in a popup window. Word wrap is supported.

Start Programs

Use the left arrow key to close a submenu, move from a menu item to the menu heading for that item, or move from a submenu to a higher level menu. If you press the left arrow key at a menu heading, the submenu will collapse. Press it again to go to the higher-level menu. Word wrap is supported.

Controller 0 Disk Group 1

Use the up arrow key to move to the upper menu items within a menu or to a higher level menu. You can also use the up arrow key to close a menu list in a popup window, such as the stripe element size menu. Word wrap is supported.

Virtual Disk 1

Virtual Disk 4

Use the down arrow key to move to the lower menu items within a menu or to a lower level menu. You can also use the down arrow key to open a menu list in a popup window, such as the stripe element size menu, and select a setting. Word wrap is supported.

Virtual Disks

Virtual Disk 1

Underlined letter in a menu heading on the menu bar

Indicates a shortcut you can use by pressing <Alt><underlined letter>. To use this feature, the menu must be activated. Menu shortcuts are allowed but cannot be used when a menu is active.

Adapter

Underlined letter in a menu item

Indicates a shortcut you can use to expand a menu by pressing <Alt><menu underlined letter>. Pressing <Alt> again closes the menu. Menu shortcuts are allowed but cannot be used when a menu is active.

Virtual Disk 1

< >

Key presses are enclosed in angle brackets.

<F1>, <Esc>, <Enter>

<Enter>

After you highlight a menu item, press <Enter> to select that item. This opens an options menu for the menu item. This applies to only certain menu items, such as Virtual Disk #. In a list of options for that item, such as the write policy for a virtual disk, highlight a setting, such as write-through, and press <Enter> to select it.

In the right frame, you can press <Enter> to select Tree View or List View under the View Type heading.

Select Add New VD and press <Enter> to create a new virtual disk.

<Esc>

After you expand a pop-up window, press <Esc> to close the window. You can continue to press <Esc> to exit the BIOS Configuration Utility.

Press <Esc> to return to the VD Mgmt screen.

<Tab>

Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the next control on a Dialog or page.

Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the next parameter you want to change.

<Shift><Tab>

Press <Shift><Tab> to move the cursor to the previous control on a dialog or page.

Press <Shift><Tab> to move the cursor from Virtual Disk to Disk Group #.

<Ctrl><N>

Press <Ctrl><N> to move to the next menu screen among the main menu screens: VD Mgmt, PD Mgmt, Ctrl Mgmt, and Foreign View.

When you return to the original menu, the cursor will be on the same menu item it was on before you pressed <Ctrl><N>.

Press <Ctrl><N> on the VD Mgmt screen to move to the PD Mgmt screen.

<Ctrl><P>

Press <Ctrl><P> to move to the previous menu screen among the main menu screens: VD Mgmt, PD Mgmt, Ctrl Mgmt, and Foreign View.

When you return to the previous screen, the cursor will be on the same menu item it was on before you pressed <Ctrl><P>.

Press <Ctrl><P> on the PD Mgmt screen to return to the VD Mgmt screen.

<F1>

Press <F1> to access Help information. The Help screens display a glossary of topics you can use to access information about navigation, RAID levels, and general topics.

<F1>

<F2>

Press <F2> to access the context menu, which displays the list of options.

<F2>

<F12>

Press <F12> to display a list of controllers.

<F12>

Spacebar

Press the spacebar to select an item, such as a virtual disk in the List View, select all the virtual disks (Mark All), or deselect all the virtual disks (Unmark All).

Press the spacebar to select each virtual disk on which you want to check data consistency.

NOTE: You may need to press <F5> to refresh the information on the screen.

RAID Configuration Functions

NOTE: Dell OpenManage Storage Management can perform all the same tasks as and more tasks than the BIOS Configuration Utility.

After you attach physical disks, use a configuration utility to prepare a virtual disk. Groups of the SAS and Serial ATA (SATA) physical disks are organized into virtual disks that must be able to support the RAID level that you select. If the operating system is not yet installed, use the BIOS Configuration Utility to perform this procedure.

NOTE: The PERC 5 controllers support Dell-qualified SATA physical disks.

Use the configuration utilities to perform the following tasks:

  • Access controllers, virtual disks, and physical disks individually.

  • Select a host controller to work on.

  • Create hot spare physical disks.

  • Configure virtual disks.

  • Initialize one or more virtual disks.

  • Rebuild failed physical disks.

The following sections describe the menu options and provide detailed instructions used to perform the configuration tasks. They apply to the BIOS Configuration Utility and Dell OpenManage Storage Management. The following is a list of the procedures used to configure physical disks into virtual disks.

  1. Designate hot spares (optional).

See Managing Dedicated Hot Spares for more information.

  1. Define virtual disks using the group of physical disks.

NOTE: A disk group is deleted when the last virtual disk in the disk group is deleted.
  1. Save the configuration information.

  2. Initialize the virtual disks.

See Setting Up Virtual Disks for the detailed configuration procedures.


BIOS Configuration Utility Menu Options

This section describes the options for the BIOS Configuration Utility for each of the major menus:

  • Virtual Disk Management (VD Mgmt) menu

  • Physical Disk Management (PD Mgmt) menu

  • Controller Management (Ctrl Mgmt) menu

  • Foreign Configuration View menu

Most menus consist of two frames:

  • A left frame with the menu options

  • A right frame with details of the items selected in the left frame

The following sections describe the menu and submenu options for each of the major menus.

Virtual Disk Management (VD Mgmt)

The Virtual Disk Management screen, VD Mgmt, is the first screen that displays when you access the BIOS Configuration Utility. In the Tree View, the left frame displays the menus for the virtual disk management, which are:

  • Controller #

    • Disk Group #

      • Virtual Disks (displayed in descending numerical order)

      • Physical Disks

      • Space Allocation (virtual disk size and free space you can use to create a virtual disk)

      • Hot Spares (global and dedicated)

In the Tree View, the right frame displays detailed information for the selected controllers, disk groups, virtual disks, physical disks, space allocation, and hot spares, as shown in Table 5-2.

Table 5-2. Information on the Virtual Disk Management Screen 

Menu Item Selected in Left Frame

Information That Displays in Right Frame

Controller #

  • Number of disk groups (DG)
  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)

Disk Group #

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Virtual Disks

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available in the virtual disk
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Virtual Disk #

  • RAID level (0, 1, 5, 10, or 50)
  • RAID status of the virtual disk (failed, degraded, or optimal)
  • Size of the virtual disk
  • Stripe element size
  • Operation currently in progress

Physical Disks

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Physical Disk #

  • Vendor name
  • Physical disk size
  • Physical disk state
  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Space Allocation

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Hot Spares

  • Vendor name
  • Physical disk size
  • Physical disk state
  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

In the List View, the Virtual Disk Management screen appears. In this view, the left frame displays the virtual disk number, RAID level, virtual disk status, virtual disk size, and stripe element size.

Use this screen to display the Virtual Disk Parameters window (used to select parameters, such as stripe element size and cache policy), and perform a consistency check on an individual virtual disk or multiple virtual disks. See Setting Up Virtual Disks for the procedures used to perform these actions.

Virtual Disk Actions

Table 5-3 describes the actions you can perform on virtual disks. See Setting Up Virtual Disks for procedures you can use to perform these actions.

Table 5-3. Virtual Disk Menu Options 

Option

Description

Create a new virtual disk

Creates a new virtual disk from one or more physical disks.

Manage dedicated hot spares

Creates or deletes a hot spare that can be dedicated to a single redundant virtual disks.

Initialize a virtual disk

Initializes the selected virtual disk. Every virtual disk that is configured must be initialized.

Check data consistency on a virtual disk

Verifies the correctness of the redundancy data in the selected virtual disk. This option is available only if RAID level 1, 5, 10, or 50 is used. The PERC 5 controllers automatically correct any differences found in the data.

Display or update virtual disk parameters

Displays the properties of the selected virtual disk. You can modify the cache write policy, read policy, and the input/output (I/O) policy from this menu.

Delete a virtual disk

Deletes the virtual disk and frees up disk space to create another virtual disk.

Delete a disk group

Deletes a disk group, which is a collection of disks from one or more disk subsystems controlled by management software.

Physical Disk Management (PD Mgmt)

The Physical Disk Management screen, PD Mgmt, displays physical disk information and action menus. The screen displays physical disk IDs, vendor names, disk size, type, state, and disk group (DG). You can sort the list of physical disks based on these headings. You can perform several actions on the physical disks, including the following:

  • Rebuilding physical disks

  • Setting the LED to blink

  • Making a disk online or unaffiliated

  • Removing dedicated or global hot spares

  • Creating global hot spares

Physical Disk Actions

Table 5-4 describes the actions you can perform on physical disks. See Setting Up Virtual Disks for procedures that can be used to perform these actions.

Table 5-4. Physical Disk Options 

Option

Description

Rebuild

Regenerates all data to a replacement disk in a redundant virtual disk (RAID level 1, 5, 10, or 50) after a disk failure. A disk rebuild normally occurs without interrupting normal operations on the affected virtual disk.

LED Blinking

Indicates when physical disks are being used to create a virtual disk. You can choose to start or stop the LED blinking.

Force Online

Changes the state of the selected physical disk to online.

Force Offline

Changes the state of the selected physical disk so that it is no longer part of a virtual disk.

Make Global HS

Designates the selected physical disk as a global hot spare. A global hot spare is part of a pool for all virtual disks controlled by the controller.

Remove HS

Removes a dedicated hot spare from its disk group or a global hot spare from the global pool of hot spares.

Rebuild

Select Rebuild to rebuild one or more failed physical disks. See Performing a Manual Rebuild of an Individual Physical Disk for more information and the procedure to perform a physical disk rebuild.

Controller Management (Ctrl Mgmt)

The Controller Management screen, Ctrl Mgmt, displays the BIOS version, firmware version, and Ctrl-R version, and offers actions you can perform on the controller and BIOS. You can use this screen to enable or disable the controller BIOS, alarm, and the BIOS during bootup in event of BIOS errors. In addition, you can select a virtual disk from which to boot, select default settings, and reset the configuration.

Controller Management Disk Actions

Table 5-5 describes the actions you can perform on the Ctrl Mgmt screen. See Setting Up Virtual Disks for procedures you can use to perform these actions.

Table 5-5. Controller Management Options 

Option

Description

Enable Controller BIOS

Select this option to enable the controller BIOS. If the boot device is on the RAID controller, the BIOS must be enabled. Disable the BIOS to use other boot devices.

In a multiple controller environment, you can enable BIOS on multiple controllers. However, if you want to boot from a specific controller, then enable the BIOS on that controller and disable it on the other controllers. The system can then boot from the BIOS-enabled controller.

Enable Alarm

Select this option to enable or disable the on-board alarm tone generator. The alarm sounds to alert you of key critical and warning events involving the virtual disk or physical disk problems. See Table 6-8 for details about the alarm.

Enable BIOS Stop On Error

Select this option to stop the system BIOS during bootup if there are BIOS errors. This option enables you to enter the configuration utility to resolve the problem.

NOTE: Certain errors continue for five seconds even when Stop On Error is enabled.

Select Bootable Virtual Disk

Select this option to specify a virtual disk as the boot disk on the controller. This option displays if you have built virtual disks.

Select Defaults

Select this option to restore the default settings for the options in the Settings box.

Foreign Configuration View

Select Foreign Configuration View to display a foreign configuration before you either import the foreign configuration into the virtual disk or clear the foreign configuration. The section Importing or Clearing Foreign Configurations Using the Foreign Configuration View Screen contains the procedures you can use to manage the foreign configurations.


Setting Up Virtual Disks

This section contains the procedures used to set up a disk group and create virtual disks. Each of the following procedures are explained individually in this section in detail.

  1. Create the virtual disks and select the virtual disk options.

  2. Designate hot spares (optional).

See Managing Dedicated Hot Spares for more information.

NOTE: A disk group is deleted when the last virtual disk in the disk group is deleted.
  1. Initialize the virtual disks.

NOTE: When you use one physical disk group to create multiple virtual disks, the virtual disks must all have the same RAID level.

When you define the virtual disks, you can set the virtual disk parameters described in Table 5-6.

  • Stripe element size

  • Write policy

  • Read policy

Table 5-6. Virtual Disk Parameters and Descriptions 

Parameter

Description

Stripe Element Size

Stripe Element Size specifies the size of the segments written to each physical disk in a RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, and 50 virtual disk. You can set the stripe element size to 8 KB, 16 KB, 32 KB, 64 KB, or 128 KB. The default and recommended stripe element size is 128 KB.

A larger stripe element size provides better read performance, especially if your system does mostly sequential reads. However, if you are sure that your system does random read requests with small file sizes, select a small stripe element size.

Write Policy

Write Policy specifies the controller write policy. You can set the write policy to Write-Back or Write-Through.

In Write-Back caching, the controller sends a data transfer completion signal to the host when the controller cache has received all the data in a transaction.

NOTE: The default cache setting is Write-back cache.

NOTICE: If Write-back is enabled and the system is quickly turned off and then on, the controller may pause as the system flushes cache memory. Controllers that contain a battery backup will default to write-back caching.

In Write-Through caching, the controller sends a data transfer completion signal to the host when the disk subsystem has received all the data in a transaction.

NOTE: Certain data patterns and configurations perform better with Write-through cache policy.

Write-Back caching has a performance advantage over write-through caching.

Read Policy

Read-ahead enables the read-ahead feature for the virtual disk. You can set this parameter to Read-ahead, No-read-ahead, or Adaptive. The default is No-read-ahead.

Read-ahead specifies that the controller uses read-ahead for the current virtual disk. Read-ahead capability allows the controller to read sequentially ahead of requested data and store the additional data in cache memory, anticipating that the data will be needed soon. Read-ahead supplies sequential data faster, but is not as effective when accessing random data.

No-read-ahead specifies that the controller does not use read-ahead for the current virtual disk.

NOTE: No-read-ahead shows higher performance results due to the effectiveness of hard-drive caching algorithms.

Adaptive specifies that the controller begins using read-ahead if the two most recent disk accesses occurred in sequential sectors. If all read requests are random, the algorithm reverts to No-read-ahead; however, all requests are still evaluated for possible sequential operation.

Creating Virtual Disks

NOTE: PERC 5 does not support creation of a virtual disk that combines SAS and SATA physical disks

Perform the following steps to create virtual disks.

  1. During host system bootup, press <Ctrl><R> when the BIOS banner displays.

The Virtual Disk Management screen displays.

NOTE: This procedure describes the BIOS Configuration Utility screens in Tree View.
  1. Highlight Controller #.

  2. Press <F2> to display the actions you can perform, which are creating new virtual disks, resetting a configuration, and importing or clearing a foreign configuration.

  3. Select Create New VD and press <Enter>.

The Create New VD screen displays. The cursor is on the RAID Levels option.

  1. Press <Enter> to display the RAID levels.

  2. Press the down arrow key to select a RAID level and press <Enter>.

  3. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the list of physical disks.

  4. Use the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk and press the spacebar to select the disk.

  5. Select additional disks, if desired.

  6. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the box Basic Settings and set the virtual disk size and name.

The virtual disk size displays in megabyte (MB) format.

NOTE: For RAID levels 0, 1, and 5 only, you can use part of the available disk space to create one virtual disk and then use the rest of the disk space to create another virtual disk or disks.
  1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Advanced Settings.

  2. Press the spacebar to make the settings active so that you can change them.

An X displays next to Advanced Settings. The settings are the stripe element size and read policy. You can also choose advanced options such as forcing the cache policy to be Write-back, initializing the virtual disk, and configuring a dedicated hot spare.

The defaults for these parameters display when the window displays. You can accept the defaults or change them. See Virtual Disk Parameters and Descriptions for detailed information about the virtual disk parameters.

  1. Perform the following steps to select the virtual disk parameters:

    1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the parameters you want to change.

    1. Press the down arrow key to open the parameters and scroll down the list of settings.

    2. To change the stripe element size, press <Tab> to highlight Stripe Element Size.

    3. Press <Enter> to display the list of stripe element sizes (8 KB, 16 KB, 32 KB, 64 KB, and 128 KB), then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>.

    4. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Read Policy to change it if desired.

    5. Press <Enter> to display the options, Read Ahd, No Read, or Adaptive, then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>.

    6. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Write Policy to change it if desired.

    7. Press <Enter> to display the options, Write-Through or Write-Back, then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>.

    8. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to OK.

    9. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Force WB with no battery and press <Enter>.

    10. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Initialize and press <Enter>.

NOTE: The initialization performed at this stage is fast initialization.
    1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Configure Hot Spare and press <Enter>.

NOTE: The hot spare created at this stage is a dedicated hot spare.
    1. If you have chosen to create hot spares in the earlier steps a pop-up window appears where drives with appropriate sizes are displayed. Press the spacebar to select the drive size.

    2. After you select the drive size, click OK to finalize the selection or click Cancel to forfeit the selection.

    3. Select OK to accept the settings and press <Enter> to exit this window or select Cancel and press <Enter> to exit if you do not want to change any virtual disk parameters.

Initializing Virtual Disks

Perform the following steps to initialize virtual disks.

  1. On the VD Mgmt screen, select Virtual Disk # and press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  2. Select Initialization and press the right arrow key to display the Initialization submenu options.

  3. Select Start Init. to begin a regular initialization or select Fast Init. to begin a fast initialization.

Fast initialization writes zeroes to the first sector of the virtual disk so that initialization occurs in 2–3 seconds. A progress bar displays next to the selected virtual disk as it initializes.

  1. When initialization is complete, press <Esc> to return to the main menu screen.

  2. Repeat the procedures in this section to configure another virtual disk.

The PERC 5 controllers support up to 64 virtual disks per controller. The currently configured virtual disks display on the screen.

NOTE: Performing a full initialization eliminates the need for the virtual disk to undergo a background initialization. The full initialization is faster than the background initialization. Full initialization can be performed to speed up performance access to the virtual disk after initial creation. The full initialization must be completed before accessing the virtual disk.

Importing or Clearing Foreign Configurations Using the VD Mgmt Menu

When a foreign configuration exists, the BIOS banner displays the message Foreign configuration(s) found on adapter. In addition, a foreign configuration, when present, appears on the right side of the VD Mgmt screen.

You can use the VD Mgmt menu to import the existing configuration to the RAID controller or clear the existing configuration to create a new one. The information for the foreign configuration does not display until it is imported.

NOTE: The controller does not allow an import that results in more than 64 virtual disks.

Perform the following steps to import or clear foreign configurations.

  1. During bootup, press <Ctrl><R> when prompted by the BIOS banner.

The VD Mgmt screen appears by default.

  1. On the VD Mgmt screen, highlight the Controller #.

The controller number is the only item that appears until you import the foreign configuration.

  1. Press <F2> to display the available actions.

  2. Press the right arrow key to display the available actions, Import and Clear.

NOTE: Ensure that your virtual disk has all the physical disks by verifying that there are no physical disks marked as Missing in the foreign view page and that all the disks appear as expected before importing them.
  1. Select Import to import the foreign configuration or Clear to delete the foreign configuration and then press <Enter>.

If you import the configuration, the VD Mgmt displays detailed configuration information. This includes information about the disk groups, virtual disks, physical disks, space allocation, and hot spares.

Importing or Clearing Foreign Configurations Using the Foreign Configuration View Screen

If one or more physical disks are removed from a configuration, for example, by a cable pull or physical disk removal, the configuration on those disks is considered a foreign configuration by the RAID controller. You can use the Foreign Configuration View screen to view detailed configuration information about the disk groups, virtual disks, physical disks, space allocation, and hot spares. After you view the foreign configuration, you can either import it to the RAID controller or clear it.

NOTE: Before you import, review the configuration on the screen to ensure that it is the desired end result.

You can use the Foreign Configuration View screen to manage foreign configurations in the following cases:

  • All the physical disks in a configuration are removed and re-inserted.

  • Some of the physical disks in a configuration are removed and re-inserted.

  • All the physical disks in a virtual disk are removed, but at different times, and then re-inserted.

  • The physical disks in a non-redundant virtual disk are removed.

Perform the following procedures on the Foreign Configuration View screen to manage foreign configurations in each specific case:

  1. If all or some of the physical disks in a configuration are removed and re-inserted, the controller considers the drives to have foreign configurations. Perform the following steps:

    1. Select Foreign Configuration View to display the foreign configuration information on the Foreign Configuration View screen.

    1. Press <F2> to display the options Import or Clear.

NOTE: You must have all the drives in the enclosure before you perform the import operation.
    1. Select Import to import the foreign configuration to the controller or select Clear to delete the foreign configuration(s) from the re-inserted disk(s).

Automatic rebuild occurs in redundant virtual disks if the VD transitions into DEGRADED before going OFFLINE.

NOTE: Start a consistency check immediately after the rebuild is complete to ensure data integrity for the virtual disks. See Checking Data Consistency for more information about checking data consistency.
  1. If all the physical disks in a virtual disk are removed, but at different times, and re-inserted, the controller considers the drives to have foreign configurations. Perform the following steps:

    1. Select Foreign Configuration View to display the complete virtual disk, across different foreign configurations and allow foreign configurations to be imported.

    1. Press <F2> to display the options Import or Clear.

NOTE: You must have all the drives in the enclosure before you perform the import operation.
    1. Select Import to merge the foreign configurations with the existing configuration on the controller or Clear to delete the foreign configuration(s) from the re-inserted disk(s).

If you select Import, all drives that were pulled before the virtual disk became offline will be imported, and then automatically rebuilt. Automatic rebuild occurs in redundant virtual disks if the VD transitions into DEGRADED before going OFFLINE.

NOTE: Start a consistency check immediately after the rebuild is complete to ensure data integrity for the virtual disks. See Checking Data Consistency for more information about checking data consistency.
  1. If the physical disks in a non-redundant virtual disk are removed, the controller considers the drives to have foreign configurations. Perform the following steps:

    1. Select Foreign Configuration View to display the complete foreign configuration information.

    1. Press <F2> to display the options Import or Clear.

    2. Select Import to import the foreign configuration to the virtual disk or Clear to delete the foreign configuration(s) from the re-inserted disk(s).

No rebuilds will occur after the import operation because there is no redundant data to rebuild the drives with.

Setting LED Blinking

The LED blinking option indicates when physical disks are being used to create a virtual disk. You can choose to start or stop the LED blinking. Perform the following steps to start or stop this option.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the PD Mgmt screen.

A list of physical disks appears. The status of the each disk displays under the heading State.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk.

  2. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  3. Press the down arrow key to highlight LED Blinking.

  4. Press the right arrow key to display the available actions, Start and Stop.

  5. Select Start to begin LED blinking or Stop to end LED blinking.

Managing Dedicated Hot Spares

A dedicated hot spare automatically replaces a failed physical disk only in the selected disk group which the hot spare is part of. A dedicated hot spare is used before one of the global hot spares is used. You can create dedicated hot spares or delete them on the VD Mgmt screen. Perform the following steps to create or delete dedicated hot spares.

  1. On the VD Mgmt screen, select Disk Group # and press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

The available menu options appear.

  1. Select Manage Ded. HS and press <Enter>.

A screen displays a list of the current dedicated hot spares and the physical disks that are available to create dedicated hot spares. An X displays next to the current dedicated hot spares.

NOTE: The utility allows only disks of the same drive technology and of equal or greater size to be selected as dedicated hot spare.
  1. To create a dedicated hot spare, press the down arrow key to highlight an available physical disk and press the spacebar to select the disk. Do this for as many dedicated hot spares as you want to create.

An X displays next to the selected physical disk(s).

  1. To delete a dedicated hot spare, use the down arrow key to highlight a current hot spare and press the spacebar to deselect the disk. Do this for as many dedicated hot spares as you want to delete.

  2. Press <Enter> to approve the changes.

The VD Mgmt screen displays the updated list of hot spares under the Hot spares heading.

NOTE: If a dedicated hot spare is removed , re-inserted, and then imported, the array disk transitions to a global hot spare upon completion of the foreign configuration import.

Creating Global Hot Spares

A global hot spare can be used to replace a failed physical disk in any redundant array as long as the capacity of the global hot spare is equal to or larger than the coerced capacity of the failed physical disk. Perform the following steps to create global hot spares.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the PD Mgmt screen.

A list of physical disks displays. The status of the each disk displays under the heading State.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk to change to a global hot spare.

  2. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  3. Press the down arrow key to highlight Make Global HS and press <Enter>.

The physical disk is changed to a global hot spare. The status of the physical disk as a global hot spare displays under the heading State.

NOTE: To replace a failed physical disk global hot spares must use the same drive technology and must be equal or greater in size.
  1. Select additional physical disks if desired and follow the previous steps to change them to global hot spares.

Removing Global or Dedicated Hot Spares

You can remove one global or dedicated hot spare at a time on the PD Mgmt screen. Perform the following steps to remove a global hot spare or dedicated hot spare.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the PD Mgmt screen.

A list of physical disks displays. The status of each disk displays under the heading State.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk that is a hot spare.

  2. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  3. Press the down arrow key to select Remove HS from the list of actions and press <Enter>.

The physical disk is changed to the Ready state. The status of the physical disk displays under the heading State.

NOTE: Try to use physical disks of the same capacity in a specific virtual disk. If you use physical disks with different capacities in a virtual disk, all physical disks in the virtual disk are treated as if they have the capacity of the smallest physical disk.
  1. Select additional hot spares if desired and follow the previous steps to remove them.

NOTE: On the PERC 5/i RAID controller, after you delete a virtual disk, any hot spares dedicated to that virtual disk become global hot spares.

Enabling the Alarm to Alert in Case of Physical Disk Failures

The PERC 5/E Adapter uses an audible alarm to alert you to key critical and warning events involving the virtual disks or physical disks. You can use the BIOS Configuration Utility to enable or disable the on-board alarm tone. See Table 6-8 for the list of critical and warning events, severity levels of the events, and audible codes.

Perform the following steps to enable the alarm in the BIOS Configuration Utility.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> in the Settings box to move the cursor to Enable Alarm.

  3. Press the spacebar to select Enable Alarm.

An X displays next to Enable Alarm.

  1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Apply button, then press <Enter> to apply the selection.

The alarm is enabled. To disable the alarm, use the spacebar to deselect the Enable Alarm control, and then select Apply.

Checking Data Consistency

Select the Consistency Check option in the configuration utility to verify the redundancy data in virtual disks that use RAID levels 1, 5, 10, and 50. (RAID 0 does not provide data redundancy.)

NOTE: Dell recommends that you run data consistency checks on a redundant array at least once a month. This allows detection and automatic replacement of bad blocks. Finding a bad block during a rebuild of a failed physical disk is a serious problem, as the system does not have the redundancy to recover the data.
NOTE: The system will take longer to reboot after you perform a data consistency check.

Perform the following steps to run a Consistency Check.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the VD Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press the down arrow key to highlight Virtual Disk #.

  3. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  4. Press the down arrow key to select Consistency Check.

  5. Press the right arrow key to display the menu of available actions, Start and Stop.

  6. Select Start and press <Enter> to run a Consistency Check.

The Consistency Check runs and checks the redundancy data in the virtual disks.

  1. After you start the Consistency Check, press <Esc> to display the previous menu.

Stopping Background Initialization

Background initialization is the automated check for media errors in which parity is created and written in the process. BGI does not run on RAID 0 virtual disks. Under certain conditions, Ctrl-R will ask you if you want to stop BGI in progress. An alert message displays if BGI is in progress and you start any of the following actions:

  • A full initialization on the virtual disk

  • A quick initialization on the virtual disk

  • A consistency check on the virtual disk

The following alert message displays: The virtual disk is undergoing a background initialization process. Would you like to stop the operation and proceed with the <full initialization/quick initialization/consistency check> instead?

Click Yes to stop the BGI and start the requested operation or No to allow the BGI to continue.

Performing a Manual Rebuild of an Individual Physical Disk

Use the following procedures to rebuild one failed physical disk manually.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the PD Mgmt screen.

A list of physical disks appears. The status of each disk appears under the heading State.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk that has a failed state.

  2. Press <F2> to display a menu of available actions.

The Rebuild option is highlighted at the top of the menu.

  1. Press the right arrow key to display the rebuild options and select Start.

  2. After you start the rebuild, press <Esc> to display the previous menu.

NOTICE: If a rebuild operation is in progress on a physical disk that is a member of a disk group that contains multiple virtual disks, such as a sliced configuration, and one of the virtual disks is deleted while the rebuild is in progress, then the rebuild operation will stop. If this occurs, resume the rebuild operation manually using a storage management application. In order to avoid interruption, ensure that none of the virtual disks that reside on the rebuilding physical disk are deleted until the rebuild operation is complete.

Deleting Virtual Disks

To delete virtual disks, perform the following steps in the BIOS Configuration Utility.

NOTE: You will not be allowed to delete a virtual disk during an initialization.
NOTE: Warning messages display the effect of deleting a virtual disk. You must accept two warning statements before the virtual disk deletion is completed.
  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the VD Mgmt screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to a virtual disk under the Virtual Disks heading.

  3. Press <F2>.

The action menu appears.

  1. Select Delete VD and press <Enter>.

  2. On the VD Mgmt screen, select Space Allocation to display the amount of free space available after you delete the virtual disk.

NOTE: On the PERC 5/i RAID controller, after you delete a virtual disk, any hot spares dedicated to that virtual disk become global hot spares.

Deleting Disk Groups

You can delete disk groups using the BIOS Configuration Utility. When you delete a disk group, the utility also removes the virtual disks in that disk group.

To delete disk groups, perform the following steps in the BIOS Configuration Utility.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the VD Mgmt screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to a disk group under the Virtual Disks heading.

  3. Press <F2>.

The action menu displays.

  1. Select Delete Disk Group and press <Enter>.

This deletes the disk group. When you delete a disk group, the remaining disk groups with higher numbers are automatically renumbered. For example, if you delete disk group #2, disk group #3 is then automatically renumbered as disk group #2.

Upgrading Firmware

You can download the latest firmware from the Dell Support website and flash it to the firmware on the controller.

NOTE: Go to the Dell Support website at support.dell.com.

Enabling Boot Support

NOTE: See your system documentation to ensure the proper boot order is selected in the system BIOS.

In a multiple controller environment, multiple controllers can have their BIOS enabled. However, if you want to boot from a specific controller, then enable the BIOS on that controller and disable it on the other controllers. The system can then boot from the BIOS-enabled controller. Perform the following steps to enable the controller BIOS.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Enable Controller BIOS in the Settings box.

  3. Press the spacebar to select Enable Controller BIOS.

An X displays next to Enable Controller BIOS.

  1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Apply button, and then press <Enter> to apply the selection.

The controller BIOS is enabled. To disable the controller BIOS, use the spacebar to deselect the Enable Controller BIOS control, and then select Apply and press <Enter>.

After you enable the BIOS for a controller, perform the following steps to enable the boot support for that controller.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Select Bootable VD in the Settings box.

Shadow lines display if there are two or more virtual disks.

  1. Press the down arrow key to display a list of virtual disks.

  2. Use the down arrow key to move the cursor to a virtual disk.

  3. Press <Enter> to select a virtual disk.

  4. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Apply button, and then press <Enter> to apply the selection.

Boot support is enabled for the selected controller.

Enabling BIOS Stop on Error

The option BIOS Stop on Error is used to stop the system from booting if there are BIOS errors. Perform the following steps to enable BIOS Stop on Error.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Enable BIOS Stop on Error in the Settings box.

  3. Press the spacebar to select Enable BIOS Stop on Error.

An X displays next to Enable BIOS Stop on Error.

  1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Apply button, and then press <Enter> to apply the selection.

The controller BIOS is enabled. To disable Enable BIOS Stop on Error, use the spacebar to deselect Enable BIOS Stop on Error, then select Apply and press <Enter>.

NOTE: Certain errors continue for five seconds even when Stop on Error is enabled.

Restoring Factory Default Settings

You can use the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen to restore the default settings for the options in the Settings box. The settings are Enable Controller BIOS, Enable Alarm, and Enable BIOS Stop on Error. Perform the following steps to restore default settings.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Settings box.

  3. Use the spacebar to deselect the settings for the options in the Settings box.

  4. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Advanced box.

  5. Press the spacebar to select Advanced.

An X displays next to Advanced.

  1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Select Defaults.

  2. Press the spacebar to select Select Defaults.

The defaults are automatically selected for the controller settings and display in the Settings box. An X displays by each setting which is enabled by default.


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