پیکربندی RAID در محیط Array Configuration Utility سرورهای HP

hat is RAID? RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. So what is it? The answer will be, it is a technology or feature which gives fault tolerance and reliability through hard drive redundancy. In a RAID configuration, multiple physical hard disk drives are combined to one logical drive and the data is distributed evenly across multiple physical hard drives. As multiple hard drives are combined in RAID, you will be able to achieve high level of Redundancy. Moreover, if one of the hard drive fails, then you would be able to restore the data.

Hard Drive Thumbnail

Hardware RAID is one of the basic feature you would expect from any enterprise Server. In our Dataceneter, we do have lots of HP Servers. They are very reliable and robust. Most of the HP Servers are shipped with HP Smart Array Controller which allows you to configure different RAID levels on your Server. HP P400, HP P410 and HP P420 are some of the HP Smart Array Controller which I have worked with.

If you need to setup Hardware RAID on your Server, you need to use a utility which will help you to do it.  HP Array configuration Utility (ACU) is one of the HP utility which helps you to configure RAID on your Server. Another utility you could use is HP Smart Storage Administrator. In this article, we will stick with HP ACU. ACU provides easy to use graphical user interface which will allow you to configure/change RAID levels of your HP Server. You need to ensure that you create a Hardware RAID on your Server using HP ACU or ORCA before you try installing any OS on your Server.

NOTE: ACU works only with HP Smart Array controllers. It will not work with  entry level Embedded SATA controller installed on your HP Server.

If you are using Cisco UCS, IBM or Dell Servers, then you should use the RAID configuration utility provided by respective manufactures. ACU helps you to Create an array, Create a logical drive, Delete logical drives, Delete array, Expand an array, Extend an array, Migrate Raid level of the array and Spare drive management.

HP Array configuration Utility (ACU) is available in both Online and Offline version. You can use the online version of ACU if you server is installed with Windows and Linux operating system. If the operating system is not yet installed then you need to configure RAID using Offline version of ACU or using ORCA. ACU is tool available in HP SmartStart CD and you can launch it by booting to SmartStart CD.

In Windows you can launch ACU by Clicking Start –> Programs –>HP System Tools –> HP Array Configuration Utility. Apart from creating RAID, ACU also allows you to expand Array, extend logical drive and migrate RAID levels on your HP Server.

If you are using HP Gen8 Servers, then SmartStart CD could not be used to launch HP ACU. Instead, you need to use HP Intelligent Provisioning which is an embedded software. Intelligent Provisioning does comes with ACU and you can launch ACU from Intelligent Provisioning.

As per my understanding, HP has stopped developing Array Configuration Utility. But the good news is, they released a new utility which is called HP Smart Storage Manager. This new utility looks almost similar to HP ACU but does provide more features.

In this post, I will explain how to configure RAID on your Server using ACU (Offline). If Operating System is already installed and ACU is installed as an application, then you can use the online version of ACU on your Server. As my server does not have any Operating System installed, I am going to follow offline method. here, I will boot the server from SmartStart CD, then I will  launch the ACU. It is not mandatory to boot server to SmartStart CD to create an Array or Logical Drive. I am using SmartStart CD here because there is no Operating System installed on my Server. Let us go ahead and see how to create a simple RAID volume on your server.

Configure RAID using HP Array configuration Utility (ACU):

1. At first, you need to boot the server using HP SmartStart CD (this might take some time!)

SmartStart CD boot

2. Now select language as English (US), keyboard layout as US English, click Next button.

SmartStart CD Language Selection3. Accept HP End User License Agreement by clicking Agree button.

SmartStart CD EULA4. Now you will be at the Main Page of HP SmartStart CD.

NOTE: If there is no Logical Drive present on your server, then the SmartStart CD home page will looks like the one provided below. Both Install and Run Saved Installation options will be unavailable as there is no Logical drives defined. You can create a logical drive using HP ACU now and these options will be enabled.

HP SmartStart CD Homescreen RAID ACU

5. Now go ahead and click on Maintenance from the main page of HP SmartStart CD

HP SMartSTart CD Maintenance option to launch ACU RAID

6. Click on HP Array Configuration and Diagnostics from the Maintenance Option screen of SmartStart CD.

Open HP Array Configuration Utility

7. You should see the HP Array Configuration Utility (ACU) opened in your server now.
8. First you need to select the controller, So select the HP Smart Array Controller from the list.

NOTE: If there are multiple Storage controllers available, select the right controller from the list. Example of Array Controllers are HP Smart Array E200 Controller, HP Smart Array P400 Controller etc.

Array Configuration Utility configure RAID

9.  You are at the main page of HP Array Configuration utility.
10. You could find the available Hard Drives in the list in the left pane of the window.

Create an Array using Array Configuration Utility

11. To create an Array, Click on Create Array button as shown above.
12. The Screen will like the one provided below.

NOTE: In our case, we only have 1 Hard drive connected to the Server. Hence you will find only one hard drive listed. Moreover I will be creating RAID 0 here (RAID 1 needs minimum 2 HDDs).

Select the hard drive to be part of your RAID Array

13. Select the Hard Drives from the list and click OK. The new Array will be created.Select the HDD to be part of your RAID Array in ACU

14. Next step is to create a new logical drive. So let us do it.
15. To create logical drive, click on Create Logical Drive button.

Create Logical Drive using HP ACU

16. Select the RAID level (Fault Tolerance), also ensure that Array Accelerator is Enabled.

Set Fault Tolerance RAID using ACU17. Click on Save button to create the logical drive.

NOTE: As we have only one HDD, the only available RAID level is RAID 0, if we had 2 HDD, then we will get the RAID 1 option as well. If you have 2 HDD installed, then you will find RAID 1 also as an option. Likewise, If 3 HDDs are installed in your server, then you will find RAID 5 listed in this window.

18. Success, now you have created RAID 0 logical drive.

Logical Drive is Created

19. Click on Exit ACU button to exit Array Configuration Utility.

NOTE:  The newly created logical drive will be visible to the Operating System only after it is formatted inside the OS. Simply creating a logical drive in ACU will not create a new partition inside the Operating System.

If you are using Windows, then you can use the Windows Disk Management utility to format the new logical drive/partition you have just created. If you use Linux operating system , then you can use fdiskcommand to re-partition and mkfs command to format with appropriate file system.

If you require any assistance with RAID inside your HP Server, I would be able to provide some help. You may leave a comment and I will respond to it. Feel free to share this article with your friends and family.