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RAID Configuration, Continued

Step 4: After the MegaRAID software is finished scanning, your screen will look like Figure 13.

Figure 13: Array selection menu screen

Figure 13: Array selection menu screen

You'll now select the drives for your array. In Figure 13, you can see three of the four hard drives attached to this computer. The first row, with "M" underneath each Channel column, shows "Master" hard drives. The second row is "S" for "slave" hard drives. Because the MegaRAID i4 is an IDE/ATA device, you can have up to 8 drives per card in a 4 master, 4 slave configuration. The missing hard drive in Figure 13 is Channel-3 (i.e., the fourth hard drive) which is not shown because an 80-column character-based screen is not wide enough to show four drives.

Now that we see all the drives that are going into our disk array, we need to tell the MegaRAID software which of these hard drives to use. Not all hard drives have to be used in the RAID 5 array. If you have four drives, you can put three drives into a RAID 5 array, and use the fourth drive as a hot-spinning spare for recovery.

To select all the drives for our array, we use the arrow keys in Figure 13 to move the cursor to a hard drive that says Ready, and then we hit the "Space" bar to toggle the drive's status from "Ready" to "Onlin" (yes, the "e" is missing!).

Figure 14 shows what the screen looks like after I've scrolled through each of the hard drives and hit "Space" to select each hard drive for the array. It actually is the same as Figure 13, except that the drives have changed from "Ready" to "Onlin".

Figure 14: Drives selected for the RAID array

Figure 14: Drives selected for the RAID array

To select the hard drive on Channel-3 (not shown off to the right of the screen) just use the right arrow to scroll to the right to find it, and then hit space bar.

As you can see, the MegaRAID user interface is clunky, but it's not too bad once you get the hang of the implicit rule of this interface: "when in doubt, look at the bottom row of the screen." The black magic around RAID 5 then disappears, and you can become comfortable with the MegaRAID.

Once you have all the disks showing a status of "Onlin"(as in Figure 14) look at the bottom row of the screen (see Figure 15).

Figure 15: Status line after drives are selected

Figure 15: Status line after drives are selected

Step 5: Then convert the selected drives into an array. Hit "Enter" to tell the MegaRAID software you are done selecting drives. After this, the screen will remain unchanged. Next, hit <F10> to configure the RAID 5 array.

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