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NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

sgunelius
Valued Contributor

NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

I've got a ProLiant ML370 (WinNT 4.0, SP6a) with an Integrated Smart Array controller (v1.50) supporting 2x18GB HDD in RAID1 array. The array supports a single 17GB logical drive, which in turn contains a 4GB system and 13GB data partition. I need to expand the data partition, so I've added another 18GB HDD, migrated the array to RAID5 and now see the unused space.

From what HP has stated and my knowledge of the ACU & controller, I should now be able to extend the logical drive, but a warning dialog box pops up regarding lack of support for Linux or specific configurations of W2K. I'm concerned that if W2K can experience some problems, WinNT 4.0 may not work at all.

Both partitions are NTFS Basic. I've got several recent backups on hand should something go south. I had planned to use GPart to extend the 13GB data partition only and will be leaving the 4GB system partition alone. Will logical drive extension through the ACU work? Thank you very much.
7 REPLIES
TTr
Honored Contributor

Re: NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

> migrated the array to RAID5 and now see the unused space

That's the first step and was done correctly

> I should now be able to extend the logical drive...

This is a two step process. Step1, you extend the logical drive in the ACU and the controller. That is equivalent to a hard disk changing its size. Step2, the underlying OS has to be able to see that change in the disk size and see the extra space at the OS level. You are correct, WinNT can not handle the disk drive size change. In other windows versions this is done with the diskpart.exe utility.

Now you have 2 options. Option 1 is to save everything and recreate the logical drive using the raid5 space. You should create separate logical drives for the OS and the data partitions. Re-install the OS and restore the data. Option 2 is to create a new logical drive on the new space and use that as a separate partition on the OS (assuming that you can make this work with the existing data partition).
sgunelius
Valued Contributor

Re: NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

I know that DiskPart isn't available for this OS, but I've got a bootable CD with GPart and I've used that on W2K & W2K3 servers to resize NTFS volumes/partitions. I'm thinking as long as I leave the OS partition alone (4GB boot limit for NT 4.0) and only increase the size of the data partition, I should be okay, but again not having used ACU on this OS to extend a logical drive; I'm reluctant.
TTr
Honored Contributor

Re: NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

Since you are planning to use the bootable CD, can you access the raid controller offline as well? Is there the ACU equivalent on the bootable CD (smartsart?) or the ORCA option (F8) during bootup. This way you access the controller directly and not relying on the ACU and the OS and having the possibility of the OS locking up on you the moment you touch the logical drive.

Before starting anything ensure that you backup your data.
u84823
Regular Advisor

Re: NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

I wouldn't personally put any effort whatsoever into server nearly 10 years old. Find a new machine, install Virtual Server 2005 R2, and migrate the NT box on that complete with whatever disk sizes you need.

As stated above NT doesn't support expansion itself so an additional volume on the array will be the way to go (but note this can be mounted as a folder on the existing E partition OR you could create a stripe set to get all space together, although that would mean backup/restore of that drive).

Also assuming the disks are 7 years old+ there is a very high risk of two drives failing before a rebuild can be completed - assuming you can get another working disk - which will obviously result in complete data loss.
sgunelius
Valued Contributor

Re: NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

If it was up to me and I had the IT budget of a public/private company, I would retire & replace this server, but we're non-profit and it's not my decision. I'm still running a few ProLiant 6400R servers and scavenge parts from some retired 6400R's (fans, power supplies, etc.) when necessary. I attempted a P2V, but then discovered that VMware discontinued support for the conversion of NT 4.0 systems with the most recent version of their vCenter Converter.

I've worked with our development team and it sounds like I can migrate this data manually to a newly deployed VM that's running W2K3, so I can at least drag this data onto a 21st century server. This question has now pretty much become academic, so I was pleased that the RAID1 to RAID5 conversion worked with the addition of another disk and the rebuild completed in line with HP's estimate of 15 minutes per GB.

I guess my question now boils down to; has anyone successfully used the ACU on a Windows NT 4.0 Server to extend a logical drive while preserving the partitions/data residing on that logical drive? If I'm seeing warnings about certain W2K configurations, I assume the potential for data loss in a NT 4.0 environment is the same or greater. Thank you for your responses.
u84823
Regular Advisor

Re: NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

Win2k was the earliest MS OS that would support disk expansion. It won't work on NT4.
sgunelius
Valued Contributor

Re: NT 4.0 + Integrated Smart Array - Logical Drive Extension

I was thinking that may be the case even though HP mentioned it "might" work. I'll probably still try it anyways after migrating the data manually to my new VM. Thank you very much!