Hardware configuration for Dell PowerEdge 2800 Server

The Dell 2800 is the same height as a standard case, but about twice as deep. This is the second time I’ve been surprised at how large these things are. If you wanted to install them in a rack, you need the four-poster type of rack, they are just too large for a standard two-point rack. The unit weighs at least 75 pounds, and it seems to be built to last. Sounds like a jet engine starting up, but settles down to a fairly tolerable metallic whoosh, which, while I wouldn’t want next to me all day, could probably still be in the same room.

This server came with a 3-drive RAID array. RAID is a useful way to provide redundance; if any single drive in the array fails, the other drives will still contain the data and the server will stay up. Sure enough: the third drive in the RAID group failed after running the server about 2 hours.

Got replacement drive from Dell, shipped Airborne. This was a naked drive which I put in the hot-swap “drawer”, and then plugged into the array. If this had been a production server, I would have probably been able to do this without bringing the server down.

Once installed, the array has to “rebuild” itself, that is, incorporate the new blank drive into the array by copying data to the new drive. This happens automatically, but takes a couple of hours for a 73 gigabyte drive.

Server shows a blinking orange light
Server shows a flagged “intrusion” detection.

Turns out the blinking orange light was remedied by clearing the “ESM log” (the embedded systems manager log). This is done by using a command line utility called DSM (Dell Systems manager) which is downloaded from the Dell FTP Site at:


Running OpenManage Server Administrator now showed a “diagnostics” alert….which stated that the configuration of the unit had changed. It allows you to “acknowledge” the change, which presumably will clear the alert. (It did).

I had ordered an external DAT tape drive for this unit, at the same time as ordering the server. I had assumed that the salesperson would put two and two together, and configure the server for the drive, but in fact an interface card was not included in the order. I ordered an “OEM” Adaptec 29160 SCSI card from NewEgg for this (about $125.00) Put the card in, and it was immediately recognized by the server, and subsequently by the Windows 2003 Server Standard operating system. Plugged in the DAT tape drive, and was making backups within five minutes using NTBackup the utility included wit Windows 2003. The NT Backup will get configured more thoroughly once I’ve migrated data from the old NT server to this server.

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