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Configuring and Managing RAID

Dell™ PERC 6/i, PERC 6/E and CERC 6/i User's Guide

  Dell OpenManage Storage Management

  Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager

  RAID Configuration Functions

  BIOS Configuration Utility

  Virtual Disk Management

  Physical Disk Management

  Controller Management


Dell Open Manage storage management applications enable you to manage and configure the RAID system, create and manage multiple disk groups, control and monitor multiple RAID systems, and provide online maintenance. The applications for Dell™ PowerEdge™ Expandable RAID Controller (PERC) 6 controllers include:


Dell OpenManage Storage Management

Dell OpenManage Storage Management is a storage management application for Dell systems that provides enhanced features for configuring a system's locally-attached RAID and non-RAID disk storage. Dell OpenManage Storage Management enables you to perform controller and enclosure functions for all supported RAID controllers and enclosures from a single graphical or command-line interface without requiring the use of the controller BIOS utilities. The graphical user interface (GUI) is wizard-driven with features for novice and advanced users and detailed online help. Using Dell OpenManage Storage Management, you can protect your data by configuring data-redundancy, assigning hot spares, or rebuilding failed physical disks. The command line interface available on selected operating systems to perform RAID management tasks is fully featured and scriptable.


Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager

SAS RAID Storage Manager is a storage management application for Dell SC systems and Dell Precision™ workstations. SAS RAID Storage Manager configures virtual disks, and monitors and maintains PERC 6 controllers, battery backup units, and other devices running on systems and workstations. It offers a graphical user interface (GUI) you can use to perform these tasks.


RAID Configuration Functions

NOTE: Dell OpenManage Storage Management can perform all the same tasks as and more tasks than the BIOS Configuration Utility.

After you attach physical disks, use a configuration utility to organize your SAS drives and SATA drives into virtual disks. If the operating system is not yet installed, use the BIOS Configuration Utility to perform this procedure.

NOTE: The PERC 6 controllers support Dell-qualified SATA physical disks.

Use the configuration utilities to perform the following tasks:

The following sections describe the menu options and provide detailed instructions used to perform the configuration tasks. They apply to the BIOS Configuration Utility. The following is a list of the procedures used to configure physical disks into virtual disks.

  1. Define virtual disks using a group of physical disks.

NOTE: A disk group is deleted when the last virtual disk in the disk group is deleted.
  1. Designate hot spares (optional).

For more information, see Managing Dedicated Hot Spares.

  1. Save the configuration information.

  2. Initialize the virtual disks.

For the detailed configuration procedures, see Physical Disk Management.


BIOS Configuration Utility

The BIOS Configuration Utility, also known as Ctrl+R, is a Open Manage storage management application embedded on the PERC 6 controllers that configures and maintains RAID disk groups and virtual disks, and manages the RAID system. Ctrl+R is independent of any operating system.

NOTE: Use the BIOS Configuration Utility for initial setup and disaster recovery. You can set Advanced features through Dell OpenManage Storage Management and Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager.

The following sections provide information about using the BIOS Configuration Utility. See the online help option by pressing <F1> to obtain additional information about the ongoing operation.

NOTE: The PERC 6 controller configuration utility refreshes the screen to show changes to information on the screen. The refresh occurs when you press a key or every 15 seconds if you do not press a key.

Entering the BIOS Configuration Utility

The BIOS Configuration Utility configures physical disk groups and virtual disks. Because the utility resides in the controller BIOS, its operation is independent of the operating systems on your system.

Perform the following steps to enter the BIOS Configuration Utility when you boot the system.

  1. Turn on and boot the system.

A BIOS banner displays information about the controller and configuration.

  1. During bootup, press <Ctrl><R> when prompted by the BIOS banner.

After you press <Ctrl><R>, if there is only one controller, the Virtual Disk Management screen for that controller displays. If there is more than one controller, the main menu screen displays first. This screen lists the RAID controllers. Use the arrow keys to select the RAID controller you want to configure, and press <Enter> to access the management menus for the controller. The virtual disks, physical disks, free space, hot spares, and other items displays in the other menu screens. The information can display in a list view or in an expandable tree directory similar to that of Microsoft® Windows® Explorer.

NOTE: You can access multiple controllers through the BIOS Configuration Utility by pressing <F12>.
NOTE: You can access PERC 5 and PERC 6 adapters from the same BIOS if the PERC 5 firmware version is 5.1.1-0040 or later. You need to verify if you are currently set to edit the PERC 5 or PERC 6 adapter.

Exiting the Configuration Utility

To exit the BIOS Configuration Utility, press <Esc> at any menu screen. If there is only one controller, then a dialog box displays to confirm your choice. Select OK to exit and press <Enter>.

If multiple controllers are present, then the <Esc> key brings you to the Controller Selection screen. Press <Esc> again to reach the exit screen. A dialog box displays to confirm your choice. Select OK to exit and press <Enter>.

Menu Navigation Controls

Table 5-1 displays the menu keys you can use to move between the different screens in the BIOS Configuration Utility.

Table 5-1. Menu Navigation Keys 

Notation

Meaning and Use

Example

Use the right arrow key to open a submenu, move from a menu heading to the first submenu, or move to the first item in that submenu. If you press the right arrow key at a menu heading, the submenu expands. Press it again to go to the first item in the submenu. The right arrow key is also used to close a menu list in a popup window. Word wrap is supported.

Start Programs

Use the left arrow key to close a submenu, move from a menu item to the menu heading for that item, or move from a submenu to a higher level menu. If you press the left arrow key at a menu heading, the submenu collapses. Press it again to go to the higher-level menu. Word wrap is supported.

Controller 0 Disk Group 1

Use the up arrow key to move to the upper menu items within a menu or to a higher level menu. You can also use the up arrow key to close a menu list in a popup window, such as the stripe element size menu. Word wrap is supported.

Virtual Disk 1

Virtual Disk 4

Use the down arrow key to move to the lower menu items within a menu or to a lower level menu. You can also use the down arrow key to open a menu list in a popup window, such as the stripe element size menu, and select a setting. Word wrap is supported.

Virtual Disks

Virtual Disk 1

Underlined letter in a menu heading on the menu bar

Indicates a shortcut you can use by pressing <Alt><underlined letter>. To use this feature, the menu must be activated. Menu shortcuts are allowed but cannot be used when a menu is active.

Adapter

Underlined letter in a menu item

Indicates a shortcut you can use to expand a menu by pressing <Alt><menu underlined letter>. Pressing <Alt> again closes the menu. Menu shortcuts are allowed but cannot be used when a menu is active.

Virtual Disk 1

< >

Key presses are enclosed in angle brackets.

<F1>, <Esc>, <Enter>

<Enter>

After you highlight a menu item, press <Enter> to select that item. This opens an options menu for the menu item. This applies to only certain menu items, such as Virtual Disk #. In a list of options for that item, such as the write policy for a virtual disk, highlight a setting, such as Write-Through, and press <Enter> to select it.

In the right panel, you can press <Enter> to select Tree View or List View under the View Type heading.

Select Add New VD and press <Enter> to create a new virtual disk.

<Esc>

After you expand a pop-up window, press <Esc> to close the window. You can continue to press <Esc> to exit the BIOS Configuration Utility.

Press <Esc> to return to the VD Mgmt screen.

<Tab>

Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the next control on a Dialog or page.

Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the next parameter you want to change.

<Shift><Tab>

Press <Shift><Tab> to move the cursor to the previous control on a dialog or page.

Press <Shift><Tab> to move the cursor from Virtual Disk to Disk Group #.

<Ctrl><N>

Press <Ctrl><N> to move to the next menu screen among the main menu screens: VD Mgmt, PD Mgmt, Ctrl Mgmt, and Foreign View.

When you return to the original menu, the cursor is on the same menu item it was on before you pressed <Ctrl><N>.

Press <Ctrl><N> on the VD Mgmt screen to move to the PD Mgmt screen.

<Ctrl><P>

Press <Ctrl><P> to move to the previous menu screen among the main menu screens: VD Mgmt, PD Mgmt, Ctrl Mgmt, and Foreign View.

When you return to the previous screen, the cursor is on the same menu item it was on before you pressed <Ctrl><P>.

Press <Ctrl><P> on the PD Mgmt screen to return to the VD Mgmt screen.

<F1>

Press <F1> to access Help information. The Help screens display a glossary of topics you can use to access information about navigation, RAID levels, and general topics.

<F1>

<F2>

Press <F2> to access the context menu, which displays the list of options.

<F2>

<F5>

Press <F5> to refresh the information on the screen.

<F5>

<F11>

Switch between two controllers.

<F11>

<F12>

Press <F12> to display a list of controllers.

<F12>

Spacebar

Press the spacebar to select an item, such as a virtual disk in the List View, select all the virtual disks (Mark All), or deselect all the virtual disks (Unmark All).

Press the spacebar to select each virtual disk on which you want to check data consistency.

Setting Up Virtual Disks

This section contains the procedures used to set up a disk group and create virtual disks. Each of the following procedures are explained individually in this section in detail.

  1. Create the virtual disks and select the virtual disk options.

  2. Designate hot spares (optional).

For more information, see Managing Dedicated Hot Spares.

NOTE: A disk group is deleted when the last virtual disk in the disk group is deleted.
  1. Initialize the virtual disks.

NOTE: When you use one physical disk group to create multiple virtual disks, all the virtual disks must be configured with the same RAID level.

When you define the virtual disks, you can set the virtual disk parameters described in Table 5-2.

Table 5-2. Virtual Disk Parameters and Descriptions 

Parameter

Description

RAID Level

RAID Level specifies the whether the virtual disk is RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60. The RAID level you select depends on the number of disks, disk capacity, and the requirements for fault tolerance and performance. See Summary of RAID Levels for more information.

Stripe Element Size

Stripe Element Size specifies the size of the segments written to each physical disk in a RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and 50 virtual disk. You can set the stripe element size to 8 KB, 16 KB, 32 KB, 64 KB, 128 KB, 256 KB, 512 KB, or 1024 KB. The default and recommended stripe element size is 64 KB.

A larger stripe element size provides better read performance if your system does mostly sequential reads.

Write Policy

Write Policy specifies the controller write policy. You can set the write policy to Write-Back or Write-Through.

In Write-Back caching, the controller sends a data transfer completion signal to the host when the controller cache has received all the data in a transaction.

NOTE: If a BBU is present, the default cache setting is Write-Back cache. If no BBU is present, the default cache policy default setting is Write-Through.

NOTICE: If Write-Back is enabled and the system is quickly turned off and then on, the controller may pause as the system flushes cache memory. Controllers that contain a battery backup default to Write-Back caching.

In Write-Through caching, the controller sends a data transfer completion signal to the host when the disk subsystem has received all the data in a transaction.

Write-Back caching has a performance advantage over Write-Through caching.

NOTE: Certain data patterns and configurations perform better with Write-Through cache policy.

Read Policy

Read-ahead enables the Read-Ahead feature for the virtual disk. You can set this parameter to Read-ahead, No-read-ahead, or Adaptive. The default is No-read-ahead.

Read-ahead specifies that the controller uses Read-Ahead for the current virtual disk. Read-ahead capability allows the controller to read sequentially ahead of requested data and store the additional data in cache memory, anticipating that the data is required soon.

No-read-ahead specifies that the controller does not use Read-Ahead for the current virtual disk.

NOTE: No-Read-Ahead shows higher performance results due to the effectiveness of hard-drive caching algorithms.

Adaptive specifies that the controller begins using Read-Ahead if the two most recent disk accesses occurred in sequential sectors. If all read requests are random, the algorithm reverts to No-read-ahead; however, all requests are still evaluated for possible sequential operation.


Virtual Disk Management

Creating Virtual Disks

NOTE: PERC 6 does not support creation of a virtual disk that combines SAS physical disks and SATA physical disks.

Perform the following steps to create virtual disks.

  1. During host system bootup, press <Ctrl><R> when the BIOS banner displays.

The Virtual Disk Management screen displays. If there is more than one controller, the main menu screen displays. Select a controller, and press <Enter>. The Virtual Disk Management screen displays for the selected controller.

NOTE: This procedure describes the BIOS Configuration Utility screens in Tree View.
  1. Use the arrow keys to highlight Controller # or Disk Group #.

  2. Press <F2> to display the actions you can perform.

  3. Select Create New VD and press <Enter>.

The Create New VD screen displays. The cursor is on the RAID Levels option.

  1. Press <Enter> to display the possible RAID levels, based on the physical disks available.

  2. Press the down arrow key to select a RAID level and press <Enter>.

  3. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the list of physical disks.

  4. Use the arrow key to highlight a physical disk and press the spacebar, <Alt>, or <Enter> to select the disk.

  5. Select additional disks, if desired.

  6. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the box Basic Settings.

  7. Set the virtual disk size in the VD Size field.

The virtual disk size displays in megabyte (MB) format.

NOTE: For RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 6 only, you can use part of the available disk space to create one virtual disk and then use the rest of the disk space to create another virtual disk or disks.
NOTE: The minimum virtual disk size is 100 MB.
  1. Press <Tab> to access the VD Size field, and type a virtual disk name.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Advanced Settings.

  3. Press the spacebar to make the settings active so that you can change them.

An X displays beside Advanced Settings. The settings are the stripe element size, read policy, and write policy. You can also choose advanced options such as forcing the cache policy to be Write-Back, initializing the virtual disk, and configuring a dedicated hot spare.

The defaults for these parameters display when the window displays. You can accept the defaults or change them. For detailed information about the virtual disk parameters, see Virtual Disk Parameters and Descriptions.

  1. Perform the following steps to select the virtual disk parameters:

    1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the parameters you want to change.

    1. Press the down arrow key to open the parameters and scroll down the list of settings.

    2. To change the stripe element size, press <Tab> to highlight Stripe Element Size.

    3. Press <Enter> to display the list of stripe element sizes (8 KB, 16 KB, 32 KB, 64 KB, 128 KB, 256 KB, 512 KB, and 1024 KB), then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>. The default is 64 KB.

    4. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Read Policy to change it if desired.

    5. Press <Enter> to display the options, No Read Ahead, Read Ahead, or Adaptive Read Ahead, then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>.

    6. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Write Policy to change it if desired.

    7. Press <Enter> to display the options, Write Through or Write Back, and then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>.

    8. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Force WB with no battery and press <Enter>. If you chose Write Through as the write policy, then this option is not available.

    9. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Initialize and press <Enter>.

NOTICE: Do not initialize virtual disks when attempting to recreate an existing configuration.
NOTE: The initialization performed at this stage is fast initialization.
    1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Configure HotSpare and press <Enter>.

NOTE: The hot spare created at this stage is a dedicated hot spare.
    1. If you have chosen to create hot spares in the earlier steps a pop-up window appears where drives with appropriate sizes are displayed. Press the spacebar to select the drive size.

Select the check box to enable the enclosure affinity setting for the hot spare.

    1. After you select the drive size, click OK to finalize the selection or click Cancel to forfeit the selection.

    2. Select OK to accept the settings and press <Enter> to exit this window or select Cancel and press <Enter> to exit if you do not want to change any virtual disk parameters.

Initializing Virtual Disks

NOTICE: A full initialization permanently destroys any data that already exists.

Perform the following steps to initialize virtual disks.

  1. On the VD Mgmt screen, select Virtual Disk # and press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  2. Select Initialization and press the right arrow key to display the Initialization submenu options.

  3. Select Start Init. to begin a regular initialization or select Fast Init. to begin a fast initialization.

  4. A pop-up windows appears indicating that the virtual disk has been initialized.

  5. Repeat the procedures in this section to configure another virtual disk.

The PERC 6 controllers support up to 64 virtual disks per controller. The currently configured virtual disks display on the screen.

Checking Data Consistency

Select the Consistency Check (CC) option in the configuration utility to verify the redundancy data in virtual disks that use RAID levels 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60. (RAID 0 does not provide data redundancy.)

If you attempt to run a Consistency Check on a virtual disk that has not been initialized, the following error message displays:

The virtual disk has not been initialized. Running a consistency check may result in inconsistent messages in the log. Are you sure you want to continue?

You can select Yes or No. If you select Yes, the CC operation continues. If you select No, the operation ends.

Perform the following steps to run a Consistency Check.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the VD Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press the down arrow key to highlight Virtual Disk #.

  3. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  4. Press the down arrow key to select Consistency Check.

  5. Press the right arrow key to display the menu of available actions, Start and Stop.

  6. Select Start and press <Enter> to run a Consistency Check.

The Consistency Check runs and checks the redundancy data in the virtual disks.

  1. After you start the Consistency Check, press <Esc> to display the previous menu.

Importing or Clearing Foreign Configurations Using the VD Mgmt Menu

When a foreign configuration exists, the BIOS banner displays the message Foreign configuration(s) found on adapter. In addition, a foreign configuration, when present, appears on the right side of the VD Mgmt screen.

You can use the VD Mgmt menu to import the existing configuration to the RAID controller or clear the existing configuration to create a new one. In addition, you can view the foreign drive data from the Foreign View tab without importing the configuration.

NOTE: The controller does not allow an import that results in more than 64 virtual disks.

Perform the following steps to import or clear foreign configurations.

  1. During bootup, press <Ctrl><R> when prompted by the BIOS banner.

The VD Mgmt screen appears by default.

  1. On the VD Mgmt screen, highlight the Controller #.

The controller number is the only item that appears until you import the foreign configuration.

  1. Press <F2> to display the available actions.

  2. Press the right arrow key to display the available actions, Import and Clear.

NOTE: Ensure that your virtual disk has all the physical disks by verifying that there are no physical disks marked as Missing in the foreign view page and that all the disks appear as expected before importing them.
  1. Select Import to import the foreign configuration or Clear to delete the foreign configuration and then press <Enter>.

If you import the configuration, the VD Mgmt displays detailed configuration information. This includes information about the disk groups, virtual disks, physical disks, space allocation, and hot spares.

Importing or Clearing Foreign Configurations Using the Foreign Configuration View Screen

If one or more physical disks are removed from a configuration, for example, by a cable pull or physical disk removal, the configuration on those disks is considered a foreign configuration by the RAID controller.

You can use the Foreign Configuration View screen to view information about the foreign configuration, such as disk groups, virtual disks, physical disks, space allocation, and hot spares. The foreign configuration data appears in the same format as configurations on the VD Mgmt screen. You can use this screen to view the foreign configuration before you decide whether to import it. After you view the foreign configuration, you can either import it to the RAID controller or clear it.

NOTE: Before you import, review the configuration on the screen to ensure that it is the desired end result.

You can use the Foreign Configuration View screen to manage foreign configurations in the following cases:

The following constraints apply to the physical disks that are considered for import:

Perform the following procedures on the Foreign Configuration View screen to manage foreign configurations in each specific case:

  1. If all or some of the physical disks in a configuration are removed and re- inserted, the controller considers the drives to have foreign configurations. Perform the following steps:

    1. Select Foreign Configuration View to display the foreign configuration information on the Foreign Configuration View screen.

    1. Press <F2> to display the options Import or Clear.

NOTE: You must have all the drives in the system before you perform the import operation.
    1. Select Import to import the foreign configuration to the controller or select Clear to delete the foreign configuration(s) from the re-inserted disk(s).

In the Preview Configuration Data window, the status of a physical disk that needs to be rebuilt is displayed as Rebuild.

NOTE: When you import a foreign configuration, the dedicated hot spares in the configuration are imported as dedicated hot spares on two conditions - the associated virtual disk is already present or the associated virtual disk is also imported along with the configuration.
NOTE: Start a consistency check immediately after the rebuild is complete to ensure data integrity for the virtual disks. For more information about checking data consistency, see Checking Data Consistency.
  1. If all the physical disks in a virtual disk are removed, but at different times, and re-inserted, the controller considers the disks to have foreign configurations. Perform the following steps:

    1. Select Foreign Configuration View to display the complete virtual disk, across different foreign configurations and allow foreign configurations to be imported.

    1. Press <F2> to display the options Import or Clear.

NOTE: You must have all the drives in the system before you perform the import operation.
    1. Select Import to merge the foreign configurations with the existing configuration on the controller or Clear to delete the foreign configuration(s) from the re-inserted disk(s).

If you select Import, all drives that were pulled before the virtual disk became offline are imported, and then automatically rebuilt.

NOTE: Start a consistency check immediately after the rebuild is complete to ensure data integrity for the virtual disks. For more information about checking data consistency, see Checking Data Consistency.
  1. If the physical disks in a non-redundant virtual disk are removed, the controller considers the drives to have foreign configurations. Perform the following steps:

    1. Select Foreign Configuration View to display the complete foreign configuration information.

    1. Press <F2> to display the options Import or Clear.

    2. Select Import to import the foreign configuration to the virtual disk or Clear to delete the foreign configuration(s) from the re-inserted disk(s).

No rebuilds occur after the import operation because there is no redundant data to rebuild the drives with.

Managing Preserved Cache

If a virtual disk becomes offline or is deleted because of missing physical disks, the controller preserves the dirty cache from the virtual disk. This preserved dirty cache, known as pinned cache, is preserved until you import the virtual disk or discard the cache.

NOTE: Certain operations, such as creating a new virtual disk, cannot be performed if pinned cache exists. You have to enter the BIOS Configuration Utility to resolve the situation before you boot to the operating system. Messages are displayed notifying you that you must enter the BIOS Configuration Utility to discard the pinned cache or import the virtual disks with the pinned cache.
CAUTION: If there are any foreign configurations, it is strongly advised that you import the foreign configuration before you discard the preserved cache. Otherwise, you might lose data that belongs with the foreign configuration.

Perform the following steps to select whether to import the virtual disk or discard the preserved cache.

  1. On the VD Mgmt screen, click on a controller icon.

  2. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  3. Select Manage Preserved Cache.

A message displays to advise you to import the foreign configuration before you discard the preserved cache. Otherwise, you can lose data that belongs with the foreign configuration. Confirm whether you want to continue. The Manage Preserved Cache screen displays the affected virtual disks.

  1. On the Manage Preserved Cache screen, choose whether to discard the cache. You can discard the cache or press Cancel to display the Preserved Cache Retained dialog box.

If you choose to discard the cache, you are prompted to confirm your choice. If you choose to retain the cache, a message displays to notify you that you cannot perform certain operations while the cache exists. Click OK to continue.

Some operations, such as creating a new virtual disk, are not allowed if preserved cache exists. A message warns you that you cannot perform the operation while preserved cache exists. If you choose to clear a configuration, and preserved cache exists, a message warns you that all data on all virtual drives is lost and the preserved cache is discarded.

Managing Dedicated Hot Spares

A dedicated hot spare automatically replaces a failed physical disk only in the selected disk group which the hot spare is part of. A dedicated hot spare is used before a global hot spare is used. You can create dedicated hot spares or delete them on the VD Mgmt screen. Perform the following steps to create or delete dedicated hot spares.

  1. On the VD Mgmt screen, select Disk Group # and press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

The available menu options appear.

  1. Select Manage Ded. HS and press <Enter>.

A screen displays a list of the current dedicated hot spares and the physical disks that are available to create dedicated hot spares. An X displays next to the current dedicated hot spares.

NOTE: The utility allows only disks of the same drive technology and of equal or greater size to be selected as dedicated hot spare.
  1. To create a dedicated hot spare, press the down arrow key to highlight an available physical disk and press the spacebar to select the disk. Repeat this procedure for each dedicated hot spare that you want to create.

An X displays beside the selected physical disk(s).

  1. To delete a dedicated hot spare, use the down arrow key to highlight a current hot spare and press the spacebar to deselect the disk. Repeat this procedure for each dedicated hot spare that you want to delete.

  2. Press <Enter> to approve the changes.

The VD Mgmt screen displays the updated list of hot spares under the Hot spares heading.

NOTE: If a global hot spare or dedicated hot spare is removed and re-inserted, it regains its status as a hot spare.
NOTE: If a dedicated hot spare is removed, re-inserted, and then imported, the physical disk changes to a global hot spare upon completion of the foreign configuration import.

Deleting Virtual Disks

To delete virtual disks, perform the following steps in the BIOS Configuration Utility.

NOTE: You cannot delete a virtual disk during an initialization.
NOTE: Warning messages are displayed stating the effect of deleting a virtual disk. Click OK twice to complete the virtual disk deletion.
  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the VD Mgmt screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to a virtual disk under the Virtual Disks heading.

  3. Press <F2>.

The action menu appears.

  1. Select Delete VD and press <Enter>.

  2. On the VD Mgmt screen, select Space Allocation to display the amount of free space available after you delete the virtual disk.

Deleting Disk Groups

You can delete disk groups using the BIOS Configuration Utility. When you delete a disk group, the utility also removes the virtual disks in that disk group.

To delete disk groups, perform the following steps in the BIOS Configuration Utility.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the VD Mgmt screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to a disk group under the Virtual Disks heading.

  3. Press <F2>.

The action menu displays.

  1. Select Delete Disk Group and press <Enter>.

This deletes the disk group. When you delete a disk group, the remaining disk groups with higher numbers are automatically renumbered. For example, if you delete disk group #2, disk group #3 is then automatically renumbered as disk group #2.

Resetting the Configuration

You can delete all virtual disks on the RAID controller by performing this operation.

To reset the configuration, perform the following steps in the BIOS Configuration Utility:

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the VD Mgmt screen.

  2. Press <Tab> or use the arrow keys to move the cursor to the Controller heading.

  3. Press <F2>. The action menu appears.

  4. Select Reset Configuration.

A pop-up window appears prompting for confirmation to delete all virtual disks.

  1. Select OK to delete the virtual disks or Cancel to retain the existing configuration.

BIOS Configuration Utility Menu Options

The first menu that displays when you access the BIOS Configuration Utility is the main menu screen. It lists the controller, controller number, and other information, such as the slot number. On this screen, you can select use the arrow keys to select the RAID controller you want to configure. Press <Enter> to access the controller.

This section describes the options for the BIOS Configuration Utility for each of the major menus:

Most menus consist of two panels:

The following sections describe the menu and submenu options for each of the major menus.

Virtual Disk Management (VD Mgmt)

The Virtual Disk Management screen, VD Mgmt, is the first screen that displays when you access a RAID controller from the main menu screen on the BIOS Configuration Utility. In the Tree View, the left panel displays the menus for the virtual disk management, which are:

In the Tree View, the right panel displays detailed information for the selected controllers, disk groups, virtual disks, physical disks, space allocation, and hot spares, as shown in Table 5-3.

Table 5-3. Information on the Virtual Disk Management Screen 

Menu Item Selected in Left Panel

Information That Displays in Right Panel

Controller #

Controller Properties:

  • Number of disk groups (DG)
  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)

Disk Group #

Disk Group # Properties:

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Virtual Disks

Disk Group # Properties:

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available in the virtual disk
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Virtual Disk #

Virtual Disk # Properties:

  • RAID level (0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, or 60)
  • RAID status of the virtual disk (Failed, Degraded, or Optimal)
  • Size of the virtual disk
  • Operation currently in progress

Disk Group # Properties:

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Physical Disks

Disk Group # Properties:

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Physical Disk #

Physical Disk Properties:

  • Vendor name
  • Physical disk size
  • Physical disk state

Disk Group # Properties:

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Space Allocation

Disk Group # Properties:

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

Hot Spares

Physical disk properties:

  • Vendor name
  • Physical disk size
  • Physical disk state

Disk group # properties:

  • Number of virtuals disks (VD)
  • Number of physical disks (PD)
  • Space available on the physical disks
  • Number of free segments
  • Number of dedicated hot spares

NOTE: The List View of the Virtual Disk Management screen displays different options from the Tree View.

Virtual Disk Actions

Table 5-4 describes the actions you can perform on virtual disks. For procedures you can use to perform these actions, See Physical Disk Management.

Table 5-4. Virtual Disk Actions 

Action

Description

Create a new virtual disk

Creates a new virtual disk from one or more physical disks. You can configure hot spares when you create a virtual disk.

Manage dedicated hot spares

Creates or deletes a hot spare that can be dedicated to a single redundant virtual disks.

Initialize a virtual disk

Initializes the selected virtual disk. Every virtual disk that is configured must be initialized. You can perform a fast initialization or a full initialization.

Check data consistency on a virtual disk

Verifies the correctness of the redundancy data in the selected virtual disk. This option is available only if RAID level 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, or 60 is used. The PERC 6 controllers automatically correct any differences found in the data.

Display or update virtual disk parameters

Displays the properties of the selected virtual disk. You can modify the cache write policy, read policy, and the input/output (I/O) policy from this menu.

Manage preserved cache

Preserves the dirty cache from a virtual disk if it becomes offline or is deleted. The dirty cache is preserved until you import the virtual disk or discard the cache.

Delete a virtual disk

Deletes the virtual disk and frees up disk space to create another virtual disk.

Delete a disk group

Deletes a disk group, which is a collection of disks from one or more disk subsystems controlled by management software.

Physical Disk Management (PD Mgmt)

The Physical Disk Management screen, PD Mgmt, displays physical disk information and action menus. The screen displays physical disk IDs, vendor names, disk size, type, state, and disk group (DG). You can sort the list of physical disks based on these headings. You can perform several actions on the physical disks, including the following:

Physical Disk Actions

Table 5-5 describes the actions you can perform on physical disks. For procedures that can be used to perform these actions, see Physical Disk Management.

Table 5-5. Physical Disk Actions 

Action

Description

Rebuild

Regenerates all data to a replacement disk in a redundant virtual disk (RAID level 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, or 60) after a disk failure. A disk rebuild normally occurs without interrupting normal operations on the affected virtual disk.

Replace Member

Replaces the drive in the virtual disk with another drive that can be selected.

LED Blinking

Indicates when physical disks are being used to create a virtual disk. You can choose to start or stop the LED blinking.

Force Online

Changes the state of the selected physical disk to online.

Force Offline

Changes the state of the selected physical disk so that it is no longer part of a virtual disk.

Make Global HS

Designates the selected physical disk as a global hot spare. A global hot spare is part of a pool for all virtual disks controlled by the controller.

Designates the selected physical disk as a global hot spare. You can select the hot spare to have enclosure affinity.

Remove HS

Removes a dedicated hot spare from its disk group or a global hot spare from the global pool of hot spares.

Rebuild

Select Rebuild to rebuild one or more failed physical disks. For information on performing a physical disk rebuild, see Performing a Manual Rebuild of an Individual Physical Disk.

If no workload is placed on the storage subsystem, the controller rebuilds SAS drives at a rate of approximately 200 GB/hour and SATA drives at a rate of approximately 100 GB/hour. Several of the controller configuration settings and the virtual disk settings affect the actual rate of rebuild. These factors include the rebuild rate setting, virtual disk stripe size, virtual disk Read Policy, virtual disk Write Policy, and the amount of workload placed on the storage subsystem. For information on getting the best rebuild performance from your RAID controller, see the documentation on Dell Support website at support.dell.com.

Controller Management (Ctrl Mgmt)

The Controller Management screen, Ctrl Mgmt, displays the product name, package, BIOS version, firmware version, BIOS Configuration Utility version, and boot block. Use this screen to perform actions on the controller and BIOS. You can use this screen to enable or disable the controller BIOS and the BIOS during bootup in event of BIOS errors. In addition, you can select a virtual disk from which to boot, select default settings, and reset the configuration.

Controller Management Actions

Table 5-6 describes the actions you can perform on the Ctrl Mgmt screen.

Table 5-6. Controller Management Options 

Option

Description

Enable Controller BIOS

Select this option to enable the controller BIOS. If the boot device is on the RAID controller, the BIOS must be enabled. Disable the BIOS to use other boot devices.

In a multiple controller environment, you can enable BIOS on multiple controllers. However, if you want to boot from a specific controller, then enable the BIOS on that controller and disable it on the other controllers. The system can then boot from the BIOS-enabled controller.

Enable Alarm

Select this option to enable or disable the audible alarm on the controller, if alarm hardware is present. The alarm sounds to warn you of any problems with the physical disks or the virtual disks.

Enable BIOS Stop On Error

Select this option to stop the system BIOS during bootup if there are BIOS errors. This option enables you to enter the configuration utility to resolve the problem.

Select Bootable VD

Select this option to specify a virtual disk as the boot disk on the controller. This option displays if you have built virtual disks.

Factory Default

Select this option to restore the default settings for the options in the Settings box.

Foreign Configuration View

When a foreign configuration is present, you can select Foreign Configuration View to display the configuration. This screen shows the foreign configuration as it would be if you import it. You can preview the foreign configuration before you decide whether to import it or clear it.

In some cases, a foreign configuration cannot be imported. If a physical disk in a virtual disk is rebuilding, the physical disk's state is set to Rebuild. For the virtual disks, the text Importable or Not Importable displays next to each virtual disk. No virtual disk target ID displays for virtual disks that cannot be imported.

The section Importing or Clearing Foreign Configurations Using the Foreign Configuration View Screen contains the procedures you can use to manage the foreign configurations.

NOTE: The BIOS Configuration Utility reports error codes for failed imports of foreign configurations.

Physical Disk Management

Setting LED Blinking

The LED blinking option indicates when physical disks are being used to create a virtual disk. You can choose to start or stop the LED blinking. Perform the following steps to start or stop this option.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the PD Mgmt screen.

A list of physical disks appears. The status of the each disk displays under the heading State.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk.

  2. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  3. Press the down arrow key to highlight LED Blinking.

  4. Press the right arrow key to display the available actions, Start and Stop.

  5. Select Start to begin LED blinking or Stop to end LED blinking.

Creating Global Hot Spares

A global hot spare can be used to replace a failed physical disk in any redundant array as long as the capacity of the global hot spare is equal to or larger than the coerced capacity of the failed physical disk.

You can designate the hot spare to have enclosure affinity, meaning that if there are drive failures present on a split backplane configuration, then the hot spare is first used on the backplane that it resides in.

Perform the following steps to create global hot spares.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the PD Mgmt screen.

A list of physical disks displays. The status of the each disk displays under the heading State.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk to change to a global hot spare.

  2. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  3. Press the down arrow key to highlight Make Global HS and press <Enter>.

The physical disk is changed to a global hot spare. The status of the physical disk as a global hot spare displays under the heading State.

NOTE: To replace a failed physical disk global hot spares must use the same drive technology and must be equal or greater in size.
  1. Select additional physical disks if desired and follow the previous steps to change them to global hot spares.

Removing Global or Dedicated Hot Spares

You can remove one global or dedicated hot spare at a time on the PD Mgmt screen. Perform the following steps to remove a global hot spare or dedicated hot spare.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the PD Mgmt screen.

A list of physical disks displays. The status of each disk displays under the heading State.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk that is a hot spare.

  2. Press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.

  3. Press the down arrow key to select Remove Hot Spare from the list of actions and press <Enter>.

The physical disk is changed to the Ready state. The status of the physical disk is displayed under the heading State.

NOTE: Try to use physical disks of the same capacity in a specific virtual disk. If you use physical disks with different capacities in a virtual disk, all physical disks in the virtual disk are treated as if they have the capacity of the smallest physical disk.
  1. Select additional hot spares if desired and follow step 1 to step 4 to remove them.

Replacing an Online Physical Disk

In addition to the automatic Replace Member operation, you can manually replace any physical disk that is part of a virtual disk using the Replace Member functionality. Perform the following steps to replace a physical disk:

  1. In the Virtual Disk Management window, select Virtual Disk # and press the down arrow key until Physical Disks is highlighted.

  2. Press the right arrow key to expand the list of physical disks that are members of the virtual disk.

  3. Press the down arrow key until the desired physical disk you want to replace is highlighted. Press <F2> to expand the list of allowed operations on this disk.

  4. Select Replace and then Start.

  5. Press the down arrow to highlight a replacement disk and then press the spacebar to select the disk.

  6. Select OK to start the replacement.

NOTE: The replacement disk must be a hot spare or an unconfigured disk without a foreign configuration. It must have the same or greater capacity and should be of the same type (SAS/SATA) as the disk it is replacing.

Restrictions and Limitations

The following restrictions and limitations apply to the Replace Member operation:

Stopping Background Initialization

Background initialization is the automated operation in which parity is created and written. BGI does not run on RAID 0 virtual disks. Under certain conditions, the BIOS Configuration Utility displays a message if you want to stop BGI in progress. An alert message displays if BGI is in progress and you start any of the following actions:

The following alert message displays: The virtual disk is undergoing a background initialization process. Would you like to stop the operation and proceed with the <full initialization/quick initialization/consistency check> instead?

Click Yes to stop the BGI and start the requested operation or No to allow the BGI to continue.

Performing a Manual Rebuild of an Individual Physical Disk

Use the following procedures to rebuild one failed physical disk manually.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the PD Mgmt screen.

A list of physical disks appears. The status of each disk appears under the heading State.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk that has a failed state.

  2. Press <F2> to display a menu of available actions.

The Rebuild option is highlighted at the top of the menu.

  1. Press the right arrow key to display the rebuild options and select Start.

  2. After you start the rebuild, press <Esc> to display the previous menu.

NOTE: You can also use the VD Mgmt screen to perform a manual rebuild. Use the arrow key to highlight physical disk in the tree view, and press <F2>. In the menu that displays, select the Rebuild option.
NOTICE: If a physical disk is a member of a disk group that contains multiple virtual disks and one of the virtual disks is deleted when a rebuild operation is in progress, the rebuild operation stops. If this occurs, you can resume the rebuild operation manually using a storage management application. To avoid interruption, ensure that none of the virtual disks are deleted until the rebuild is complete.

Controller Management

Enabling Boot Support

NOTE: Refer to your system documentation to ensure the proper boot order is selected in the system BIOS.

In a multiple controller environment, you can enable BIOS on multiple controllers. However, if you want to boot from a specific controller, then enable the BIOS on that controller and disable it on the other controllers. The system can then boot from the BIOS-enabled controller. Perform the following steps to enable the controller BIOS.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Enable Controller BIOS in the Settings box.

  3. Press the spacebar to select Enable Controller BIOS.

An X displays beside Enable Controller BIOS.

  1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Apply button, and then press <Enter> to apply the selection.

The controller BIOS is enabled. To disable the controller BIOS, use the spacebar to deselect the Enable Controller BIOS control, and then select Apply and press <Enter>.

After you enable the BIOS for a controller, perform the following steps to enable the boot support for that controller.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Select Bootable VD in the Settings box.

  3. Press the down arrow key to display a list of virtual disks.

  4. Use the down arrow key to highlight a virtual disk.

  5. Press <Enter> to select the virtual disk.

  6. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Apply button, and then press <Enter> to apply the selection.

Boot support is enabled for the selected controller.

Enabling BIOS Stop on Error

The option BIOS Stop on Error is used to stop the system from booting if there are BIOS errors. Perform the following steps to enable BIOS Stop on Error.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Enable BIOS Stop on Error in the Settings box.

  3. Press the spacebar to select Enable BIOS Stop on Error.

An X displays beside Enable BIOS Stop on Error.

  1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Apply button, and then press <Enter> to apply the selection.

The controller BIOS is enabled. To disable Enable BIOS Stop on Error, use the spacebar to deselect Enable BIOS Stop on Error, then select Apply and press <Enter>.

Restoring Factory Default Settings

You can use the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen to restore the default settings for the options in the Settings box. The settings are Enable Controller BIOS, Enable Alarm, and Enable BIOS Stop on Error. Perform the following steps to restore default settings.

  1. Press <Ctrl><N> to access the Ctrl Mgmt menu screen.

  2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Settings box.

  3. Use the spacebar to deselect the settings for the options in the Settings box.

  4. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Factory Default box, and press the <Alt>, <Enter>, or the spacebar.

A dialog box displays for you to confirm your choice.

  1. Select <OK> and press <Enter>.

The defaults are automatically selected for the controller settings and are displayed in Settings.


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