Server Hardware Issues

Okay, I'm late. I found some new bugs that stopped me from updating this blog. I'll get to the bugs and how I fixed them later. Today my subject is hardware issues.

I picked up my server, Toshiba Magnia 500D, awhile back off of Ubid. I had been running W2K Advanced Server for about a year without any major issues. It came with a 10 GB IDE drive and I added memory to take it up to 576 MB. The major change I wanted to make was to add a mirrored drive array(i.e. RAID 1). So I picked up a used Promise RAID card off of Ebay and two new IBM 75 GB drives off of Ubid. Both drives were dead on arrival so I sent them to IBM for replacements. I got the drives back at the beginning of December and found a convienent time to install about a week later. Since I had problems with the original drives I decided to use the drives with my existing configuration for at least a week to make sure the drives worked. I partitioned the drives using W2K. The first partition was going to be home to SBS2K and the second partition was going to contain the user data. I copied the SBS2K installation cdroms 2, 3 and 4 out to the second partition thinking I would save some time.

On December 28 I started the SBS2K installation. I booted from the first cdrom, loaded the Promise RAID driver, and tried to install to the first partition on the drive array. The first part of SBS2K is a standard Windows 200 Server installation and it refused to even format the drive array. I tried to work some magic but nothing worked. So I read the manual it said you must install the operating system on the exisiting IDE controller first. This complicated things a bit. Some of the things I found out were:

  1. You needed to delete the drive array configuration while both drives are connected to the raid controller. Otherwise when you connect the drive with the newly installed system back to the drive array, the drive array will try restore the array and write over your newly installed system.
  2. You must connect something to the IDE controller or you will not boot.
  3. Windows 2000  will correctly rebuild the HCL when you move the drive from the IDE to the RAID controller if you remembered to install the driver before you moved the drive.
  4. Windows 2000 server installation can re-partition and format the drive when it is on the IDE even if it does not like the existing drive info.

So the final procedure I used was:

  1. Set Bios to boot from cdrom. Delete existing drive array. Move drive 1 from the RAID array to the IDE controller. Partition and format the drive. Install Windows 2000 Server and set Bios to boot from C drive.
  2. Install missing drivers for the modem and Promise controller.
  3. Move drive 1 back to the RAID controller and reconnect the original IDE drive. Set bios to boot from SCSI. Let the RAID software synchronize the contents of drive 1 to drive 2. Come back in an hour.
  4. Let Windows 2000 boot and rebuild the HCL. Create F drive(i.e. user data) and format. Come back in an hour.
  5. Copy to contents of installation cd 2, 3, and 4 to an installation folder on the F drive.
  6. Continue with the SBS2K installation. Customize the installation to install SQL server, Messenger server, and to use the F drive for shared user and company folders.

Tommorrow I will talk about customizing and debugging SBS2K and the clients.