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Firewire Target Disk mode on Xserves

A colo customer of ours wanted us to completely rebuild an Xserve G5 of theirs. It was running Panther server and started acting really squirrely. It was setup with an Apple software raid mirror of the drives in Bay 1 and Bay 3. There was an additional drive in Bay 2, but it wasn’t tied to anything.

The plan for rebuilding this box was to backup everything on the system, install the PCI Hardware RAID card, attach the three drives and then do a fresh Tiger Server install.

In the course of determining the best way to back up this box, we had the idea of putting the server into Firewire Target disk mode (FWTD) and attaching it to another server of ours with big fast disks. This turned out to be a pretty good solution, but I was pleasantly surprised by a feature.

We have all G4 Xserves and this G5 Xserve is the lone non-G4 box. So, based on my previous experience of using FWTD mode on G4 Xserves, I expected only the drive in the first of the three Bays to show up on the running server. Interestingly, when we connected the firewire cable, all of the disks including the Install CD in the CD drive of the G5 Xserve showed up on this other box.

Very cool.

One Comment

  1. […] I ended up having to copy the data to both the other server under FWTD, and copying to a connected Firewire disk. In the end, the RAID 5 device was created with all 3 drives and is running smoothly. […]

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