j a m i e

Upgrading RAID cards in a Dell machine.

This was terrifying for me first time, so don’t do what I did. It’s pretty painless if you take your time and have backups in place beforehand. Lets dive in!

So first off, migrate off all the VMs you need to keep online to another host. Make backups of anything left because you’ll wish you did if anything goes wrong. I’m going to use the H700 as an example in this post. I did this without making a backup first – I was being dumb and lazy, make backups!

Shut down the remaining VMs, set it to maintenance mode and shut her down.

Swap out the old RAID card, replace it with the new one. Ensure the battery is hooked up and the cabling is set correctly – SAS A to SAS A etc.

Boot it back up, then use this guide to live-patch your host to get the drivers etc for your new RAID card (h700). It’s going to take a while to finish, reboot afterwards.

Upon booting up, hit ctrl+r to get back to the RAID configuration. It will complain that all your drives are lost, don’t worry. Hit c to load configuration and y to confirm.

When you’re in the RAID config, hit F2 and import foreign config. This will load the previous config on your drives.

Now, this part is important. I don’t know why, but sometimes it requires the RAID to be rebuilt despite nothing changing. Two of my servers didn’t need to, two did – go figure. If it does, it will automatically start an operation in the RAID config screen called back init. For me, this took around 35 minutes however if you have a much larger setup it’s obviously going to take longer.

So when that’s finished – or if you didn’t need to rebuild, lets get that datastore back on ESXi!

After rebooting again and letting it boot up, you’ll probably get quite a fright that your datastore isn’t there and all VMs are throwing errors – to add to it too in ESXi you can’t even see the datastore to add it!

This is where VSphere VCenter comes in (the naming structure of this kills me).

Login to VCenter and navigate to your host, click on ‘Actions’ -> ‘Storage’ -> ‘New Datastore’.

Select your datastore type, hit next and it should show up here.

From the list of LUNs, select the LUN that has a datastore name displayed in the VMFS Label column.

Note: The name present in the VMFS Label column indicates that the LUN is a copy that contains a copy of an existing VMFS datastore.

Under Mount Options, you’ll be looking for this option Keep Existing Signature: Persistently mount the LUN

Review & finish – If you hop back to ESXi your VMs should all be populated again – on a sidenote you may need to reconfigure globallogging again if that’s something you do.

To do this go to ESXi -> ‘Manage’ -> ‘System’ -> ‘Advanced Settings’ and search for Syslog.global.logDir

Set it up like so, swap my datastore name for yours and you’re all done.