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Maintaining baseline mirrored disk

Ayman Altounji
Valued Contributor

Maintaining baseline mirrored disk

Hello, I have three Compaq 5500 servers, each equipped with a 3200 controller and two mirrored 9.1 disks that I use for testing software. At any time, I need to be able to go back to a fresh install of NT 4.0, Sp6a, Option Pack, MS Office, etc. on each server but I don't want to have to reinstall everything.

Currently, I have been experimenting with using a baseline master pair of mirrored disks that have all of the S/W listed above. To get a server back to baseline, I put in a freshly erased disk plus one of the master disks and rebuild the mirror. Once this is complete, I power down again, remove the master and boot up with a second blank disk. Once the system is up and mirrored, I change the IP, and run a utility called NEWSID.EXE that changes the SID on NT 4.0 and then ultimately connect to the domain.

This seems to work fairly well but I have still serveral outstanding issues/questions:

a) If I run the system erase utility from Smartstart (without any disks in the cage), how can I power up after with existing disks that have data on them and get the controller card talking to them? (I had to run system erase to clear some disks and go from RAID 5 to RAID 0+1). It seems that when I start configuring the blank controller, it wants to start writing information to the disks and makes the master disks forget that they already have an OS. It has been very hit and miss to get the system going.

b) On at least one of the three servers, I cannot boot up smartstart properly. I have tried several copies of the CD, but sometimes it fails reading the CD and now it doesn't even seem to try booting from the CD. As far as I can tell, if you clear the NVRAM/Controller etc., and then manually configure it without doing a full install, it isn't so happy.

Although the systems boot up and NT is okay, I don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling that I have done this correctly especially with the odd behaviour that it is exhibiting. I really don't want to revert back to doing full installs but the system certainly doesn't seem quite stable. If anyone has a system of accomplishing this, I would love to hear it.

Ayman Altounji
Valued Contributor

Re: Maintaining baseline mirrored disk

The Array Configuration is stored on the hard drives themselves. When the array controller POSTs, it looks for the configuration that is stored on the drives. If found, then it loads it into the controllers memory. If it doesn't find a configuration, it reports "array controller not configured".

System erase does clear the controllers configuration that is in memory. You should be able to take your master hard drives and connect them to an array controller that has been cleared. Upon reboot, the controller would then read the configuration from the drives and store it into memory.

As for the server that is having CD problems. There is a diagnostic on the SmartStart CD that will test out the CD-ROM hardware. If you think that the CD-ROM needs replaced, you may have to give us a call (1-800-OK-COMPAQ).

Have a nice day,