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Hawk521

N54L convert RAID 1 to Drivepool (four 2TB WD Red drives)

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Hawk521

I am new to WHS. Got my N54L an WHS 2011 two weeks ago.  Have been experimenting and learning.

 

Currently the C:(OS) and D: drives reside on a RAID 1 pair of 2TB WD Red drives yielding ~2TB.

Drive E: is another RAID 1 pair of 2TB WD Red drives, also yielding ~2TB.  

 

While this configuration works, I have found that the built-in RAID controller masks access to the S.M.A.R.T. data - meaning that programs designed to monitor SATA drive health cannot retrieve data from the drive S.M.A.R.T. diagnostics.

 

So - I'm planning to re-work the installation to be four individual (no RAID)  2TB drives controlled via Stablebit Drivepool.   WHS 2011 will reside on a 60GB partition of the first 2TB drive, leaving a tad less than 2TB of free space.   Unsure whether I should include the balance of this first drive as part of the Drivepool.  Might experiment with it some.  Initially I might leave it out of the Drivepool.

 

QUESTION:

My first objective is to remove RAID 1 from all drives.  Can I just go into the RAID setup (<ctrl-f>) screen and delete the RAID settings for all drives, and then remove the secondary RAID (#2 and #4 drives) from the machine and reboot?  Is that the cleanest way to eliminate all RAID from the machine?  Does this introduce any festering problems for these drives?  Next I plan to remount these 2 extra drives in the N54L and format each before adding them to the Drivepool.  Maybe there is more to this than I understand?  Just looking for the path of least resistance and trying not to lose the data currently on my C:, D:, and E: drives.

 

Any helpful advice will be appreciated.

 

 

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jmwills

I would suggest getting a smallish SSD drive for the OS and leave the 4x2TB drives either in a RAID or a Drive Pooling mechanism such as Drive bender.  But get the OS, out of the pool.

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Hawk521

...  But get the OS, out of the pool.

 

Thanks for the info.

 

There are only 4 SATA slots in my N54L - so I don't really wish to park one of my newly purchased 2TB drives on a shelf.  Perhaps I could eliminate the DVD drive and install an SSD there.  I have read that it is possible, but complicated by the need to implement a non-standard BIOS in the server to remove the 1.5GB/s limit on the optical drive port.

 

Did not plan to include the C: partition in the pool.  But what about the D: partition?  Seems that if I make every folder on that D: partition duplicated the data will then reside on another drive as well as the D: partition.  Not sure if there is a performance penalty - but if it is minimal why not include the D: partition. Mostly I will be using this server for backups and some experimenting.   Is there something I'm overlooking?

Edited by Hawk521

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jmwills

You can actually connect 6 SATA devices in that box.  The four you have now, plus two more.  There is a SATA port on the MOBO and an extra power connector behind the backplane.  The other device would have to go eSATA to Sata.

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ikon

jmwills, I think the DVD drive is using the onboard SATA port.
 
Hawk521, yes, you could install an SSD using the onboard SATA port and, yes, you would get more performance with the mod BIOS, although it still won't be 6 Gbps. Alternately, you could install a small SATA board into the box and get full speed out of the SSD, while retaining the DVD drive.

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Hawk521

 

 Alternately, you could install a small SATA board into the box and get full speed out of the SSD, while retaining the DVD drive.

 

This sounds optimal.  Any suggestion on which SATA board would work well in this application?   And I'll start watching for a deal on a +80GB SSD drive.

 

Any thoughts on the easiest and least traumatic way to undo the RAID 1 drives without wiping out the data on a least one of them...in such a way that they forget they used to be in the RAID.

 

Hawk

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ikon

This card should work: http://ca.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/HDD-Controllers/SATA-Cards/2-Port-PCI-Express-SATA-6-Gbps-Controller-Card~PEXSAT32

 

I wouldn't do it without an external backup, but you should be able to just break the mirror and keep the data intact. I know it works using Windows Disk Manager as the mirroring tool but I can't speak for your specific BIOS. Typically, the data remains on both drives.

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Joe_Miner

I am new to WHS. Got my N54L an WHS 2011 two weeks ago.  Have been experimenting and learning.

 

Currently the C:(OS) and D: drives reside on a RAID 1 pair of 2TB WD Red drives yielding ~2TB.

Drive E: is another RAID 1 pair of 2TB WD Red drives, also yielding ~2TB.  

 

While this configuration works, I have found that the built-in RAID controller masks access to the S.M.A.R.T. data - meaning that programs designed to monitor SATA drive health cannot retrieve data from the drive S.M.A.R.T. diagnostics.

 

So - I'm planning to re-work the installation to be four individual (no RAID)  2TB drives controlled via Stablebit Drivepool.   WHS 2011 will reside on a 60GB partition of the first 2TB drive, leaving a tad less than 2TB of free space.   Unsure whether I should include the balance of this first drive as part of the Drivepool.  Might experiment with it some.  Initially I might leave it out of the Drivepool.

 

QUESTION:

My first objective is to remove RAID 1 from all drives.  Can I just go into the RAID setup (<ctrl-f>) screen and delete the RAID settings for all drives, and then remove the secondary RAID (#2 and #4 drives) from the machine and reboot?  Is that the cleanest way to eliminate all RAID from the machine?  Does this introduce any festering problems for these drives?  Next I plan to remount these 2 extra drives in the N54L and format each before adding them to the Drivepool.  Maybe there is more to this than I understand?  Just looking for the path of least resistance and trying not to lose the data currently on my C:, D:, and E: drives.

 

Any helpful advice will be appreciated.

 

Hi Hawk521!  Welcome to the board.

 

A couple of questions first:

  • Are your RAID1's set up via the hardware in the N54L System Board and not via Disk Manager in WHS-2011
  • Your system has two Raid1 arrarys (2TB each) the 1st is partitioned into a C & D and the 2nd is E
  • How much Data do you have in all your shares that you want to preserver -- how is your data distributed across your C D E drives
  • what kind of backup system do you have -- i.e. 3-2-1
  • do you have the 250GB drive that came with the N54L
  • How much RAM do you have in your N54L
  • any other PCIe cards, SW, external HD's installed or attached
  • Do you have a DVD drive installed

If you don't have a backup system in place -- before you do anything else backup or copy your data twice -- take your time and do it right

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ikon

JM, in his response to jmwills he said he does have a DVD drive.

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jmwills

That's a waste of a SATA port.  Use an external DVD drive or Virtual Clone Drive to mount iso images.

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