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How can I turn off RAID? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm installing WHS on an old Dell XPS that has a Promise RAID controller for the two SATA drives. I've read all the information about why RAID is a bad idea for WHS, and I'm convinced. However, the Promise BIOS doesn't seem to offer a way to not use RAID; it just offers a choice of RAID 0 or RAID 1. I've seen references to JBOD ("just a bunch of disks"), which sounds like what I want. How do I get this to happen?
    Wednesday, November 14, 2007 4:44 PM

Answers

  • Here's an update for the benefit of anyone similarly situated:
    I removed the RAID card, and plugged the old SATA drive that had been connected to it directly into the motherboard. It booted up with no problem. I did have to make a change to the BIOS setup (F2 during pre-boot), under Drive Configuartion, changing the setting from OFF to AUTO.

    I like this outcome: one less component to fail later!
    Thursday, November 15, 2007 2:16 PM

All replies

  • Tangible,

    JBOD, isn't what you want, the usual interpretation of which, means lumping all those disparate disks into one.

    What you need, is for separate connectors for each drive. Does the Dell have any SATA connections available, as these would be ideal, or is the Promise the built-in?

    If it is, possibly an add-in PCI card with SATA ports might do, however you would have to ensure that the Dell would be able to boot from one of those drives.

    What is the particular model, someone might have details for using it.

     

    Colin 

     

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007 5:55 PM
  • Thanks, Colin. I haven't yet cracked the case open, but I believe the RAID controller is on a PCI card. I don't know if there are other SATA connectors on the motherboard, but I do recall that RAID was an optional add-on, so maybe all I need to do is pull that card and plug the disks into something on the motherboard. That would be nice!

    There is no model number other than XPS. This was the first of the series, before they started appending numbers to them. (I did try to talk to Dell, but they were no help at all.)


    Wednesday, November 14, 2007 6:01 PM
  • Worst case, you will need to define two single disk arrays. Probably those will be JBOD arrays. But check the RAID HBA's manual first to see if there's a setting that allows the drives to be individually exposed from a single array (sometimes JBOD does that, but not always). Best is to expose the drives directly, without any array...

    What you probably lose with any kind of array (even single disk JBOD) is SMART monitoring; RAID controllers won't usually pass that information through to the OS.
    Wednesday, November 14, 2007 10:09 PM
    Moderator
  • The good news: I opened the case and found two SATA sockets on the motherboard. Hopefully this means I can just discard the RAID controller completely.

    The bad news: I opened the carton from Amazon supposedly containing my 2 new 500GB SATA drives and instead found they had sent two IDE drives, a 200GB and a 400GB. Must have been party night at the Amazon warehouse.

    I've ordered new drives (from Newegg, not from Amazon!), so I will check back on Friday(?) when they arrive.

    Thanks for the responses.
    Wednesday, November 14, 2007 11:48 PM
  • Here's an update for the benefit of anyone similarly situated:
    I removed the RAID card, and plugged the old SATA drive that had been connected to it directly into the motherboard. It booted up with no problem. I did have to make a change to the BIOS setup (F2 during pre-boot), under Drive Configuartion, changing the setting from OFF to AUTO.

    I like this outcome: one less component to fail later!
    Thursday, November 15, 2007 2:16 PM
  • Sounds good. I run a Dell Server which originally had a SAS backplane to the drives. It also just exposed standard SATA connectors when it was removed.

    You just need to ensure you use the boot drive as your first. However, if your adding new disks, that won't matter.

     

    Amazon seem to be loosing the plot at times, they're more interested in gathering information and selling you what other people have bought!

     

    Good luck with the build.

     

    Colin

    Thursday, November 15, 2007 5:38 PM
  • That sounds great,

     

    I have an old DELL 8300 Precision with a similar setup.  Now and again one of the drives makes a random sort of clanging noise and the box freezes.  The original plan was to just replace the two drives (no idea how to detect which is the faulty drive as a chkdisk show’s no errors – any ideas?) but I think I’ll remove the RAID as I don’t really need it (I’m giving the PC to my dad).

     

    I’ll post the results as well.

     

    Cheers

     

    Steve
    Monday, December 17, 2007 1:14 PM
  • Steve,

    chkdsk might not show all errors. If you know the make of hard drive, you could download their own disk checking utility, or a SMART monitor and use that to check. It will usually also give you the serial number of the drive, so you can identify it.

     

    Colin

     

    Monday, December 17, 2007 5:37 PM