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I have a Dell PowerEdge 830 Server running Windows SB Server 2003. It has 4gbs of RAM and a ATA CERC SATA 6CH controller with 3 160gb drives in a Raid 5 configuration.

The Problem

I am seeing Admin ---"Disk Activity Alert on Server" emails These often occur when disk backups, de-frag or high disk usage is going on. Generally the server isn't over stressed.

The Disk Alert emails say in part ... The following disk has low idle time, which may cause slow response time when reading or writing files to the disk. Disk: 0 C: F: D: Review the Disk Transfers/sec and % Idle Time counters for the PhysicalDisk performance object. If the Disk Transfers/sec counter is consistently below 150 while the % Idle Time counter remains very low (close to 0), there may be a problem with the disk driver or hardware.

The Questions I have:

  1. With what utility can I review the Disk Transfers/sec and Idle Time? It appears there is no utility for that on the server!

  2. I think I may need to download a very large (two DVD) Dell "OpenManage" utility to be able to monitor the raid system and see what is a problem is that true?

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  1. You can use Performance Monitor to monitor disk activity.

  2. You can download and install Dell OpenManage Server Administrator to monitor and view the hardware.

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Quite a few things to select from and none labeled ... Dell OpenManage Server Administrator. Can you narrow it down? Comment Sure seems like a lot to download and rummage through just to find out why one is having "disk alerts". – Ron Whites Nov 26 '12 at 15:59
This should be it:… – joeqwerty Nov 27 '12 at 0:58

Joeqwerty's answer does a good job of answering your explicit questions, however...

You actually have a number of problems, and they're not what you think they are.

(In no particular order):

  1. Running Windows SBS.
    • Blech

  2. Running Windows SBS 2003.
    • It's almost a decade later, they're up to SBS 2011 now, and have killed off the SBS product line.

  3. Running SATA disks on server.
    • Not enterprise grade. SATA disks belong on your workstations, not your servers.

  4. Running RAID5 in production.
  5. Running SATA disks, on RAID5, in production
    • This is just begging for a catastrophe when one of the drives fails and you actually need the redundancy of a RAID5 array. Chance are good it won't be there for you when you need it, and the array will fail before rebuilding.


Upgrade server hardware and OS. If you're attached to SBS, go with SBS 2011, but it's high time you put that poor OS out of its misery, and let the old boxen finish out its life in a test environment... or as a Counter Strike server, or the like.

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We plan to upgrade. – Ron Whites Nov 26 '12 at 15:41
The statements do not answer my question so they aren't helpful. – Ron Whites Nov 26 '12 at 15:42
The drives are raid 5 scsi not sata. Just trying to find out why the disk activity alerts and the management procedure. – Ron Whites Nov 26 '12 at 16:02
@RonWhites The CERC SATA 1.5/6ch is a six-port Serial ATA I/O processor-based RAID controller that supports advanced RAID technology features -- between thinking you're running SCSI drives on a SATA controller, and not knowing (or being able to figure out) which Dell OpenManage product to download, maybe you need to think contracting a professional to take a look at this for you, instead of looking for someone online to spoon-feed you the "right" answer for free. – HopelessN00b Nov 26 '12 at 16:54
I thought the purpose of ServerFault was to help people solve issues with Server Support. Yes I was hoping someone who knew for sure would answer with more than I could figure out online. Comment-- It is pretty crazy that one can't easily why Windows 2003 gets a Disk Alert .. Latency error .. on higher end Dell raid configuration circa 2005. As drives get older as with these 2005 models one could expect some errors ... but when we need to know we can't without installing a huge additional admin software tool call OpenManage? – Ron Whites Nov 27 '12 at 18:50

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