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RAID 5 Expansion help

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Sasquatch2
Occasional Advisor

RAID 5 Expansion help

I have an ML350 G4 with a Smart Array 641 controller with BBWC configured in a RAID 5. I had 4 - 36gb utlra320 SCSI hot-swap drives. I recently swapped out the 4 - 36gb drives with 72gb drives.

I need to expand the array to see the extra drive space of the new, larger drives and allocate that space to increase the capacities of my existing partitions.

I think, and I will double check, that I created one logical drive. I have two partitions, one is the boot partition (C:) and the other is the data partition (E:).

I have a handful of questions and advice I need to be given.

1. Is there a limit to how large a logical drive can be with the array controller?

2. Is there a limit to how large a logical drive can be with Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition - 32-bit?

3. Can the boot partition (C:) be expanded at all, easily without having to buy expensive third party software to do so?

4. Is it smarter to create multipe logical drives in a RAID 5 - dedicating each logical drive as a specific partition? Logical drive 1 as boot partition, Logical drive 2 as data partition? Is this a smart or standard practice? And would this have made the expansion of both logical drive easier?

5. If the boot partition cannot be resized without 3rd party software, would I be better off doing a full backup of my server with a one touch button bootable tape and re-create my logical drive(s) and partitions to increase their size, then performing a "disaster recovery system restore" of the server with the Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 on the newly created RAID and partitions?

Sorry for so many questions and my ignorance, I'm learning.

Thanks in advance for any help!
10 REPLIES
Anuar Obregón
Frequent Advisor
Solution

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

Hello,

1. No limit as long that disks are supported.

2. Maximum NTFS file system size that can be realized on Windows Server 2003: 256 TB

3. Try diskpart.

4. That deppends on what you do with the server. If you are using it for SQL, it´s a common practice to have a boot partition and a data partition.
On citrix you have a boot partition, a data partition and a swap memory partition.

5. Never done that. But Norton Ghost is a good option to do an image and then restore using expanding partition option.
You can also use Casper to copy disks, it´s the best option I ever used.

Good luck!
Sasquatch2
Occasional Advisor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

I don't think I can expand my C: (boot parition) since I only have one logical drive. I am thinking if I had created two logical drives in the beginning then I could allocate some unallocated space to logical drive 1 (boot partition) and some space to logical drive 2 (data partition) and be able to expand both.

Not so sure I can do this with just the one logical drive with 2 partitions on it though.

Don't you have to have free space to the right of the C: (boot partition) to expand it?

If so, with one logical drive with two partitions (C: and then D: right behind it) I think I'm screwed with expanding C: unless I redo the raid array with two logical drives so that this is possible in the future.

So, if I had created two logical drives in the raid array controller and designate logical drive 1 as the OS boot partition and logical drive 2 as the data partition, I could easily expand both partitions with no problems?

Am I right or wrong in my thinking?
Sasquatch2
Occasional Advisor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

Let me ask this question to see if this is possible and if it has been done.

With my new unallocated drive space, can I create my 2nd logical drive and move my data partition to this new 2nd logical drive?

Reason for doing so would free up the data partition on the one logical drive I have so that I can delete it and add it to the boot partition.

This would in effect give me two logical drives effectively separating my OS and Data partition to two separate logical drives and their own partitions without having to do a rebuild right?
Greybeard
Esteemed Contributor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

Yep you can do that, or in the advanced options of ACU you should be able to extend the raid 5 into the unused space on the new disks, this is the hardware level, you then need to add the new space to the windows partition at the O/S level, I've done this with a smart 5i proliant controller but not tried it on the 641 though it should work. It is definatly better to have a seperate LUN for the data though.
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Sasquatch2
Occasional Advisor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

Anuar and Greybeard, thanks very much for the helpful replies.

I hate to be bothersome but can I ask one more question.

I have two slots free in my server. Before I do this expansion, I would like to move my OS partition onto two mirrored drives.

Can I add two unused drives to my server (slots 4&5) and using the RAID controller, create a mirror set with these two drive and move my OS to these mirrored drives?

See, what I currently have is one logical drive in a RAID 5 (slots 0 thru 3) with my OS on one partition and my data on another partition.

Ideally, my OS should be on mirrored drives while my data resides on RAID 5.

Can I create a mirror set with two of the unused drives by adding them into the two unused slots and move my OS there? At that point, the existing 4 drives that are in a RAID 5 would be expanded and dedicated to my data.

Any helpful steps to doing this if it can be done?

Thanks so very much!
TTr
Honored Contributor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

Yes you can. And if you have the duplex SCSI backplane option the disk setup will be perfect. Mirrored pair for the OS in disk bays 4,5 and raid5 for the rest of the data in disk slots 0-3.

See pages 29 and 44 fo the service and maint guide

http://www.icare.hp.com.cn/TechCenter_StaticArticle/22166/21726.pdf
Sasquatch2
Occasional Advisor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

So, even if my OS was on a separate logical drive and I extended the logical drive. Then to make the C: (OS boot partition) larger, I will still have to use a 3rd party software utility to increase the size? Or can I extend it through disk management within Windows 2003 Server or what?
Greybeard
Esteemed Contributor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

Hi, getting a little confused here. If you move the C: vol to a ne RAID1 then it will already be the desired size. If you are talking about the RAID5 still having C: on it then after expansion you should be able to extend it in windows disk manager.
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Sasquatch2
Occasional Advisor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

Thanks for the reply Graybeard.

I have a hardware RAID 5 setup on the server running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise. I have 4 brand new 72.8GB drives (upgraded from 36.4GB drives). I have one logical drive setup in the array. Then I have on the one logical drive 2 partitions (C: and E:). I know how to extend the logical drive within the array controller so that I have extra space available. What I don't know how to do is within Windows Server Disk Management to assign a portion of the free space to my C: and to my E: to make both of them larger.

Thanks for the help and replies.
Greybeard
Esteemed Contributor

Re: RAID 5 Expansion help

WOW, a usefull Microsoft knowledge base article lol. Check here for the instructions on doing this in windows :) http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590
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