Yesterday our two new 80GB harddisks (Western Digital) arrived and we wanted to switch our system to use them. So I stopped all services, made a system halt and put the new disks in there. Additionally we wanted to have a software RAID to get a redundant system. But the two disks didn’t like to do what we wanted them to do – to boot from them…
### Inserting ###
The [BIOS](http://www.award-bios.com) made some strange things when we inserted the disks. Sometimes it displayed both of them, sometimes only one or none, and sometimes – what was really strange – it displayed the size of 2431MB on one of the two disks. So we tried a lot of things (like switching the two disks, using only one disk, using a 3ware hardware RAID controller, connecting the two disks to another computer, …) but they were not willing to work. It was really getting a pain in our necks.
### Firmware upgrades ###
Fortunately we know a person with great (unix/linux) wisdom and lore at our department. He told us that Western Digital Drives sometimes create problems where there shouldn’t be any. And that the 3ware RAID controller has problems with those drives. We should seek newer firmwares for both the mainboard BIOS and the raid controller BIOS. But we found out that the firmware was already up-to-date. So we were kind of perplex.
### What helped ###
After endless hours of testing, installing, mirroring and copying we thought it would be a good idea to put a third drive in there. This drive was meant to load the boot loader and boot the operating system from the other two disks. So [Christian](http://www.ca-net.org) put a third disk in there. And suddenly the server was able to boot from the first of the two WD drives! Strange thing, isn’t it? We figured out that the master jumpered WD drives were not able to work properly when they had no slaves connected to the same IDE cable. How would anyone know that?
Our server now runs perfectly again, thanks to Christian who tried booting when there was no hope left. And we now have a software RAID with mirrored disks that should speed up displaying the sites hosted. Thanks to all people who are hosting their sites on our system for their patience. I’d like to give you a list of those hosted sites: