Part I: Preparing the disks
The following preparation steps can be done after registering the disks in the Web UI. However, it is more logical to do these preparation steps prior to registering the disks.
Purely for additional safety reason, the following are required:
- all disks intended to be used as data disks must have an existing volume on them
- all disks intended to be used as parity disks must contain no volume (delete any volume they might contain)
Put another way, the UI makes it a requirement that DRUs must have existing data and PPUs not.
The rules is:
- Each DRU must have a volume (must contain existing data)
- Each PPU must not have a volume (must not contain existing data) as PPUs will be overridden with parity data
Note that an empty disk volume counts as existing data. Basically, DRUs must not be RAW unformatted drives, but PPUs must be RAW unformatted drives.
This is purely a UI requirement as the Transparent RAID system imposes no such restrictions. The idea here is to help avoid the case where a user accidentally assigns a data disk as parity disk and ends up having that data disk with its existing data overridden with parity data.
The UI will not allow you to assign a disk without a volume as Data Risk Unit (DRU) disk. Similarly, the UI will not allow you to assign a disk with a volume as Parity Protection Unit (PPU) disk.
1. Ensure that all disks in the host system have been initialized. You can do that through the Windows Disk Management snap-in.
Open the Disk Management snap-in by right-clicking on “Computer” and selecting “Manage”.
Then click on “Disk Management”.
2. Windows will automatically prompt you for disk initialization as you open the snap-in if there are uninitialized disks.
Disks larger than 2TB should be initialized as GPT as MBR only supports disks up to 2TB.
3. Format and create a volume on all disks to be used as data disks if not already formatted with a volume.
4. Leave all disks to be used as parity disks initialized and non-formatted. Delete all volumes on those disks if any.
Part II: Registering the disks in the Web UI
Tip: If your system requires advanced SMART configuration (http://wiki.flexraid.com/2012/03/20/advanced-smart-configurations/), doing so prior to registering disks will allow you to view the serial numbers of your disks in case that’s useful to you. This is not a requirement but just a nice to have.
Before a disk can be used as part of a Transparent RAID array, it must first be registered with the UI for management purposes.
Disks must be registered as pass-through for Transparent RAID!
The UI will present you with other registration options, but do note that Transparent RAID only supports pass-through disks.
The other disk registration options will be explained in the relevant sections when they become applicable.
There are two ways to register disks for Transparent RAID:
- Individual disk registration (which we will quickly describe below)
- Bulk disk registration (which we will use for the remainder of this tutorial)
Individual disk registration
To register an individual disk, right-click on the physical disk, and choose to register the disk as Pass-through.
A pop-up is then presented for you to enter a label for the disk.
Tip: Always enter a meaningful display name that let’s you easily identify the physical disk within your system.
Bulk disk registration
1. To bring up the bulk registration panel, right-click on the “Registered Disks and Volumes” section and choose “Bulk Registration”.
2. As previously, mentioned, all disks intended to be used in a Transparent RAID array, must be registered as pass-through. So, in the pass-through column, set all desired disks to “true”.
3. Provide a meaningful display name for each desired disk. The display name should help you tie the registered disk to its physical counterpart within your host system.
4. Select all disks to be registered and click on “Register Selected” to register them.
5. If successful, you should receive a success pop-up message and the disks registered should disappear from the registration panel.
6. Finally, navigate to the “Registered Disks and Volumes” section to find the disks that have been registered for the host being managed.
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