2-channel PERC controller vs. WinServer 2003 R2

Dell PowerEdge 2900
10 500Gb SATA drives
2-channel PERC 6/i RAID controller
Windows Server 2003 R2

RAID controller channel 0 handles 4 disks.
RAID controller channel 1 handles 6 disks.

I have made numerous attempts to configure 2 disks as RAID1 for OS, while configuring the remaining drives as either an 8-drive RAID5 array, or two 4-drive RAID5 arrays.

I have also made 1 attempt to configure all the drives as a single RAID5 array.

During boot, virtual drives are all accounted for. But I am never able to see the entire drive space I expect under Windows Computer Management / Disk Management.

The 10-disk RAID5 array showed all the space, but only the first 2Tb were accessible.

With the six disks connected to channel 1 configured as a 2-disk RAID1 OS and a 4-disk RAID5 array, all is well. But the 4-disk array on channel 0 is nowhere to be found. It shows up as a virtual disk during boot up, but not in Windows.

My question is: Is this a RAID controller problem, an OS problem, or something else?

I'm a museum registrar on Long Island tasked with getting two of these beasts up and running. I have some computer background but not with a 2-channel RAID controller.

Thanks in advance for any help!!
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  1. I don't have much experience in server type RAID, but I would think this is a OS problem.
  2. Hi museumguy,

    Here is some information for you about your Perc6/i card.
    1) There are two 4 ports connectors for sas/sata
    2) Unless there is a backplane that has sas/sata expander or port multiplier, then it will not support more than 8 drives directly.

    You can have the OS as a RAID 1 on the card as well as two 3-drive raid 5.
    When booting, press ctrl-H or ctrl-C or what ever the DELL break in to PERC bios.
    Once in this setup, configure one raid one drive with any 2 of the drives. set this drive as the boot drive and initialize and format this dive in the PERC bios. This will wipe the drive clean.
    Then set up one 3-drive raid 5 drive. Initialize and format.
    Repeat with the last set of 3 drives.

    Make sure you have the latest PECR6i driver (On a Floppy) and when the OS first boots from the OS CD so you can press F6 (I think) during the boot and the CD will ask you for the floppy for the latest driver. (Latest driver will be available on the dell website)

    Before you do any of this, you may want to upgrade your FW on the RAID CARD to the latest and greatest via DELL web site.

    Now Win2003 should see all drives. Put the OS on the RAID1 drive.

    Win2003 should be able to see all of the drives in the disk manager once installed and you should be able to partition them and bring them online as you want.
  3. Thanks for your guidance, gatorbait.

    I contacted Dell tech support and resolved the problem by applying the following updates:

    Open Manager from 5.4 to 5.5
    BIOS from 2.4.3 to 2.5.0
    BMC from 2.28 to 2.37
    PERC 6/i from 6.0.3-0002 to 6.1.1-0047

    I have the drives configured exactly as needed and feel a great weight lifted from my shoulders.

    Mark this problem SOLVED!
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