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How to create a Porticor RAID on Windows Server

There are two scenarios when you want to create a RAID pair of Porticor protected disks on your Windows Server:

  1. When you have 2 new disks and want to create a RAID pair from scratch.

  2. When you already have a disk with data and want to add a mirror to it.

The first scenario is highly preferable and choosing it will help you avoid many possible pitfalls. The second option will require your mirroring disk to be practically identical to the source and may be a cause of many errors.

Note: This guide will assume you already have the required disks created in the Porticor Virtual Appliance. If you still don't, please use this guide to create the iSCSI disks.

Important: If you want to create a RAID pair over Porticor, the suggested mode of operation is to create one iSCSI disk on each of the two Porticor Virtual Appliances, and not to use one Virtual Appliance for hosting both of the disks.

Initial Set Up: Adding Porticor iSCSI disks to your Windows Server.

Step 1: Open the Porticor Virtual Appliance, browse to "Protected File Systems" category and click "use it" on the iSCSI disk you want to add.

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Look for a string beginning with "--targetname iqn". Write down the target name that follows as well as the portal IP address after "--portal" on the same line.

If you are using a password protected iSCSI (and you should), take note of the username and password. They are the values following "--name=node.session.auth.username --value=" and "--name=node.session.auth.password --value=" respectively.

Step 2: Open the "iSCSI Initator", select the "Discovery" tab, click "Discover Portal..." and enter the IP address you just wrote down.

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After pressing OK, you should see the portal IP added to the "Target portals" list. Go back to the "Targets" tab and you should see the target name of your iSCSI disk listed.

Step 3: Click Connect. In case your iSCSI is password protected click "Advanced...", select "Enable CHAP log on" and enter your username and password under "Name:" and "Target secret:" respectively.

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After pressing OK, you should see the target "Status" change to "Connected".

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Repeat these steps for each of the disks you want to add.

Step 4: Open “Computer Management” via Start > Run > compmgmt.msc, and choose “Disk Management” under the “Storage” category. It should look similar to this:

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Step 5: In case your disk is listed as "Offline", right click and choose "Online". In case your disk is listed as "Not Initialized", right click and choose "Initialize". When initializing you will be asked to pick a partition style, choose "MBR". Once done your disks should be reported as "Basic", "Online", and "Unallocated".

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Option 1: In case you are creating a RAID from scratch and have 2 new disks, as shown in the previous screenshot right click one of the disks and choose "New Mirrored Volume...". Add both of the disks to the Selected (right-hand side) list like this:

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Continue with the default formatting options presented, unless you have different preferences. Disk Management might warn you that both of those disks will be converted to dynamic, this is OK. The system will then begin formatting and creating your RAID. At the end of this process you will see both your disks as "Dynamic", "Online" and "Healthy". They will have the same drive letter and will be coloured in red which stands for "Mirrored Volume".

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Congratulations, your RAID is now fully operational.

Option 2: In case you are creating a RAID by adding a mirror to an existing disk, this is how your setup might look:

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Right click your live disk, choose "Add Mirror...", select the new disk and confirm.

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Disk Management might warn you that the disk will be converted to dynamic, this is OK. The system will then begin with the mirroring and resynchronizing procedure.

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This is a rather lengthy process and may take a couple of days for especially large disks. Note that the time depends on the size of the disks, and not on the disk space in actual use. Once the resynchronization completes your RAID will be fully operational.

Note: Your original drive is fully usable while this process is ongoing.

  • This guide was tested on Windows Server 2012.