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IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi all:

I am posting on this forum as an experienced amateur rather than someone with formal qualifications in IT infrastructure. That said I do build/repair computers and have informally managed a network previously.

I was given the above server and am experimenting with it in my house hoping to run thin clients off of it for no reason other than I can. Everything is good and I am running Server 2003 on it.
That said, of the 3 SCSI drives that are installed in the machine(they all register in the POST screens) initially only one appeared when I installed XP Pro (couldn't find Server 2003 at the time and wanted to play with it)then two have now appeared under Server 2003 install so one is missing.

I think the PCI Raid Card (IBM ServeRAID 6i+ PCI RAID Controller 13N2195) is defective as there is an LED on it that flashes and the machine will not boot past post unless it is removed - I suspect dead battery.

My question is, does this card control drives that I would add in addition to a seperate RAID box or does it also control the ones in the front of the server itself (capacity for 6). I would assume not as why would Server pick up both SCSI drives and not 1 randoml?. I am happy to buy the replacement card as these are cheap as chips on ebay. However, I don't want to ship one from the US pointlessly.

Finally, I am doing all of this as a bit of a hobby - I know that if the server was in a corporate environment it would need to be relplaced so I also know that any money spent on this machine is essentialy money down the drain. However, I am not fussed about this.

Any help you can provide would be gratefully recieved.

Thanks

Graham

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Edit:

I have installed Server Manager or whatever the IBM disk management program is but haven't used it yet as didn't get time.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

Did you not go and configure raid in the mini config? ctrl-A during post? The OS should only see 1 drive with 3 hdds in the system and you are running something like raid 5. You would also have to use f6 to load a driver for the raid card, so that the OS could see the array. Yes the raid adapter controls the drives in the front of the server. I suggest go to the IBM website and read some of the redbooks on raid.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi:

Many thanks for this - I will definitely do this as it would appear that the more I looked into this the more I realised that I did/do not understand the fundementals of RAIDs and arrays. I assume everything will get easier from here. However, it would apppear that the drives are not going to work at all unless I replace that card.

Thanks

Graham

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

Quote:

does this card control drives that I would add in addition to a separate RAID box or does it also control the ones in the front of the server itself
Yes, the internal controller always controls the internal (front of server) drives. It CAN control external drives in a box if it has the right connector on the back, but I wouldn't worry about that now. You will have enough drive slots for your experimentation if you populated a few of the slots in the front and manage them using the utility.

Booting from the ServeRAID boot CD will tell you all you need to know. It will tell you all about the disks and if they are ONLINE or "hosed". It will show you if they have been formed into an array or not.

If you have further questions, be sure to post the ServeRAID controller that you have in the system. It should tell you during bootup but also in the utility.

Burn ISO to CD to make a bootable CD. (ibm_fw_srsupp_7_12_14_anyos_32-64.iso)
http://www-947.ibm.com/support/entry/portal/docdis...

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi:

The controller I have is ServeRAID-5i Controller and is listed on this page:

http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/tips0784.htm...

For reference it daes from 2002 and has the yellow battery and the black box on it. I cannot boot the system with this plugged in so it is defective in some way. I assume that the battery fault is causing the issue. However, I am unsure which battery it is that is dead (if any). I will get a multimeter and check. I hope it is the yellow one as the "battery" in the black box looks like a collection of hardwired capacitors and none of these seem to have leaked.

Also this does not have a scsi external connector so connection to an external RAID box would appear to not be possible with this card therefore I assume if I am going to do this I will need to get a different card. Could you suggest one?

Thanks again

Graham

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

Quote:

I cannot boot the system with this plugged in so it is defective in some way.
Do you mean that when the 5i is in a PCI slot the server will not boot? Any error message that pops up?

Quote:

I assume that the battery fault is causing the issue.
I wouldn't be too quick to blame the battery module (and replace it). It could just be DOA as a whole.

Make sure it's installed in PCI slot 2 and no other as indicated in this article
www.lenovoservicetraining.com/ion/PSREF/X345.pdf

Replacing the card:
http://www.xbyte.com/IBM-x345-8670-RAID-Controller...
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570....
A) You may choke when you see the prices of the controllers especially those that have external connections.
B) You have to be sure it will be compatible with the x345 server you have.
C) Do you really need the external hard drive cage connectivity when you have 6 drive bays to fill on the server.
D) Regular drives will also be expensive

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

Actually, I have seen where a bad battery won't allow the card to post, and removing the battery will allow it to post, but without write back cache enabled, of course. The battery, will look just like an older wireless phone battery, as it actually is the same battery used in some phones. Also, the "i" at the end of the raid card number indicates it as an integrated card, meaning that it enables the on board scsi adapter to be raid enabled. There is a scsi port on the motherboard on the back, next to the power supplies, and that will be another raid channel with the card in, and can drive an external drive box for more storage, like an exp 300.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi:

I cannot remember the exact message and I do not know how long it was off/messed around with before I was given it but it said something about non-recoverable exception and something about the server failing to boot three consecutive times and says it will reset. It does reset and then repeats the process.

I do not think the card is DOA as the LEDs that are in a line go through somekind of cycle before one of them flashes constantly. Further I did remove the small yellow battery but no dice. Could this error be because I need to boot straight off the raid manager disc and configure it?

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

You should be able to BOOT to the ServeRAID manager CD regardless of the configuration on the controller. If you haven't done that, try it with the battery connected and then disconnected (two separate boots).

Product PDF with lots of info on config and troubleshooting
ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/systems/support/system_...

But...... If it won't boot to the ServeRAID manager CD and you can't enter the setup during server POST (Press Ctrl+I to access the Mini-Configuration Program) and it's in PCI slot 2, I think it's likely dead.

Quote:

There is a scsi port on the motherboard on the back, next to the power supplies, and that will be another raid channel with the card in, and can drive an external drive box for more storage, like an exp 300.
It's been a long time (2006) since I touched an IBM server like this (X226) so thanks to RClarke250 for getting these details exactly right.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

3 consecutive boot failures, could mean it had no bootable array. This server doesn't stop at the "no boot device found" error that most do, it will just cycle like you have found. Phillips medical uses a ton of these type servers in hospitals to use as an active DB for x-rays. It's always fun to get a call at midnight to go replace a hard drive in a box 70 miles away, and you have to go that night because they have a 4 hour contract, even though they have a hot spare in the array.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

Sounds like a sucky job to me. Hope they pay ridiculously for that response time and you get a lot of it. What if you're drunk at the time or otherwise indisposed (if you know what I mean)?

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

Well, then you can't go, and they call the next person on the list, ;) Pay sux, After taxes, I'd see less than $60.00. But I got paid to sleep in the next day.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi all:

Many thanks for your help so far - it would appear that my initial issue is RESOLVED. However, this has now thrown up some other issues as a consequence of my lack of experience I think. However, rather than wade through tonnes of literature I am firstly in search of a quick answer here:

Burnt raid manager iso to disc, re-seated card in PCI slot and booted from CD this seemed to resolve the non-working controller/loop of reboots. That said, even in the BIOS type system configurator all drives are visable, this then failed to acknowledge that the install of Server that was on there previously existed (this is probably normal).

I fiddled about, reinstalling server but again in windows only one drive is visible - indeed on install (old type bios screen - not within windows itself) only one drive of 50 odd gig of unpartioned space existed for install which in itself is weird as each physical drive is around 36 gig so it appears to have assimilated part of another drive.

Tried fiddling with the raid manager from within windows. This asks me for a password (which I do not have, obviously) I have tried all obvious ones - admin, administrator, Admin, Administrator, Password, password. All to no avail. The program does let me in and i can see both the adapter and the drives but I cannot configure them - they are all shown as being online and functioning but I cannot access them.

Thus:

Does anyone know the password?

Is there anything else I should be doing?

As always, thanks

Graham

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi:

Update - I have solved the password issue. However, I cannot get around the fact that the logical drive is set to 50 odd gig and still cannot see the other drives in windows. I now have access to the configuration tools but these don't seem to do anything useful. They probably do but I cannot get them to work.

Thanks

Graham

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

In windows you will only ever see the logical drive that is created from the raid array, I am going to assume you created a raid 5 array, which is going to be the size of 2 drives added together, you loose one of the drives, for the redundancy. So it would be 72GB. Hmmm, you didn't create a 1E array did you? Striped mirror? that has a 50% disk space overhead, so 108gb would become 54gb. A simplistic way to look at it is, it's a raid 10, but uses an odd number of drives.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi:

It is a RAID 5 yes. As I am not really using this as a server with sensitive/crucial data on it is it possible to make the logical drive the physical size of the drive so that the server sees all three drives as partitions of one big drive and I can use them accordingly?

Thanks

Graham

PS It only seems that I have the functionality to do any of this stuff from the program within windows and not through the dos type app which is used when alt I is pressed - it seems that the drive structure is predetermined before windows is installed and obviously fiddling around with the structure from within Windows causes errors.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

CNTL I gives limited functionality. Booting to the ServeRAID manager CD gives you complete control of the arrays and the type of RAID. You have to do all the stuff BEFORE installing Windows and then Windows will see what you have configured.

Please state how many hard drives you have, the RAID you want and/or other disk configuration you want.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

You will always lose the size of one drive in a raid 5 for overhead. So if you have 3 drives, you will only see the size of 2 drives, the 3rd is lost for redundancy. Also as a by product of the raid card the computer will only see the logical drives, not the physical drives.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi:

OK therein lies the first problem - I thought that the serveraid prog was booting from disc as this ctrl i function came about at the time i re-seated the raid card and inserted the newly burnt disc. Otherwise the card has just started working along with this control i think by complete fluke - which is what appears to be the case.

I have three IBM 36.6 gig HDs in slots 1, 2 and 3 of the server.

What I want is either three seperate drives of equalish capacity viewable and useable in windows OR one large HD (logical drive) made up of the sum of all three.

Thanks

Graham

PS I will now follow the link given earlier in this thread to the iso as the one I use clearly is not booting and is perhaps a different one - this will then hopefully get me into the manager you refer to in readiness for your/someone's response.

Thanks again

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

Well, you want raid 0 to get one large drive, you can then use windows to partition that drive into smaller size chunks. But be aware, this offers no redundancy, in other words, if a drive fails, you loose everything on all three drives, no way to rebuild without a backup. Ctrl-I gets you into the firmware on the raid card, it's referred to as mini-config due to the minimal options given. You may also want serverguide. It is designed to be a starting point to setup the server, and get the OS loaded.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

^^^ Well said.

I never recommend a RAID 0 unless you're doing something like video or audio conversions.

If you boot to the ServeRAID manager CD and destroy the RAID array, you will just have three disks to do what you want. I would then probably pull two of them out, load Windows on the one, then reinsert the others one at a time and make them extra data drives (E:, F:)

None of that will help you learn about arrays or logical drives though.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

(OP)
Hi:

Thanks all for the help so far - I think the last iso has provided a lot of answers and with the supplied raid manager I was able to set the discs as I liked and see what everyone was talking about on here. I will be doing a lot of video editing and hosting as well as thin client stuff mentioned above so this is what I want to do.

Also I will probably populate the other drive bays with drives later as in the UK at least eBay seems to be a very cheap source of these.

Thanks again - I understand that some of my questions may have been frustrating. Happy holidays and new year.

RE: IBM X Series 345 possible RAID issues

I wouldn't say frustrating, but we're trying to teach you things that "civilians" don't normally mess around with.

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