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General Q's about PCI-->SATA cards and Drive Extender RRS feed

  • Question

  •  

    I want to add a PCI card to expand my WHS with a couple more hard drives (all 4 SATA parts and 2 IDE drives are already installed) but I'm wondering about a couple of things.

     

    1)What happens if the PCI card dies? I'd imagine the scenario would look like this:

     

    Server sends a "network critical" message, saying that hard drives are missing (since the PCI card isn't being seen anymore).

     

    If I turn the server off, then install an identical PCI-->SATA card to replace it, will the server simply know that these 2 drives were part of the pool and carry on without a hiccup? I'd think that the answer here is "Yes" but I'd like some confirmation. 

     

    2)What happens if I can't get an identical card? If it's a different card with the same harddrives connected, will WHS still be able to identify the drives as being part of the pool and carry on or will I have to manually re-transfer the files back to the pool then re-add those hard drives?

     

    I suppose that this relates to question 3. How does DE identify the drives in the pool? Let's say right now I unplug 2 of my SATA drives and plug them into different ports on the motherboard. Will WHS not care or will it say that there are 2 mising drives and 2 new drives?

     

    Thanks.

    Monday, August 25, 2008 5:42 PM

Answers

  • Hello,

    1) yes, the chances are good that the pool remains intact, since WHS buries the disk IDs somewhere as reference. Otherwise you also would not be able to handle USB drives well.

     

    2) With some luck -yes. Different outcomes I did only see with SCSI disks several years ago, as each controller brand had some different method to address the disks.

     

    3) DE relies on the volume ID. This makes it so hard to clone the system disk.

    Best greetings from Germany

    Olaf

    Monday, August 25, 2008 7:58 PM
    Moderator
  • The server places an identifier on each disk it controls, and records that identifier in the server's registry. So if you move a drive from one SATA connector to another, or one SATA card to another, you should have no problem. Going from a SATA connection to an eSATA connection should also be no problem. Mounting a drive in an external USB enclosure seems to have caused problems for a small number of users; I haven't been able to recreate their issues so I don't know why. Even there, if one doesn't panic recovery of all the data isn't difficult or expensive, just tedious.

    Monday, August 25, 2008 8:26 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    After reading your original post, I've just done an experiment with two different brands of SATA cards on a test WHS.

    The end result was completely transparent, the server didn't even blink, it just accepted the new card and carried on.

     

    Colin

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:10 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hello,

    1) yes, the chances are good that the pool remains intact, since WHS buries the disk IDs somewhere as reference. Otherwise you also would not be able to handle USB drives well.

     

    2) With some luck -yes. Different outcomes I did only see with SCSI disks several years ago, as each controller brand had some different method to address the disks.

     

    3) DE relies on the volume ID. This makes it so hard to clone the system disk.

    Best greetings from Germany

    Olaf

    Monday, August 25, 2008 7:58 PM
    Moderator
  • The server places an identifier on each disk it controls, and records that identifier in the server's registry. So if you move a drive from one SATA connector to another, or one SATA card to another, you should have no problem. Going from a SATA connection to an eSATA connection should also be no problem. Mounting a drive in an external USB enclosure seems to have caused problems for a small number of users; I haven't been able to recreate their issues so I don't know why. Even there, if one doesn't panic recovery of all the data isn't difficult or expensive, just tedious.

    Monday, August 25, 2008 8:26 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks alot for the information guys, that's exactly what I was looking for. I was worried it would be like RAID where if the controller card dies you must replace with the same type or the array is lost. Good to know that WHS doesn't have that problem.

     

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 3:17 PM
  • Hi,

    After reading your original post, I've just done an experiment with two different brands of SATA cards on a test WHS.

    The end result was completely transparent, the server didn't even blink, it just accepted the new card and carried on.

     

    Colin

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:10 PM
    Moderator
  •  

    Thanks for doing some experimentation Colin. Knowing that it works in theory is great, knowing that it works in actuality is even better. Smile
    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 7:05 PM