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Geek4414
21-03-2017, 03:31 PM
I'm experimenting with replacing the two HDDs in a RAID1 array on a Proliant ML110 G6 server, to give it some performance boost for large database applications. This is a stop gap measure till the system is shifted to the cloud.

There are 2x 250GB SATA HDDs connected to the RAID controller as RAID1, I'm hoping to replace them with 2 x 250GB SSDs (or larger)

Initially tried cloning the 1st drive using a cloning dock (disk to disk clone) but that didn't seem to work, the drive appears to be blank after the clone was done successfully. I guess that's because it's part of the RAID1 array and does not have normal partitions on the drive?

Next tried CloneZilla with the SSD connected via SATA and the RAID1 array in place, that appears to have cloned the data successfully and it did it very fast, around 35 to 40 minutes with 160GB of data on the drive. However, it wouldn't boot off the SSD, initially it did a 'repair' and created a new entry in the boot menu for Windows Server 2008 R2 (recovered), selected that and it booted up but latterly I realised it actually booted off the RAID1 array, as the HDD is shown as C and the SSD shown as D after it booted.

If I select the first entry from the Boot menu Windows Server 2008 R2, it crashed immediately (didn't copy down the message last night), if I choose the 2nd option of Windows Server 2008 R2 (recovered), it will proceed to boot and a mouse pointer will appear briefly and then it will just reboot.

Tried that on one of my PC off site and the same, the message from booting from the 2nd entry is (see attached pix)

Status: 0xc000000e
Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible

7953

I gather it is looking for some hardware (probably the RAID controller) that was in the ML110 and not on this PC I am testing it on.

I thought it was something to do with the boot record and tried the bootrec /fixmbr and /rebuildbcd but then thinking about it, it actually booted into the boot manager and proceeded to boot, so it's more likely to do with hardware/driver configuration in the cloned drive? Tried Safe mode on both boot options and the PC just reboot part way through booting up.

Any ideas of how to proceed from here or other cloning options?

Speedy Gonzales
21-03-2017, 04:44 PM
Might be similar to this (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2261423/error-message-when-you-restart-windows-server-2008-r2-after-you-perform-a-full-os-recovery-windows-failed-to-start.-status-0xc000000e)

Geek4414
21-03-2017, 05:52 PM
Might be similar to this (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2261423/error-message-when-you-restart-windows-server-2008-r2-after-you-perform-a-full-os-recovery-windows-failed-to-start.-status-0xc000000e)

Speedy, thanks for that. I will try it out shortly. Just writing another copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 ISO to a bootable USB now. For some unknown reason, it wouldn't boot from the USB ISO any more, did work perfectly fine earlier today. >_<
Will report back afterwards.

Geek4414
21-03-2017, 11:15 PM
Speedy, thanks for that. I will try it out shortly. Just writing another copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 ISO to a bootable USB now. For some unknown reason, it wouldn't boot from the USB ISO any more, did work perfectly fine earlier today. >_<
Will report back afterwards.

Unfortunately, that didn't help. I booted off the USB with W2008R2 and tried the bcdedit, but it came up with error

The boot configuration data store could not be opened.
The volume for a file has been externally altered so that the opened file is no
longer valid.

So tried bootrec /scanos followed by /fixmbr and /fixboot and /rebuildbcd which all completed fine ...

7956

Then this time bcdedit came up ok

7957

And completed the steps from that page ...

7958

Rebooted PC and tried again, the same two entries came up in the boot manager with exactly same results as before.

I might have to try a different cloning software like Active Disk Image and see I have better luck with that.

dugimodo
21-03-2017, 11:26 PM
To clone a RAID array wouldn't you need to create a new one first and use it as a destination? not something I've tried personally just a guess.

Is starting over not an option? because it seems like cloning is taking a lot of time and effort.

CliveM
22-03-2017, 06:51 AM
I'm no expert but I know that with my Raid 1 NAS I can just replace a drive with a new one then fire it up and it rebuilds the system.

I can also make an image of a drive with Active @ and put it on a new one with no problems.

KarameaDave
22-03-2017, 08:16 AM
Several methods mentioned here.
https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/583390-clone-raid-1-os

One is similar to CliveMs suggestion, take out one HDD, replace with SSD, allow system to rebuild, then do the same with the other.

berryb
22-03-2017, 09:29 AM
As KarameaDave said "take out one HDD, replace with SSD, allow system to rebuild, then do the same with the other."

This the purpose of and what Raid is designed to do.

Geek4414
22-03-2017, 10:55 AM
... Is starting over not an option? because it seems like cloning is taking a lot of time and effort.

The DB server need to be activated with the new install and it can only be done during business hours, I can't do all this during business hours as they will have to shut up shop for half a day at least. Also the idea is do this with minimal cost and interruption. If we are to reinstall from scratch, then we may as well upgrade the whole server instead, which was also considered, although at a way higher cost.



As KarameaDave said "take out one HDD, replace with SSD, allow system to rebuild, then do the same with the other."

This the purpose of and what Raid is designed to do.

I've always thought you have to put in an identical drive, but apparently not, only need to be bigger drive.

I am only experimenting at this stage, as HPE does not officially support SSD in this old server, although they acknowledged that it's technically possible. I don't want to order the SSD drives until I tested it first, hence going down the cloning route.

I was hoping to clone to the SSD, then just boot off the SSD connected to SATA with the RAID1 array disconnected completely. If it works, then I will order the pair of SSDs, clone to the first drive, and let it rebuild the second drive. This way, I can leave the original pair of RAID1 HDD completely untouched in case anything goes wrong, I can simply plug them back in. My other concern with simply replacing the 2nd drive with SSD is that, I still can't tell if it would boot off the rebuilt drive and don't know how long the rebuild would take. I am not sure if playing around with the RAID setting to rebuild the array would mean I may not be able to plug the original pair of HDD back in without fiddling?

Just trying to play safe here :)

1101
22-03-2017, 11:25 AM
make image (save image to USB HD),
remove old drives
install new drives, setup/initialise raid
clone to new 'drive' from image .

This assumes its not some sort of software raid , or semi-software raid

Geek4414
22-03-2017, 12:15 PM
make image (save image to USB HD),
remove old drives
install new drives, setup/initialise raid
clone to new 'drive' from image .

This assumes its not some sort of software raid , or semi-software raid

It is a hardware RAID controller, the problem with cloning to image and back to new SSD is that I still can't guarantee that it will boot which is the problem I am having with the current clone. All the data are there but it just wouldn't boot properly. If I can't get it to work, I won't be ordering the new drives. I cloned to a 256GB SSD I have on hand, the clone appears all successful and the data is there and the boot manager booted up, just that it crash when trying to start the OS.


When it did boot up with the RAID1 array connected (HDD showed as C: and SSD as D:), I did a quick benchmark, the speed difference is definitely worth it, the Seq test was 70 to 80MB/s with HDD and 215/193 with SSD. The 4K test which I interrupted as it took too long, was in 0.4 or something like that and the SSD was 42.2MB/s!

1101
22-03-2017, 01:04 PM
On a ML110 I setup a few years back, the Raid controller was so buggy I had to remove it & use software raid . This was new out of the box !
Could just be a buggy raid card ?

Just FYI , dont do a firmware update on the raid card unless you are still able to get Bios/firmware updates for the server itself.
found out that out the hard way :-)
That might be an option though, upgrade the ML110 firmware (first), then the raid controller firmware , you may need to have current warranty or carepack to get
firmware though

Geek4414
22-03-2017, 02:07 PM
On a ML110 I setup a few years back, the Raid controller was so buggy I had to remove it & use software raid . This was new out of the box !
Could just be a buggy raid card ?

Just FYI , dont do a firmware update on the raid card unless you are still able to get Bios/firmware updates for the server itself.
found out that out the hard way :-)
That might be an option though, upgrade the ML110 firmware (first), then the raid controller firmware , you may need to have current warranty or carepack to get
firmware though

Thanks for the tip, will have a go again cloning with Active Image this evening. I shall look into upgrading the firmware of the server first as well before I do anything else. We don't have CarePack for it, its probably around 8+ years old. Trying to minimise spending too much on it, as the system may go to the cloud in the not too distant future, hence I don't want to go the full hog and upgrade the whole server.

wratterus
22-03-2017, 03:38 PM
I know this isn't much help, but from my experience, it should 'just work', barring some sort of hardware incompatibility (which isn't out of the question). It sounds to me more like the cloning software is stuffing up the bootloader. I haven't read right through the thread, but just confirming the drive you are cloning to has the same setup as the current drives (either MBR or GPT). You could also put the OS in safe boot/minimal mode before cloning, and see if it will then boot from a SATA port that is not part of that RAID card.

I've found it's often easier to clone the RAID to a single drive outside of any RAID, then setup your new RAID from scratch with the new drives, then clone back to the RAID you've just created. The other benefit there is you can muck around with that clone as much as you want, and if it all gets ballsed up, no issues as you still have the original.

That's all probably been covered, but thought it would be worth posting quickly just in case. Good luck.

Geek4414
22-03-2017, 06:04 PM
I know this isn't much help, but from my experience, it should 'just work', barring some sort of hardware incompatibility (which isn't out of the question). It sounds to me more like the cloning software is stuffing up the bootloader. I haven't read right through the thread, but just confirming the drive you are cloning to has the same setup as the current drives (either MBR or GPT). You could also put the OS in safe boot/minimal mode before cloning, and see if it will then boot from a SATA port that is not part of that RAID card.

I've found it's often easier to clone the RAID to a single drive outside of any RAID, then setup your new RAID from scratch with the new drives, then clone back to the RAID you've just created. The other benefit there is you can muck around with that clone as much as you want, and if it all gets ballsed up, no issues as you still have the original.

That's all probably been covered, but thought it would be worth posting quickly just in case. Good luck.

The SSD is connected to SATA (stole the connection from the DVD drive, as I didn't bring a SATA cable with me, duh) separate from the RAID controller. The RAID controller has different kind of connectors with a combined power/data in one plug with two little red wires going back to the controller, similar to the connector in this picture ... 7961

CloneZilla was running off a bootable USB, so the OS isn't running at all. The only thing I am thinking may be that the OS was loading some sort of RAID specific driver and the SSD isn't running through the RAID controller (but it's still in the server) and it goes nuts. The SSD was overwritten completely when I initially did the clone using a cloning dock, and it appear to be totally empty, no visible partition of any sort! So I figure the second cloning using Clonezilla would not have been affected by whatever MBR/GPT that might have existed on the drive?

I even tried the cloned SSD on my own PC, changed the SATA port between default and ACHI but made no difference.

The instructions I saw regarding cloning with CloneZilla suggested that we "may" need to use Bootrec to fix the boot records. That's another can of worm trying to locate Bootrec, the WINPE ISO I used didn't have a compatible version of bootrec, at the end extracted it off the Windows Server 2008 R2 DVD and copied it to the WinPE boot USB, but that did not make any difference anyway.

I then tried bcdedit that was suggested, so I downloaded the WSvr2008R2 ISO and wrote that to USB using Rufus. Bcdedit only worked after I first do the bootrec fix, but didn't make any difference either. The weird thing is the WSvr2008R2 boot USB appear to get corrupted after booting it, have had to rewrite it each time after I used it. >_<



The other benefit there is you can muck around with that clone as much as you want, and if it all gets ballsed up, no issues as you still have the original.

That's exactly what I am doing, to keep the original RAID array untouched, so I can fall back to them if need be.

Geek4414
22-03-2017, 10:15 PM
Update ... cloning with Active Image boot USB worked, and only took 28 minutes.

It did scandisk upon booting off the cloned SSD (with the RAID drives disconnected), rebooted then I logged in and all working fine. Conclusion is that not all cloning software are created the same. The Active Boot Disk Demo ISO has loads of goodies on it too, including a full File Explorer that looks identical to the normal Windows File Explorer.

Interesting thing is that the benchmark I did has changed dramatically

When booted off the RAID1 HDD,


HDD Seq 82.9/72.97 4K 0/0.32
SSD Seq 262.45/244.76 4K 20.86/63.17


7964
7962


Now that I have booted off the SSD


SSD Seq 244.33/39.89 4K 19.38/1.68


7963

That's a HUGE difference, I guess the boot drive is constantly busy with running the OS? It is still way faster on the read operation but the write is worse than the HDD with Seq test, in 4K test, it is still 5x faster than the HDD.

Now this test SSD is about 4 years+ old, so hopefully, a new one would be way faster than this. I had a quick look at Server graded SSD, but no one seems to have any in stock. Would a Samsung Pro be good enough? Or does anyone have any suggestions?

I guess learning from this exercise, that if I move the DataBase to another SSD, separate from the OS boot drive, it could have a 6 fold speed increase for Seq write operations.

berryb
22-03-2017, 10:17 PM
Raid 1 in the server and it is on a dedicated Raid card? Asking maybe a silly question here but are you sure the Raid controller has SATA drives and not SAS drives?

You cannot expect a cloned drive from the server on a dedicated Raid controller card to work or boot on a standard SATA port. Slaved you should see the data but don't expect it to boot.

An older HPE server might not support SSD and you will not know until you plug one in.

If it was me boot the server to boot media, clone the drive to 2 sata drives (2 just to play safe), shutdown server, remove one old drive and install 3rd new sata drive and start server. On boot enter the Raid controller and check Raid state. If drive detected and rebuild. Leave for a few days checking Raid log for issue and monitor server performance. If working OK shutdown server, change second drive with new one and start drive detected and rebuilding as per the first drive.

If it turns to custard it will on the first drive and worst case is format the 2 old drives and clone back the original image.

berryb
22-03-2017, 10:26 PM
From how I read this you have booted the server with a cloned image on a SSD on a standard SATA port. Now that you have it booting you need to try and boot the SSD off the Raid controller as you still may find it fails. I don't like this approach though as it could change the Raid configuration.

From here I would buy the SSD drives and hope they work by changing as per my other post.

Geek4414
22-03-2017, 11:20 PM
Raid 1 in the server and it is on a dedicated Raid card? Asking maybe a silly question here but are you sure the Raid controller has SATA drives and not SAS drives?

You cannot expect a cloned drive from the server on a dedicated Raid controller card to work or boot on a standard SATA port. Slaved you should see the data but don't expect it to boot.

An older HPE server might not support SSD and you will not know until you plug one in.

If it was me boot the server to boot media, clone the drive to 2 sata drives (2 just to play safe), shutdown server, remove one old drive and install 3rd new sata drive and start server. On boot enter the Raid controller and check Raid state. If drive detected and rebuild. Leave for a few days checking Raid log for issue and monitor server performance. If working OK shutdown server, change second drive with new one and start drive detected and rebuilding as per the first drive.

If it turns to custard it will on the first drive and worst case is format the 2 old drives and clone back the original image.

Yes, its a dedicated RAID controller with SATA drives, supplied by HP distie. As mention, they have different combo connectors with both power & data in same plug that plugs into SATA drives. They are defintely Sata drives, its on the drive label, although its showing as Logical Scsi in the bench mark drive selection above.

Tried to upload a photo but the mobile browser on my phone (walking my dog at the mo) not letting me, just pop up new login window, going in circles.

So given that the current HDD is Sata, I think it should work if I drop the cloned SSD in place of the HDD. But may be I will play safe, create a new Raid1 array with the two blank SSDs, then clone the image on it?

dugimodo
23-03-2017, 12:09 AM
Also check the partition alignment of the SSD, sometimes cloning mucks it up and it hurts performance quite a bit.
Happened to me when I cloned windows, managed to fix it but that was ages ago and I forget what tools worked in the end.
See if this is helpful http://lifehacker.com/5837769/make-sure-your-partitions-are-correctly-aligned-for-optimal-solid-state-drive-performance

1101
23-03-2017, 09:16 AM
Conclusion is that not all cloning software are created the same. The Active Boot Disk Demo ISO ......

Absolutely
I usually use Active@ Live CD, or WD/Acronus
I get the occasional laptop that I need to try 4,5 different cloning programs to find one that worked

The RAID controller could be(will be?) writing the RAID info onto the actual drives, that could be screwing things up after cloning ?

Geek4414
24-03-2017, 11:28 AM
Also check the partition alignment of the SSD, sometimes cloning mucks it up and it hurts performance quite a bit.
Happened to me when I cloned windows, managed to fix it but that was ages ago and I forget what tools worked in the end.
See if this is helpful http://lifehacker.com/5837769/make-sure-your-partitions-are-correctly-aligned-for-optimal-solid-state-drive-performance

Thanks dugimodo, will have a look into that. I will image the current cloned drive to an image file first before mucking around with the drive alignment. Have ordered couple of Samsung 850 Pro but they have not arrived yet, hope they will turn up later today, so I can get on with it this weekend.

By the way, the forum thread below is very informative!

Consumer (or prosumer) SSD's vs. fast HDD in a server environment ... http://serverfault.com/questions/707228/consumer-or-prosumer-ssds-vs-fast-hdd-in-a-server-environment

Some useful bits ...

Keep your disk's private cache enabled. Some RAID card will forcibidy disable the disk's private cache.
This kill performance for consumer-level SSD, as they make heavy use of private DRAM cache both to
cache their indirection table and to mask the heavy latency involved into erasing/programming MLC NAND.
For example, an otherwise very fast Crucial M550 240GB drive write at incredibly slow rate of 5 MB/S when
its internal cache is disabled.

---

The performance inconsistency of consumer SSDs can cause problems with some raid controllers, the spikes in
I/O latency are exacerbated when using a raid controller as it often will not be using TRIM (I don't know of any
controller that does). Enterprise drives are designed around consistent performance even without TRIM so they
typically play well with RAID controllers.


---

If you're looking at endurance, a modern, high end, consumer SSD (like the samsung 850 pro) have pretty decent
endurance. The 850 pro's rated for 150-300 tb of writes (compared to 73 tb for the older model, and 7300 to 14600 tb
for the newer models).


---

Also kind of confirmed that the 850Pro is probably a good enough choice in absence of server graded SSDs

The 850Pro looks good in this benchmark too and it comes with 10 years warranty ...

http://ssd.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Samsung-850-Pro-256GB-vs-Adata-Premier-Pro-SP920-256GB/2385vs3454

Geek4414
24-03-2017, 11:33 AM
Absolutely
I usually use Active@ Live CD, or WD/Acronus
I get the occasional laptop that I need to try 4,5 different cloning programs to find one that worked

The RAID controller could be(will be?) writing the RAID info onto the actual drives, that could be screwing things up after cloning ?

Yes, I have used many different disk imaging programs in the past, starting with Ghost in the DOS days. One of the forum post I read recommended CloneZilla for this type of scenario, that's why I went with that to start with, unfortunately that turn out to waste couple of days of my time. Never mind, chalk it up to learning, in the process of doing this, I have learnt a ton of new info! And also discovered the very useful Active Boot Disk, save mucking around creating WinPE boot images which seems to have compatibility issues with certain commands depending on which version of WinPE was used.

Geek4414
02-04-2017, 11:42 PM
Update ... Cloning to the Samsung 850Pro went all smoothly.

First cloned the RAID1 array to my spare SSD, disconnected both HDD, created new RAID0+1 array and cloned from the spare SSD back onto the array. All went smoothly and it did a scandisk upon rebooting and after another reboot it booted back into Windows Server 2008R2 successfully. The pair of 850Pro is way faster than the HDDs, and even much faster than the 830PM SSD I used for testing.

Speed test results ...

7987

The read speed is 531% higher than the HDD and 165% faster than the 830PM.

In the process of researching this, I've also found that Samsung SSD has a Rapid Mode which increase the speed even further but unfortunately does not work on the RAID array in this case.

I applied Rapid mode to my own 850Pro on my Desktop PC and the speed increase is huge

7988 7989

Samsung Magician is only available for NTFS system, and read the limitation before installing it.
Download it here ... http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/tools.html