Helpful Information for WD Sentinel DX4000 Users installing New Hard Disk


#1

Recently while attempting to upgrade my DX4000 to a three disk RAID 5 array, the new drive just sat there and the RAID did not migrate to RAID 5 or do anything!

While investigating potential causes, I came across this thread Expanding DX4000. Complete recovery is the only possibility?. I found it intriguing how DTMtech had used Intel RST drivers to bypass and augment built in functionality. However, before attempting his solution, I wanted some more information on my system. Was there any command line tool that would be give me detailed information on the RAID? As I continued investigating, I came across this article http://www.ohmancorp.com/RefWin-ServerSetup-IntelSataCmdLineAdmin.asp. Although it does not specifically deal with WD Sentinel, the author does talk about a command line tool – RAIDCFG32.exe, that can provide detailed information about your system setup. In addition, he gave me the most crucial insight – that “the utility version must match the driver version!”

I wondered what was Western Digital using on its recovery USB. Lo and Behold, on the recovery USB, under the WDRECOVERY folder, I found RAIDCFG64.exe, the 64 bit version of the utility mentioned in the article above. So behind the scenes WD is using this utility to recover the system.

Now before proceeding further, I should mention the standard disclaimer. Should you choose to follow the steps outlined, you do so on your own risk. Just because it worked for my system does not mean it would work on yours. I am in no way responsible if you attempt these steps and it results in data and/or system loss. The intent here is to add to the “collective wisdom and knowledge base” and individuals should make their own informed decisions after doing their own due diligence.

I copied the RAIDCFG64.exe to a new folder on unit called RAIDMGMT. Since it lacks any formal documentation, I decided to query it for options. I fired up the command prompt, navigated to that folder and typed “RAIDCFG64 /?”.

Once I reviewed all the options, I typed the command shown below
C:\RAIDMGMT>RAIDCFG64 /I /P

I saw a whole bunch of interesting and insightful information on my unit. However, what caught my eye was that on my unit “the utility version did not match the driver version!” See below
Version Tables:
Driver Version: 10.8.0.1003
OROM Version: 10.5.5.1050
App Version: 10.5.6.1002
So somewhere and/or somehow, my driver got upgraded to a newer version. Note that the WD recovery ISO I got is using app version 10.5.6.1002. Could that be the reason for my problems?

The driver in question here is iastor.sys and can be found in the folder c:\windows\system32\drivers. I found the older version of the driver in the folder C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\iastor.inf_amd64_neutral_88a04f6821c88185 (last folder name may vary on your system). I verified I had the right version by right clicking the file, selecting properties and then clicking on the detail tab. I copied this file to the folder c:\windows\system32\drivers and over wrote the newer version. Interestingly, you can find the newer version too in another folder under C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository.

Since drivers also update a whole bunch of registry entries and what not, I was afraid simply copying the file will not do the trick. I fired up control panel, selected programs and features and right clicked on Intel Rapid Storage Technology and selected repair.

Once done, I crossed my finger, and restarted the system. Much to my relief the system came back on fine. Once again, I fired up the command prompt, navigated to RAIDMGMT folder and executed
C:\RAIDMGMT>RAIDCFG64 /I /P. Below is what I saw;
Version Tables:
Driver Version: 10.5.6.1001
OROM Version: 10.5.5.1050
App Version: 10.5.6.1002

I inserted the third drive and this time the unit started the migration to RAID5 without a hitch. Twenty seven hours later, my Sentinel DX4000 was finally running RAID 5!


Can't add additional drives to DX400
DX4000 - recovery setup halts with "0x80070002" [SOLVED with workaround]
#2

Hello there,

Thanks for sharing this with the community, hopefully this can help other users that have similar issues.


#3

Hi Teak,

Thanks for sharing this information.

This seems exactly the same issue I had when trying to expand my DX4000 from 2 to 3 drives. It just did not work, clearly for a fault in the original WD install. In our case I managed to solve the problem with Intel RST driver even if this led to few cons. I find amazing to see how users left alone by WD managed to find different solutions to these issues.

I wonder whether it might be possible, by using RAIDCFG64, to have a more efficient RAID configuration with the o/s alone on drive 1, and data on the other 3 drives in RAID5 configuration.

Still it seems there is not an official WD solution to the lack of compatible hard drives.


Mounting compatible HDD to WD Sentinel DX4000
#4

RAIDCFG64 is a powerful command and it is possible to create a RAID 10 as well. However, there are a few limitations from what I can make out.

  1. The Western Digital specific customizations that automate RAID creation also limit the kind of RAID. A 4 drive array supports RAID 10 however, WD limits DX4000 to RAID5.
  2. The OS and RAID share the drives. This is a big risk on a headless unit as one cannot troubleshoot in real time if things start to go south.
  3. The anemic processor of the system. The system does not have enough horsepower although from what I can make out WD did address those issues in WS 51000 and WS 6100. Incidentally, I saw big performance improvement when I bumped up the RAM on my unit from 2 GB to 4 GB last year.

When I was fixing my issues, I fired up Component Services to see what services were associated with IAStor. I found two services associated with the Intel Rapid Storage Technology. The core service, Intel Rapid Storage Technology, is an automatic start. The second, Intel Rapid Storage Technology Monitoring Service, was disabled and as the description and it monitors for events and converts them into Dashboard Alerts. I vaguely recalled that some threads had mentioned this service and how users saw a new tab on their dashboard for Intel Rapid Storage so I manually started this service. When I rebooted the system, I saw a new tab for Intel Rapid Storage (shown below).

I found it intriguing that it shows a “Port 0” on the system. As I recall WS 5100 and WS 6100 have OS on a separate drive inside the system (I could be wrong). I wonder if DX 4000 too has this functionality and if one can install OS on a separate SSD. Then one can play with RAIDCFG64 to create a RAID 10 array.


Installed Intel RST in order to expand RAID, can I re-install original RAID software?
#5

Hi Teak,

For your information I tried the same procedure on a DX4000 which I already updated to the latest ISO version 1.7.6.21 - I did not perform the repair but following the reboot the driver version was the same as yours (i.e downgraded from 10.8.0.1003 to 10.5.6.1001). What instead I did not manage to get is the Intel Rapid Storage icon on the dashboard. I switched to automatic and enabled the Intel RST monitoring service but it did not appear after the reboot.

Then I tried the RST repair (but I had to unpack the 1_7_6_21 zip file as the installer was looking for the original installation file) and at the next reboot the Intel RST icon appeared on the dashboard.

Indeed quite interesting is to find the empty internal ports… it really looks the chipset on the motherboard has capabilities for two additional drives. I would not be surprised however that the ports are simply physically missing.