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X7DWN+ w/ RocketRAID 2310 issues

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September 24, 2010 6:55:03 PM

:pt1cable: 
Going crazy here, guys.
I was bequeathed this chassis with a Supermicro SAS which supports 8 drives. Only problem is it has only 6 SATA ports . Along with this, came a RocketRAID with the intentions of added SATA ports.

What I'm looking at is a RAID1 + RAID5. RAID5 will span 6 disks (one for spare if I can figure out where the BIOS setting is for it) and the RAID1 take the remaining two drives.

I've succesfully installed and can boot into Windows 2008 R2 on the RAID1 using the RocketRAID. No snags were hit until I tried to enable the SAS controller. As soon as I switch from ACHI to RAID, it will not boot off the RocketRAID.
It goes like this:
1. POST
2. SAS initialization
3. RocketRAID initialization
4. Blank screen with blinking cursor

When this happens I cannot even get back into the BIOS. This happens when I attempt it:
1. POST (me pressing delete repeatedly)
2. "Entering BIOS" message displays
3. SAS initialization
4. RocketRAID initialization
5. Blank screen with blinking cursor
6. Me yelling vulgar terms

I am then required to either unplug the RocketRAID or unplug all SATA connections to the SAS controller and then boot into BIOS to change settings.

If I go back into the BIOS and switch back to ACHI, everything is fine (but this, of course, won't work, as I need RAID capabilities).
I've tried everything I can think of. I took the SAS ports off the boot list and put the RocketRAID as the primary boot device.

I can't make sense of this. Somehow the SAS controller is taking priority (even though it is not set that way) when set for RAID and searching for a bootable partition. It never times out and never falls over to the PCI-E RAID card.

Is there a work around I'm not seeing?


Thanks!

-pattern
a c 715 V Motherboard
September 24, 2010 7:22:52 PM

Welcome Newcomer! :) 

Running RAID 53 {5+1/nested} off the {RocketRAID 2310} seems a little much for that card, and how can you be running 6 drives off the RocketRAID 2310 with 4 SATA?

Instead of Jerry Rigging, get a RAID Controller w/at least 6 internal SATA connections {e.g. Adaptec 2258100-R} http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
September 24, 2010 7:38:06 PM

jaquith said:
Welcome Newcomer! :) 

Running RAID 53 {5+1/nested} off the {RocketRAID 2310} seems a little much for that card, and how can you be running 6 drives off the RocketRAID 2310 with 4 SATA?

Instead of Jerry Rigging, get a RAID Controller w/at least 6 internal SATA connections {e.g. Adaptec 2258100-R} http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Thanks, jaquith :D 

I didn't mean to imply I was running 6 drives off the RocketRAID.. I've got two on the RocketRAID (holding the OS on a RAID1) and 6 with the onboard controller (the RAID5).
I was hoping to boot off the RocketRAID, and use the onboard controller for parity stripped data (RAID5) with a spare failover.
Am I thinking/doing things backwards? Can I not use two separate controllers for two arrays?

I talked to SuperMicro tech support and they are telling me this is a Windows 2008 intel driver issue. I don't believe this because I can boot into the 2008 installer and view the drives just fine.
Related resources
a c 715 V Motherboard
September 24, 2010 8:56:44 PM

What you clearly are describing is a Nested RAID, and whether it be a RAID 51 or 53 it is still nested and needs to run-off the same RAID controller, or RAID Controller cards that are KNOWN to support it and work very well togeter.

Not, as I said some Jerry Rigged combination of MOBO RAID + Cheap RAID Controller, and if for some bizarre reason you could I would be more concerned about corruption and defeating the stability of the RAID 5 which I assume is running off the RocketRAID.

If it were "me" RAID 5 with the RocketRAID and internally NAS the array with a separate RAID 1 off the MOBO and take "periodic "snapshots" for backup.
September 24, 2010 9:33:33 PM

I have not heard this before. Thank you for clearing up my misunderstanding.
Yes, it is a nested RAID I am attempting.. and it will be a Virtualization/File server (pretty critical data per the RAID5).

This RAID card is a POS and a PITA for these purposes, I agree.
I will be purchasing a new RAID card, and will look into the Adaptec you have linked to.

I hope you can help with some more questions/opinions:

I have 8 drives at my disposal (two 10k RPM, 300g; and 6 1TB, 7200 RPM). My thought process is creating a RAID 1 with the two 300g drives and spanning 5 of the 1TB drives with a RAID 5 and keeping one as a spare. This gives me plenty of redundancy and a failover for the RAID5.
What kind of RAID controller would you recommend for something like this?
a c 715 V Motherboard
September 25, 2010 2:08:27 AM

There are Gaming {home} PCs, Workstations, and Servers.

Should vs Could

Should - never mix dissimilar SAS drives. You want all identical drives, caches, speed, controllers. Use Dedicated RAID Controller(s) with large caches and battery back-up controllers to secure buffered data.

Could - flip a coin, no guarantees. None of those drives are remotely similar and clearly the 1TB seems more "home PC" - it needs to support TLER and the overall speed will be limited to the slowest drive {i.e. non-SAS HDD}. It will be an abomination, and would have no business supporting which "seems" to be Mission Critical data.

In either case the minimum would be the Adaptec or similar with RAID {50} capabilities.

This sounds more like play than actual work related, so if thats the case then why a RAID 50/51/53 configuration - confuses me.

Good Luck - let me know how it turns out.
September 27, 2010 1:29:44 PM

Thank you again for your advice.

These drives are identical for each RAID.
For the RAID1 drives, these and the RAID5 drives (holding the data) are these.

I didn't know battery back-up controllers existed as a separate entity. I was under the impression that the controllers had battery backup integrated..

My new thoughts are getting that adaptec controller and doing a RAID1+5 with 6 drives (two OS, 4 data) and using the two remaining drive slots with the internal ACHI and maybe a software RAID for scheduled backups (this would be non-business times which wouldn't hurt CPU performance). Backups are also done on tape, but I figure HD backups can't be a back thing.

BTW, this is a work server... not for home use. I want to do this right. I'm really unfamiliar with common practice with RAIDs. I've always used nested RAIDs (hence the RAID1+5 I keep going back to). They've just always worked for me. The only difference with this server is the drives are SATA and I'm used to SCSI.
a c 715 V Motherboard
September 27, 2010 3:43:59 PM

You need to look at the RAID required HDDs for a nested RAID "50", they can be astronomical is size.

The WD6000HLHX & ST31000524NS are both SATA HDD and not SAS http://www.wdc.com/en/products/index.asp?cat=2

The battery back-up units are typically add-ons for the RAID Controller cards that support them, and are a good idea to protect unwritten cache.

Nonetheless, besides the mixing the capacities won't work:

Review of HDD:
RAID 5 = (N - 1) X S = (4 - 1) X 1 TB = 3 TB
RAID 1 {Mirror} = 600 GB; or 0.6 X N = 3 TB, N = 5 X 2 {2 HDDs RAID 1} = 10 / 600 GB HDD
Disparity in Read/Write speeds/Controllers {e.g. 600 is SATA3 145 Mb/s & 1TB is SATA2 @ 140 Mb/s}

These will not work together and will not support your spec'd RAID.

Therefore, you'll never get where you need to go without having a total of 13 HDDs in total.

Otherwise, non-nested configuration:
RAID 1 the {OS + Apps}; 600 GB which is a crazy size and waste.
RAID 5 the {Data only}; 3 TB

In my office I use ~ WD S25 SAS 146 & 300 GB HDD, RAID 10 web servers & RAID 5 data, but all with NAS. The problem is that if you have a corruption {non H/W} failure the ALL HDDs are corrupted with no {periodic} backup.

I would strongly recommend that you "hire" someone to help set up you server(s).
September 28, 2010 2:16:47 PM

jaquith said:

Therefore, you'll never get where you need to go without having a total of 13 HDDs in total.

Otherwise, non-nested configuration:
RAID 1 the {OS + Apps}; 600 GB which is a crazy size and waste.
RAID 5 the {Data only}; 3 TB

In my office I use ~ WD S25 SAS 146 & 300 GB HDD, RAID 10 web servers & RAID 5 data, but all with NAS. The problem is that if you have a corruption {non H/W} failure the ALL HDDs are corrupted with no {periodic} backup.

I would strongly recommend that you "hire" someone to help set up you server(s).


Hiring someone at this point is not an option.. I appreciate the advice though.

I'm confused, and I think we've had a couple bits lost in communication.
I have been saying that I was leaning towards the use of a RAID1 for the OS/apps and RAID5 for the data. How this turned into me doing a nested RAID50 (which I am completely unfamiliar with, obviously) is beyond me. It seems that you considered a RAID1+5 a nested RAID, but now you aren't? I think I'm more confused than ever.


"The problem is that if you have a corruption {non H/W} failure the ALL HDDs are corrupted with no {periodic} backup."

Don't you mean all HDDs of the particular array that is compromised?
Of course I understand this. If I have a bootable RAID1 and I happen to install a driver that brings the system down, I can't just use the mirrored disk.. because it's mirrored and I have the same issue with it.
RAID concepts and storage calculations are not the issue here.

Like I said, I have tape backups and after this server is up and running I can phase out the old one and use it for a NAS of sorts.

I'm just looking for advice on the proper card to use for a simple RAID1+5, after we determined that this China RAID card was not going to cut it and you explained that the onboard controller was not a good option and splitting a RAID1+5 between two controllers was a bad idea (even though I've seen this configuration elsewhere with no hiccups).

Clearly we are not communicating correctly and I appear to be extremely ignorant to you. For this I apologize.

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a c 715 V Motherboard
September 28, 2010 3:22:58 PM
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Okay, lets do it a way that will work. To be clear RAID 1 of OS AND RAID 5 of DATA is not RAID 5+1 - it is two separate and unrelated RAID configurations.
pattern said:
RAID1 for the OS/apps and RAID5 for the data.

Working off the HDD's you listed:
RAID 1 - 2X WD 600GB VELOCIRAPTOR ; run off the dedicated Adaptec {optional: MOBO on-board} ; 600 GB Storage ; 1 drive failure tolerance.
RAID 5 - 4X WD Seagate Constellation ES 1 TB ; run off the dedicated Adaptec ; 3 TB Storage ; 2 drive failure tolerance.
Backup 1-2X+ per day {NAS, Tape, Redundant Server, Off Premises/Leased Server {Budget Dictated}.
pattern said:
"The problem is that if you have a corruption {non H/W} failure the ALL HDDs are corrupted with no {periodic} backup."
Don't you mean all HDDs of the particular array that is compromised?
Of course I understand this. If I have a bootable RAID1 and I happen to install a driver that brings the system down, I can't just use the mirrored disk.. because it's mirrored and I have the same issue with it.

There are all sorts of things that can corrupt your data, and YES I mean ALL drives can become corrupted; YES problems happen and you could be looking for another copy - Tape, NAS, Off-Premises, etc. Enterprises {large banks} have had to go back-up. Some mirror RAID farms off premises {best friend structures networks for Wachovia/Morgan Stanley}
pattern said:
Like I said, I have tape backups and after this server is up and running I can phase out the old one and use it for a NAS of sorts.

Smart.
pattern said:
I'm just looking for advice on the proper card to use for a simple RAID1+5, after we determined that this China RAID card was not going to cut it and you explained that the onboard controller was not a good option and splitting a RAID1+5 between two controllers was a bad idea (even though I've seen this configuration elsewhere with no hiccups).

Find something that's not assembled in China; POS.
Adaptec is the standard, and I usually do not recommend one model over another.

In my case, for what is worth:
SSD + RAID 1 & RAID 10 Workstations + NAS
RAID 5 Data Backup Servers {NAS}
RAID 10 - Webservers + NAS
RAID 6 Primary Server + Data Backup { Mirror/Redundant Server + NAS + Off Premises {leased} }
{Or programming code is historically backed-up}
September 28, 2010 3:56:55 PM

jaquith said:

To be clear RAID 1 of OS AND RAID 5 of DATA is not RAID 5+1 - it is two separate and unrelated RAID configurations.


Sorry, my RAID syntax is clearly lacking.

jaquith said:

In my case, for what is worth:
SSD + RAID 1 & RAID 10 Workstations + NAS
RAID 5 Data Backup Servers {NAS}
RAID 10 - Webservers + NAS
RAID 6 Primary Server + Data Backup { Mirror/Redundant Server + NAS + Off Premises {leased} }
{Or programming code is historically backed-up}


Your RAID 6 is bootable or no?
I have always seen the OS separated from the DATA (with RAIDs) and am wondering if this configuration is common practice or if it is only used in particular circumstances.. ?



a c 715 V Motherboard
September 28, 2010 4:45:33 PM

In my case the RAID 6 servers do not have separate HDD(s)/RAID for OS, but the RAID 5 does have a separate RAID for OS. Data vs Serving. It is our environment & management design that works logically for my office. I own and enterprise IDX/REO database company, and would take longer to explain the full extent of our structure than I care to type. {Data is spread across multiple servers and specialty servers e.g. JPEG image servers + data, etc...}

September 28, 2010 7:19:24 PM

Best answer selected by pattern.
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