Installing hard drives in my PowerEdge 2900


Published January 2, 2013 at 2:07 PM

So here's what my server is:

1 Dell PowerEdge 2900, Tower
- Dual Processor, Dual Core Intel Xeon 5130, 4Mb Cache, 2.0 GHz, 1333MHz FSB
- 8Gig 533MHz, Dual Ranked DIMMs
- 2 x 160GB, SATA, 3.5-inch, 7.2K RPM Hard Drives, RAID 0 Optional

The background

So I purchased this server back in ...2007, I was moving up to Alaska and wanted a new reliable server I wouldn't need to worry about since it would be co-located in Seattle and I would be up in SE Alaska. Well now 2012 was comming to an end and I was sick of dealing with e-mail and figured for SEO purposes it'd make more sense to do hosting at other host so I could have a broader C (as well as A & B) Class range on my ip's. So I took it down and brought the server up to Alaska to turn into a home server.

It only had 300 Gigs of storage which was fine for a simple web server. But I wanted to move all my media and work onto the server. I now needed to increase the thing to a few Terra Bytes. Begins

The issue

I had several old spare hard drives kicking around, I figured I'd play with those incase I screwed something up I wouldn't be out anything I wasn't aware I had (and I was looking for more files to clutter my HDs).  I bought some more hard drive carriages off Amazon for $18 a peice. Shop around some places wanted like $50 per tray. Not vital to know just throwing it out there.

*note I recall Dell was pushing the SAS hard drives on me when buying it but I requested SATA. You need to make sure you have the right hard drives. After popping the the primary drives and verifying I had SATA drives I was ok there.

I popped the hard drives in and the LED's on the carriage turned green. Green means go the computer likes them. Well then I opened windows. They weren't in My Computer, they weren't in Disk Management, they weren't in diskpart > list disk. Well where the poop where they and why weren't they to be found.

After a lot of reading I figured out my server had RAID Controller PERC 5/i ( ) durning start up you need to hit (Ctrl + R) to enter the RAID BIOS.

Then follow the steps at (

Which state the following under the series of dashes, should the link ever become non-functioning.

After creating the virtual disk, open up Disk Management (in windows) and you should find your new HD.


*note! Somthing I've had drilled into me through my A&P training, If possible always first consult the manufactures data. It might be easier to scroll down and read what I pasted but it doesn't mean I might have lost information in the copy and paste for code clean up. (I like my code to be clean.) So use the link if it works still if not then read below and hope I didn't screw things up. On this same note a manufacutre might want you to buy from them for more I.E. Only use Dell approved drives... Use common sense a HD that is SATA and spins 7200 RPM with a 64MB cache is the same as the next no matter who you buy it through.

  1. During host system bootup, press <Ctrl><R> when the BIOS banner displays.

The Virtual Disk Management screen displays.

NOTE: This procedure describes the BIOS Configuration Utility screens in Tree View

  1. Highlight Controller #.
  2. Press <F2> to display the actions you can perform, which are creating new virtual disks, resetting a configuration, and importing or clearing a foreign configuration.
  3. Select Create New VD and press <Enter>.

The Create New VD screen displays. The cursor is on the RAID Levels option.

  1. Press <Enter> to display the RAID levels.
  2. Press the down arrow key to select a RAID level and press <Enter>.
  3. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the list of physical disks.
  4. Use the down arrow key to highlight a physical disk and press the spacebar to select the disk.
  5. Select additional disks, if desired.
  6. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the box Basic Settings and set the virtual disk size and name.

The virtual disk size displays in megabyte (MB) format.

NOTE: For RAID levels 0, 1, and 5 only, you can use part of the available disk space to create one virtual disk and then use the rest of the disk space to create another virtual disk or disks.

  1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Advanced Settings.
  2. Press the spacebar to make the settings active so that you can change them.

An X displays next to Advanced Settings. The settings are the stripe element size and read policy. You can also choose advanced options such as forcing the cache policy to be Write-back, initializing the virtual disk, and configuring a dedicated hot spare.

The defaults for these parameters display when the window displays. You can accept the defaults or change them. See Virtual Disk Parameters and Descriptions for detailed information about the virtual disk parameters.

  1. Perform the following steps to select the virtual disk parameters:
    1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the parameters you want to change.
    1. Press the down arrow key to open the parameters and scroll down the list of settings.
  2. To change the stripe element size, press <Tab> to highlight Stripe Element Size.
    1. Press <Enter> to display the list of stripe element sizes (8 KB, 16 KB, 32 KB, 64 KB, and 128 KB), then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>.
    2. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Read Policy to change it if desired.
    3. Press <Enter> to display the options, Read Ahd, No Read, or Adaptive, then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>.
    4. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to the Write Policy to change it if desired.
    5. Press <Enter> to display the options, Write-Through or Write-Back, then press the down arrow key to highlight an option and press <Enter>.
    6. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to OK.
    7. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Force WB with no battery and press <Enter>.
    8. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Initialize and press <Enter>.

NOTE: The initialization performed at this stage is fast initialization.

    1. Press <Tab> to move the cursor to Configure Hot Spare and press <Enter>.

NOTE: The hot spare created at this stage is a dedicated hot spare.

    1. If you have chosen to create hot spares in the earlier steps a pop-up window appears where drives with appropriate sizes are displayed. Press the spacebar to select the drive size.
    2. After you select the drive size, click OK to finalize the selection or click Cancel to forfeit the selection.

Initializing Virtual Disks

Perform the following steps to initialize virtual disks.

  1. On the VD Mgmt screen, select Virtual Disk # and press <F2> to display the menu of available actions.
  2. Select Initialization and press the right arrow key to display the Initialization submenu options.
  3. Select Start Init. to begin a regular initialization or select Fast Init. to begin a fast initialization.

Fast initialization writes zeroes to the first sector of the virtual disk so that initialization occurs in 2–3 seconds. A progress bar displays next to the selected virtual disk as it initializes.

  1. When initialization is complete, press <Esc> to return to the main menu screen.
  2. Repeat the procedures in this section to configure another virtual disk.

The PERC 5 controllers support up to 64 virtual disks per controller. The currently configured virtual disks display on the screen.