Wednesday 14 May 2008

SR1530AH + PCI-E Riser = SRCSASRB RAID Capable

In the current SR1530HSH/SH line of 1U uniprocessor server systems we no longer need to deal with a standard and LX version of the product.

The 1U SR1530HSH/SH server systems come in 2 SKUs and both have the same motherboard (MB):
  • SR1530SH: With fixed hard drives
  • SR1530HSH with 3 Hot Swap Drive Bays
The cost differential between the fixed hard drive and hot swap hard drive models is relatively small in comparison to the previous generation's steps:
  • SR1530AH: Base model with S3000AH MB and fixed drives
  • SR1530AHLX: Base model with S3000AHLX MB and fixed drives
  • SR1530HAHLX: Premium model with S3000AHLX MB and 3 hot swap drives
The cost differential between the base AH model and the hot swap AHLX model was quite a bit steeper than the current SH models.

So, in some cases we have configured the SR1530AH model with the add-in PCI-E PCB and subsequently an SRCSASRB Intel RAID controller for better drive performance without the need for the LX or hot swap features.

There is a proper sequence for installing and updating the RAID controller's firmware:
  1. Install the Intel RAID controller into the PCI-E Riser card.
  2. Install the riser into the 1U server.
  3. Boot the server and connect to the RAID controller BIOS.
  4. Setup the RAID array(s).
  5. Reboot.
  6. Download the newest SRCSASRB firmware.
  7. Boot to a bootable USB flash drive.
  8. Update the firmware.
  9. Reboot and check into the SRCSASRB settings.
  10. Download the newest S3000AH BIOS.
  11. Boot to a bootable USB flash drive.
  12. Update the BIOS
  13. Reboot and verify the SRCSASRB shows up in the BIOS' hard drive boot order.
  14. Boot into the Windows Server 2008 setup.
  15. Install the SRCSASRB drivers and go from there.
On our first build we updated the SRCSASRB firmware without touching the S3000AH BIOS. In this case, the motherboard revision was a couple of steps back.

After the firmware update and subsequent boot into the Windows Server 2008 setup we kept getting an error message indicating that there was no controller associated with the hard disks listed. The error is identical to the one experienced in a previous Windows Vista setup problem.

In this case though, we rebooted back into the BIOS and sure enough the RAID controller was not listed as one of the boot device options.

Once we updated the board's BIOS we were good to go ... the SRCSASRB showed up in the BIOS as a bootable device and Windows Server 2008 was happy to be installed on the configured array.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

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