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641 Raid Controller on ML370 Boot issues

Occasional Contributor

641 Raid Controller on ML370 Boot issues

I discovered an interesting issue.

I have a ML-370 with a 641 Raid controller and is setup as follows.

2 arrays both are Raid 1+0

The C drive (array A)is comprized of 2 18.4Gb 10k hotswap drives. This drive System Software/OS (Win 2003 or 2000)

Drive E (Array B) is comprized of 2 36.4Gb 10k drives. Contains user profiles, data and installed programs.

We found this configuration to be an ideal configuration for many of our clients, until recently.

There is a scenario in which the system will no longer boot and it really bothers us and it seems on the surface to be a firmware issue on the 641 controller.

Recently we had a need to boot the backed up/mirrored drives on another system (identical configuration ML 370). Much to our suprize it did not boot.

We took one drive from each mirror C and E; inserted them into the test system. The 641 found the arrays and asked the F1 to fail or F2 for interim recovery. It only asked this question once. The system continued to boot. Upon booting Windows I get a BSOD (Blue Screen) "Bootable device not accessable"

After much trial an error I found this little bit of info.

IF you use 1 drive from each mirrored array, you will get the F1/F2 message only for the first array in error. The controller then automaticly fails the second one which is what causes our bluescreen.

If we use a complete mirror set on either array and minus one on the other then normal boot up happens just fine.

Our procedures with our customers is: IF we make changes or weekly we will swap a mirror to have a complete backup of the system. This way we supposedly have a complete copy of the systems off site.

Now with this issue we will need to buy more drives to take a complete mirror. Which is a pain because you must shutdown the systems to make this happen. Other than buying one large drive to merge the 2 arrays into 1 is there any workarounds?

Why does the 641 fail the second array when hitting F2? This is NOT the way mirroring should work. Note: This is not an issue on single array configurations.
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: 641 Raid Controller on ML370 Boot issues

you are trying to abuse the controllers. It has nothing to do with how mirroring works. You are trying to do drive roaming with reduced arrays and the SmartArray controllers are not designed to do that. You have just been lucky if it worked for you in single array configurations.