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Manuals
SAS 6/iR BIOS: User's Guide

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SAS 6/iR BIOS

User's Guide

  POST Messages

  Configuration Utility

  Integrated RAID Configuration and Management Screens

  Performing Configuration Tasks


The BIOS of the Dell™ Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) 6/iR controller offers the following features:

  • Support for multiple SAS adapters

  • POST Memory Management (PMM) support

  • Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) configuration tool

  • Read-only memory (ROM) BIOS recovery image

  • POST status error messaging

  • Compatibility with Console Redirection

  • POST accessible, text-based configuration utility (CTRL-C)


POST Messages

During POST, the BIOS displays messages that provide the status and identification information of the SAS 6/iR controller, and also displays errors detected during the POST process.

The BIOS POST identification banner prints the BIOS identification, copyright information, and the controller version. It displays the list of controllers and devices detected at initialization in a hierarchical order. The BIOS also prompts you to start the Configuration Utility during the POST process.

BIOS Fault Code Messages

If an error is encountered in the BIOS during POST, the BIOS Configuration Utility forces you to acknowledge BIOS errors by halting the POST process after the error display. You must press any key to continue. The BIOS Configuration Utility allows you to choose to continue booting or stop booting if errors are encountered.


Configuration Utility

Starting the Configuration Utility

  1. Boot the system.

  2. Press <Ctrl><C> during POST when prompted.
    If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until the operating system completes bootup. Then restart your system and try again.

The Configuration Utility menu screen displays.

Functions Performed

NOTE: The screens are organized in a hierarchical fashion and navigation hints are displayed at the bottom of each screen. See the online help for additional information about the utility.

Table 6-1. Functions Performed by the Configuration Utility 

Function

Description

Adapter List

Lists all the SAS 6/iR controllers in the system.SAS 5 controllers will also be listed.

Global Properties

Lists static and modifiable properties applicable to all SAS 6/iR controllers in the system.

Adapter Properties

Main screen for the selected controller. Lists the static and modifiable properties for the selected SAS 6/iR controller. Provides a menu for additional screens.

Select New Array Type

Provides the option to view existing arrays or create new arrays.

Create New Array

Provides the ability to add devices to the specified new array.

View Array

Displays the properties for the existing array and the option to enter the Mange Array screen.

Manage Array

Provides options for managing the current array.

Manage Hot Spares

Provides the ability to add or remove global hot spares.

SAS Topology

Lists the physical topology for the selected controller.

Device Properties

Lists the properties of physical devices attached to the selected controller.

Advanced Adapter Properties

Lists the advanced properties for the selected controller.

Advanced Device Properties

Lists static and modifiable advanced properties for all devices attached to the selected controller.

PHY Properties

Lists the properties for the PHYs for the selected controller.

Navigating the Configuration Utility

The navigation hints are displayed at the bottom of each screen. Online help is also available in the utility.

NOTE: After you press <CTRL><C>, press <Enter> on the adapter to manage it.

Integrated RAID Configuration and Management Screens

Integrated RAID (IR) configuration and management involves many screens, all of which are accessed by selecting RAID Properties on the Adapter Properties screen.

  • If no RAID arrays are currently configured, you are prompted to create a RAID array.

  • If at least one RAID array is currently configured, select View Existing Array to manage the array(s), or select the appropriate option to configure a new array.

The screens in the RAID configuration and management properties area are:

  • Select New Array Type

  • Create New Array

  • View Array

  • Manage Array

Select New Array Type

The two options for creating a new array are Create R1 Volume and Create R0 Volume. Additional information about the disk type options appear on the screen.

Create New Array

The Create New Array screen allows you to select disks for a new array.

  1. Press <C> to create the array once the array is configured.

  2. Save the changes when prompted to do so.

  3. Press <F3> to confirm the changes.

After the array is created, the utility returns to the Adapter Properties screen. See the table below for the array properties description.

NOTE: It is recommended that you back up your data prior to adding or updating configurations.

Table 6-2. Array Field Descriptions 

Field

Description

Array Number

Number of current array out of total arrays configured

Array Identifier

Identifier text for the current array

Array Type

Type of array (R1 or R0)

Array Scan Order

Scan order for the current array

Array Size (MB)

Size of the array

NOTE: In order to facilitate coercion on new larger disk drives, the disk size must be coerced down with a factor of 128 MB. Additionally, to comply with the latest Disk Data Format standard, 512 MB of space must be reserved for RAID metadata on the drive. This results in several hundred MB of space being removed from the usable size of an array when it is created.

Array Status

Status of the current array

The status definitions are given as:

Optimal—All members of the array are online and ready.

Degraded—One or more members of a RAID 1 array have failed or are offline. The array can be returned to the Optimal state by replacing the failed or offline member.

Disabled—The array has been disabled

Quiesced—The array has been quiesced

Resync—The array is resynchronizing

Failed—The array has failed

PermDegraded—The array is permanently degraded. This state indicates that the failure threshold on the primary member was reached while no secondary was available for correction. The data on the array may be accessible, but the array cannot be returned to the optimal state.

Inactive—The imported array is inactive. The array must be activated before it can be accessed.

Device Slot Number

Slot number in which the specified device sits

Device Identifier

Identifier text for the specified device

RAID Disk

Specifies whether or not the disk is part of a RAID array (Yes or No). This field is grayed out under the following conditions:

  • The disk does not meet the minimum requirements for use in a RAID array.
  • The disk is not large enough to mirror existing data on the primary physical disk.
  • The disk is a part of another array.

Hotspare

Specifies whether or not the disk is a hotspare

Drive Status

Ok - Disk is online and fully functional.

Missing - Diskette is not detected.

Failed - Disk is not accessible or has reported a failure.

Initing - Disk is initializing.

CfgOffln - Disk is offline at host's request.

UserFail - Disk is marked failed at host's request.

Offline - Disk is offline for some other reason.

Inactive - Disk has been set to inactive.

Not Syncd - Data on disk is not synchronized with the rest of the array.

Primary - Disk is the primary disk for a 2 disk mirror and is OK.

Secondary - Disk is the secondary disk for a 2 disk mirror and is OK.

Wrg Type - Device is not compatible for use as part of a RAID array.

Too Small - Disk is too small to mirror existing data.

Max Dsks - Maximum # of disks allowed for this type of array reached Maximum # of total IR disks on a controller reached.

No SMART - Disk doesn't support SMART and can't be used in a RAID array.

Wrg Intfc - Device interface (SAS/SATA) differs from existing IR disks.

Predicted Failure

Indicates whether device SMART is predicting device failure.

Size (MB)

Actual physical size of the selected disk in the array.

NOTE: The SAS 6ir controllers do support Drive Status LED operation on Dell PowerEdge systems which include drive status LEDs. Status LED support is only supported for drives which are configured as members of a Virtual Disk or Hot Spare. SAS 6iR supported Drive Status LED states may vary from those supported by other hardware based RAID solutions such as PERC 6.

NOTE: Replacing a member of an array in the Permanently Degraded state will result in the new physical disk being displayed as failed since resynchronization is possible. This does not indicate an actual failure on the new physical disk.

View Array

The View Array screen allows you to view the current array configuration.

Press <Alt+N> to view the next array. See the table above to view descriptions of each virtual disk property.

Manage Array

The Manage Array screen is used to manage the current array. The options are Manage Hotspares, Synchronize Mirror, Activate Array, and Delete Array. A confirmation is requested for each action.

Table 6-3. Manage Array Field Descriptions 

Field

Description

Identifier

The identifier of the array

Type

The RAID type of the array

Scan Order

The scan order of the array

Size (MB)

The coerced size of the array

NOTE: In order to facilitate coercion on new larger disk drives, the disk size must be coerced down with a factor of 128 MB. Additionally, to comply with the latest Disk Data Format standard, 512 MB of space must be reserved for RAID metadata on the drive. This results in several hundred MB of space being removed from the usable size of an array when it is created.

Status

The status of the array

Manage Hotspares

This option is used to create or delete global hot spares. Using this option you can also:

  • Assign a hot spare, (Integrated Raid 1 configurations only).
  • Display each drive's type, size and hot spare status.

Synchronize RAID 1

This option is used to synchronize the R1 array.

This option is not accessible under the following conditions:

  • The array is inactive.
  • The array does not need to be resynchronized.
  • R0 array is used.

Activate Array

This option is used to activate an inactive (foreign) array. The option is grayed out if there are no inactive arrays.

Delete Array

This option is used to delete the currently displayed array.

Exit Screen

It is important to exit the SAS BIOS Configuration Utility properly, because some changes take effect only when you exit. From the Adapter List, press <Esc> to exit. In addition, a similar exit screen appears when you exit most other screens, and it can be used to save settings.


Performing Configuration Tasks

Creating an Integrated Striping Virtual Disk

An Integrated Striping (IS) virtual disk, also referred to as RAID 0, offers the ability to stripe data across multiple physical disks. RAID 0 volumes offer increased capacity by combining multiple physical disks into a single virtual disk. RAID 0 volumes also offer increased performance by striping disk access across multiple physical disks. Follow these steps to create a RAID 0 virtual disk on a SAS 6/iR controller.

  1. Select a controller from the Adapter List in the Configuration Utility.

  2. Select the RAID Properties option.

  3. Select Create RAID 0 Volume when you are prompted to create either a RAID 0 virtual disk or a RAID 1 virtual disk.

The next screen shows a list of disks that can be added to a virtual disk.

  1. Move the cursor to the RAID Disk column. To add a disk to the virtual disk, change "No" to "Yes" by pressing the <+>, <->, or space bar. As disks are added, the Virtual Disk Size field changes to reflect the size of the new virtual disk.

NOTICE: All data will be lost upon creation of the virtual disk.

There are several limitations when creating a RAID 0 virtual disk:

    • All disks must be either Dell-compliant SAS or SATA physical disks.

    • SAS and SATA physical disks cannot be used in the same virtual disk.

    • There must be at least 2 physical disks in a virtual disk.

    • No more than 8 physical disks are allowed in a virtual disk.

  • Press <C> and then select Save changes when the virtual disk has been fully configured.

  • Press <F3> to confirm that existing data will be lost with the creation of the virtual disk. The Configuration Utility will pause while the virtual disk is being created.

NOTICE: RAID 0 does not provide any data protection in the event of disk failure. It is primarily used to increase performance.
NOTE: Once the number of disks in a RAID virtual disk is set, it cannot be changed.
NOTE: The maximum size of the virtual disk that contains the bootable operating system is 2 Terabytes. This is due to operating system restrictions.The maximum array size (non-bootable) is 16 Terabytes.

Creating a Integrated Mirroring Virtual Disk

An Integrated Mirroring (IM) virtual disk, also referred to as RAID 1, offers the ability to mirror data from one physical disk onto another one. RAID 1 volumes offer increased reliability by combining two physical disks into a single virtual disk such that each disk contains a mirrored copy of the other's data. Follow these steps to create a RAID 1 virtual disk on a SAS 6/iR controller that does not currently have a virtual disk configured.

  1. Select a controller from the Adapter List in the Configuration Utility.

  2. Select the RAID Properties option.

  3. Select Create RAID 1 Volume when you are prompted to create either a RAID 0 virtual disk or a RAID 1 virtual disk.
    The next screen shows a list of disks that can be added to a virtual disk.

  4. Move the cursor to the RAID Disk column. To add a disk to the virtual disk, change "No" to "Yes" by pressing the <+>, <->, or space bar.

NOTICE: Data on both disks will be lost. It is recommended that you back up all data before performing these steps.
  1. There are several limitations when creating a RAID 1 virtual disk:

    • All disks must be either Dell-compliant SAS or SATA physical disks.

    • SAS and SATA physical disks cannot be used in the same virtual disk.

    • There must be 2 physical disks in a RAID 1 virtual disk.

  2. Press <C> and then select Save changes when the virtual disk has been fully configured.

NOTE: There is an option to create a hot spare for a RAID 1 virtual disk. The Create RAID 1 screen allows the option to assign a hot spare. Only drives that are compatible with the new virtual disk configuration can be selected. The maximum number of hot spares allowed is two.
  1. Press <F3> to confirm that existing data will be lost with the creation of the virtual disk. The Configuration Utility will pause while the virtual disk is being created.

NOTE: RAID 1 provides protection against the failure of a single physical disk. When a disk fails, the physical disk can be replaced and the data re-mirrored to the physical disk, maintaining data integrity.

Viewing Virtual Disk Properties

Follow these steps to view the properties of RAID 0 and RAID 1 virtual disks:

  1. Select a controller from the Adapter List in the Configuration Utility.

  2. Select the RAID Properties option.

    • If there are no existing virtual disks, you will be prompted to create a RAID 0 or a RAID 1 virtual disk.

    • If there is one existing virtual disk, select View Existing Array.

    • If there are two existing virtual disks, press <Alt+N> to view the next virtual disk.

    • If a compatible global hot spare exists it displays with the members of the virtual disk.

  3. Press <Enter> when the Manage Array item is selected to manage the current virtual disk.

Synchronizing a Virtual Disk

Synchronizing a virtual disk means that the firmware synchronizes the data on the secondary disk(s) with the data on the primary disk of the mirror. Follow these steps to start synchronization for a RAID 1 virtual disk:

  1. Select Synchronize Mirror.

  2. Press Y to start the synchronization or N to cancel it.

Activating a Virtual Disk

A virtual disk can become inactive if, for example, it is removed from one SAS 6/iR controller and moved to another one. The Activate option allows you to reactivate an inactive virtual disk that has been added to a system. This option is only available when the selected virtual disk is currently inactive.

NOTE: Do not migrate a volume or hotspares to a different system unless that system does not currently have the maximum number of virtual disks and hotspares. The maximum number of virtual disks is two and the maximum number of hotspares is two. Exceeding this number may result in undesirable behavior.
  1. Select Activate Mirror.

  2. Press Y to proceed with the activation or press N to abandon it.

After a pause, the virtual disk will become active.

NOTE: Activation of migrated virtual disks is only supported when the migrated virtual disk(s) is in an optimal state and contains all the physical disks.
NOTE: If a virtual disk with defined hot spare drives is migrated to a SAS6/iR controller that has a native virtual disk with defined hot spares already configured, and the total number of hot spares is greater than the maximum supported number of hot spares (2) then the migrated hot spare drive(s) will be deleted. After a reboot, those drives are displayed as basic drives on the system. You can then create the desired virtual disk and hot spare drive configuration using CTRL-C or the RAID management application.

Migrating and Activating a Virtual Disk

Virtual disks and hot spares can be migrated from other SAS 6/IR controllers only. Virtual disks cannot be migrated from any other controllers, including the SAS 5 series of controllers or PERC series of controllers. During the migration process, all systems must be powered down prior to removing and replacing drives. Volumes that are migrated to another controller will be inactive and must therefore be activated.To activate a virtual disk see Activating a Virtual Disk.

Deleting a Virtual Disk

NOTICE: Before deleting a virtual disk, be sure to back up all data on the virtual disk that you want to keep.

Follow these steps to delete a selected virtual disk:

  1. Select Delete Virtual Disk.

  2. Press Y to delete the virtual disk or press N to abandon the deletion.

  3. Press <F3> to confirm deletion of the virtual disk. After a pause, the firmware deletes the virtual disk.

NOTICE: If the physical disks of a virtual disk are removed and the virtual disk's configuration is subsequently deleted from the SAS 6/iR controller, the physical disks show up only as simple disks with no RAID association if they are placed back onto the same SAS 6/iR controller. Once the virtual disk is removed from a SAS 6/iR controller using the BIOS Configuration Utility (regardless whether the physical disks members are present), the virtual disk cannot be restored.

Hot Spare Failover

If a RAID 1 virtual disk enters a degraded state, a compatible hot spare automatically begins rebuilding the degraded virtual disk. The "missing" or "failed" member of the degraded virtual disk displays as a `missing' global hot spare. The "missing" or "failed" drive must be replaced with a drive compatible with an existing virtual disk(s).

Replacing and Rebuilding a Degraded Virtual Disk

In the event of a physical disk failure in a RAID 1 virtual disk, you will need to replace the disk and resynchronize the virtual disk. Synchronization occurs automatically on replacing the physical disk using the following steps.

  1. Replace the failed physical disk with a blank disk of the same type and of equal or greater capacity.

  2. Check your management application or the BIOS Configuration Utility (Ctrl-C) to ensure synchronization started automatically.

NOTE: During the rebuilding of a volume the synchronization will be restarted from the beginning if a hard drive is added or removed from the system. Wait until any synchronization processes have been completed before adding or removing hard drives.
NOTE: Always remove any configuration information from hard drives if they are to be removed from a system. This can be completed by deleting the RAID configuration through the BIOS configuration utility or an operating system unless you are migrating these hard drives to a different system level application. SAS 6/iR hotspare functionality requires that the slots in which hard drives are inserted be associated with the virtual disks they are a part of. Do not insert hard drives with foreign or old (out of date) configuration information stored on those hard drives into slots that are associated with existing virtual disks.
NOTE: If the system is rebooted while the rebuild is in progress, the rebuild will be restarted from the beginning. The rebuild time for a volume varies depending on the size of the member disks and any additional system activity. A system with no additional activity executes a rebuild at approximately 30 MB per second.

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