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PERC H200 and 6Gbps SAS HBA BIOS: Dell PowerEdge RAID Controller (PERC) H200 and 6Gbps SAS HBA User's Guide

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PERC H200 and 6Gbps SAS HBA BIOS

Dell™ PowerEdge™ RAID Controller (PERC) H200 and 6Gbps SAS HBA User's Guide

  POST Messages

  Configuration Utility

  RAID Configuration and Management Screens

  Performing Configuration Tasks


The BIOS of the Dell™ PowerEdge™ RAID Controller (PERC) H200 and 6Gbps SAS HBA cards have the following features:

  • Support for multiple SAS controllers

  • RAID configuration tool (applicable to the PERC H200 card only)

  • Read-only memory (ROM) BIOS recovery image

  • POST status error messaging

  • POST accessible, text-based configuration utility (<Ctrl><C>)

  • Boot Device Selection (applicable to the PERC H200 card only)


POST Messages

During POST, the BIOS displays messages that provide the status and identification information of the PERC H200 card, and also displays errors detected during the POST process.

  • The BIOS POST identification banner prints the BIOS identification, copyright information, and the controller version.

  • The BIOS 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.

Booting With Multiple Controllers

When booting a system with multiple PERC H200 and/or SAS 6 Gb HBA cards, ensure that the boot device is attached to the adapter at the lowest boot order number. Proper boot order must be specified in the controller BIOS to ensure the system boots correctly. If you add a PERC H200 or 6Gbps SAS HBA card or relocate existing controllers in the system, enter the BIOS Configuration Utility <Ctrl><C> to update and verify the boot order selection. Failure to do so results in a warning message displayed at POST by the BIOS. The warning persists until the you verify the boot order in the BIOS Configuration Utility.

NOTE: System boot is not supported from an external device attached to a 6Gbps SAS HBA card. See the Dell Support website at support.dell.com for the latest information on booting from external devices.

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 is displayed.

Functions Performed

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

Table 6-1. Functions of the Configuration Utility 

Function

Description

Adapter List

Lists all the PERC H200 and 6Gbps SAS HBA cards in the system.

Global Properties

Lists static and modifiable properties applicable to all PERC H200 and 6Gbps SAS HBA cards in the system.

Adapter Properties

Main screen for the selected controller. Lists the static and modifiable properties for the selected PERC H200 and 6Gbps SAS HBA cards. Provides a menu for additional screens.

Select New Volume Type

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

Create New Volume

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

View Volume

Displays the properties for the existing volume and the option to enter the Manage Volume screen.

Manage Volume

Provides options for managing the current volume.

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.

Select/Deselect as Boot Device

Provides the ability to select or deselect a Boot Device.

Verify

Provides the ability to verify all sectors on the device and to reassign defective Logical Block addresses (LBAs).

Consistency Check

Provides the ability to run a consistency check on an optimal volume.

Delete

Provides the ability to delete the selected volume.

Activate Volume

Provides the ability to import a foreign volume.

NOTE: The navigation hints for the Configuration Utility 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.

RAID Configuration and Management Screens

RAID configuration and management involves many GUIs. You can access the GUIs by selecting RAID Properties on the Adapter Properties screen.

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

You are prompted to create a RAID volume, if no RAID volumes are currently configured.

Select View Existing volume to manage the volume (s), or select the appropriate option to configure a new volume, if at least one RAID volume is currently configured.

Select New Volume Type

The three options for creating a new volume are:

  • Create RAID 1 Volume

  • Create RAID 10 Volume

  • Create RAID 0 Volume

Additional information about the disk type options is displayed on the screen.

Create New Volume

The Create New Volume screen allows you to select disks for a new volume.

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

  2. Save the changes when prompted to do so.

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

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

Table 6-2. Volume Field Descriptions 

Field

Description

Volume Number

Number of current volume out of total arrays configured

Volume Identifier

Identifier text for the current volume

Volume Type

Type of volume (R0, R1 or R10)

Volume Size (GB)

Size of the volume

NOTE: 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 volume when it is created.

Volume Status

Status of the current volume

The status definitions are given as:

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

Degraded—One or more members of a RAID 1 or RAID 10 volume have failed or are offline. The volume can be returned to the Optimal state by replacing the failed or offline member.

Disabled—The volume is disabled

Quiesced—The volume is quiesced

Resync—The volume is resynchronizing

Failed—The volume has failed

PermDegraded—The volume 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 volume may be accessible, but the volume cannot be returned to the optimal state.

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

Initializing—The array is undergoing Background Initialization

BGI Pending—The array is queued up for a Background Initialization

Checking—The array is queued up for a Consistency Check

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 volume (Yes or No). This field is inactive out under the following conditions:

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

Hot Spare

Specifies whether or not the disk is a hotspare

Drive Status

Ok - Disk is online and fully functional.

Missing - Disk 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 volume.

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 volume.

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

Max Dsks - Maximum # of disks allowed for this type of volume 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 volume.

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

Predicted Failure

Indicates whether device SMART is predicting device failure.

Size (GB)

Actual physical size of the selected disk in the volume.

NOTE: The PERC H200 cards do support Drive Status LED operation on 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. PERC H200 supported Drive Status LED states may vary from those supported by other hardware based RAID solutions such as the PERC H700 and H800 controllers.

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

View Volume

The View Volume screen allows you to view the current volume configuration.

Press <Alt><N> to view the next volume. See Table 6-2 to view descriptions of each virtual disk property.

Manage Volume

The Manage Volume screen is used to manage the current volume. The options are Manage Hotspares, Consistency Check, Activate Volume, and Delete Volume.

Table 6-3. Manage Volume Field Descriptions 

Field

Description

Identifier

The identifier of the volume

Type

The RAID type of the volume

Size (GB)

The coerced size of the volume

NOTE: 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 volume when it is created.

Status

The status of the volume

Manage Hotspares

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

  • Assign a hot spare, (RAID 1 and RAID 10 configurations only).
  • Display each drive's type, size and hot spare status.

Consistency Check

This option is used to run a consistency check on a redundant RAID volume.

This option is grayed out under the following conditions:

  • The volume is RAID 0
  • The volume is not optimal
  • The volume has a consistency check pending
  • The volume is already running a consistency check

Activate Volume

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

Delete Volume

This option is used to delete the currently displayed volume.

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

The following configuration tasks can be performed using a PERC H200 card:

  • Creating a RAID 0, RAID 1, or RAID 10 virtual disk

  • Viewing virtual disk properties

  • Activating a virtual disk

  • Migrating and Activating a virtual disk

  • Hot Spare failover

  • Replacing and Rebuilding a degraded virtual disk

  • Assigning a Preferred Boot Device

The PERC H200 card supports a minimum of two drives and maximum of 10 drives for a RAID 0 volume. Two drives are required to configure a RAID 1 volume, and a minimum of four drives and a maximum of 10 drives for a RAID 10 volume. There can be no more than 14 configured drives in any system, including a maximum of two global hot spares.A configured drive is a drive that is part a RAID volume or is a hot spare.

Creating a RAID 0 Virtual Disk

A RAID 0 virtual disk 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 PERC H200 card.

  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, a RAID 1 virtual disk or a RAID 10 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.

CAUTION: 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 HDDs or SSDs.

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

    • HDDs or SSDs cannot be used in the same virtual disk.

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

    • No more than 10 physical disks are allowed in a virtual disk.

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

The Configuration Utility pauses while the virtual disk is being created.

CAUTION: 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 Tb. This is due to operating system restrictions.The maximum volume size (non-bootable) is 16 Tb.

Creating a RAID 1 Virtual Disk

A RAID 1 virtual disk 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 PERC H200 card 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, a RAID 1 virtual disk or a RAID 10 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.

CAUTION: Data on both disks will be lost. It is recommended that you back up all data before performing these steps.

There are several limitations when creating a RAID 1 virtual disk:

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

    • SAS, SATA or SSD physical disks cannot be used in the same virtual disk.

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

  1. 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. After the virtual disk is created, entering the Manage Hot Spares 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.
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.
  1. Once the virtual disk has been created, a Background Initialization will automatically be scheduled on the virtual disk.

NOTE: Only one background task can be performed on the PERC H200 card at any time. If there is already a resynchronization or Background Initialization in progress on another virtual disk when a new virtual disk is created, the Background Initialization for the new virtual disk will be scheduled and given a status of BGI Pending. The pending Background Initialization will automatically start when the existing background process completes.
NOTE: A background initialization automatically starts after you configure a RAID 10 virtual disk. Once started, the background initialization process cannot be stopped.

Creating a RAID 10 Virtual Disk

A RAID 10 virtual disk offers the ability to stripe data across mirrored disks. RAID 10 volumes offer high data throughput and complete data redundancy. Follow these steps to create a RAID 10 virtual disk on a PERC H200 card 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 10 Volume when you are prompted to create either a RAID 0 virtual disk, a RAID 1 virtual disk or a RAID 10 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 the space bar. As disks are added, the Virtual Disk Size field changes to reflect the size of the new virtual disk.

CAUTION: Data on all disks will be lost. It is recommended that you back up all data before performing these steps.

There are several limitations when creating a RAID 10 virtual disk:

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

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

  • HDDs and SSDs cannot be used in the same virtual disk.

  • There must be a minimum of 4 physical disks and a maximum of 10 physical disks in a RAID 10 virtual disk. An even number of physical disks need to be selected for a RAID 10 volume.

  1. 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 10 virtual disk. After the virtual disk is created, entering the Manage Hot Spares screen allows the option to assign a hot spare. Only drives that are compatible with the new virtual disk configuration can be selected. There is a maximum of 2 hot spares supported globally. Hot spares only apply to a redundant volume if it is of the same type and at least the same capacity of the volume.
  1. Once the virtual disk has been created, a Background Initialization is automatically scheduled on the virtual disk.

NOTE: RAID 10 provides protection against the failure of multiple physical disks, as long as both drives within a mirrored pair do not fail. When a disk fails, the physical disk can be replaced and the data re-mirrored to the physical disk, maintaining data integrity.
NOTE: Only one background task can be performed on the PERC H200 card at any time. If there is already a resynchronization or Background Initialization in progress on another virtual disk when a new virtual disk is created, the Background Initialization for the new virtual disk will be scheduled and given a status of BGI Pending. The pending Background Initialization will automatically start when the existing background process completes.
NOTE: A background initialization automatically starts after you configure a RAID 1 virtual disk. Once started, the background initialization process cannot be stopped.

Viewing Virtual Disk Properties

Follow these steps to view the properties of RAID 0, RAID 1 or RAID 10 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, RAID 1 or RAID 10 virtual disk.

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

    • 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 volume item is selected to manage the current virtual disk.

Activating a Virtual Disk

A virtual disk can become inactive if, for example, it is removed from one PERC H200 card 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. There is a maximum of 2 hot spares and 2 virtual disks supported globally. Hot spares only apply to a redundant volume if it is of the same type and at least the same capacity of the volume. Exceeding this number may result in undesirable behavior.
  1. Select Activate Volume.

  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 PERC H200 card 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 PERC H200 and SAS 6 series of controllers. Virtual disks cannot be migrated from any other controllers, including the SAS 5 series of controllers or PERC 5, PERC 6, PERC H700 and PERC H800 cards. Migration is only supported for virtual disks that are in the Optimal state. 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

CAUTION: 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.

CAUTION: If the physical disks of a virtual disk are removed and the virtual disk's configuration is subsequently deleted from the PERC H200 card, the physical disks show up only as simple disks with no RAID association if they are placed back onto the same PERC H200 card. Once the virtual disk is removed from a PERC H200 card 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 or RAID 10 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 is displayed as a `missing' global hot spare. The "missing" or "failed" drive must be replaced with a drive compatible with an existing virtual disk(s).

NOTE: A compatible drive is one that is of the same drive type (SAS, SATA, or SSD) and of equal or greater size of the disk being replaced.

Replacing and Rebuilding a Degraded Virtual Disk

In the event of a physical disk failure in a RAID 1 or RAID 10 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 permanently 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. PERC H200 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 continues from where it left off as a result of rebuild checkpointing. The rebuild time for a volume varies depending on the size of the member disks and any additional system activity.

Assigning a Preferred Boot Device

When installing an operating system on the PERC H200 card, it is strongly recommended that the desired Preferred Boot Device is selected in the <Ctrl><C> configuration utility. In the SAS topology screen in <Ctrl><C>, you can scroll down to either select the desired unconfigured physical disk or virtual disk and assign that device as the Preferred Boot Device by pressing <Alt><B>. The Preferred Boot Device is then be marked as Boot under Device Information. <Alt><B> can be used to deselect a previously selected Preferred Boot Device as well.

NOTE: When an unconfigured physical disk is selected as the Preferred Boot Device, the selection is associated with the slot that the drive resides in. If the drive is then moved to a different slot, the system is not able to boot to the device anymore and an error message is seen during boot.
NOTE: When a virtual disk is selected as the Preferred Boot Device, the selection is associated with the virtual disk itself. If the volume is then moved to a different location in the system, the system will still identify the virtual disk as the Preferred Boot Device and be able to boot without any errors.

When a Preferred Boot Device goes missing, an error message is seen on POST, requiring user action to continue. The error message is as follows:

ERROR: Preferred boot device is missing, reconfiguration is suggested!

You need to enter <Ctrl><C> to investigate the problem and select another Preferred Boot Device if needed.

In the scenario where you do not select a Preferred Boot Device, the boot device is chosen based on slot number, with the lowest number being given the highest priority. A message is displayed upon the first boot at POST stating which device has been assigned as the Boot Device.

The message looks something like the following for a virtual disk assignment:

Current Boot Device set to volume at handle 79

NOTE: Since this is not a user-selected Preferred Boot Device, it is not marked as Boot under Device Information in <Ctrl><C>.

If this device goes missing, the next device in the next available slot is selected as the Boot Device. Configured virtual disks are chosen as a boot device over unconfigured physical disks.

In summary, it is recommended to make a Preferred Boot Device selection in order to ensure that the desired boot device is always the device that the system boots to. All systems shipped from Dell have a Preferred Boot Device configured by default.


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