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RAID 5 as single large disk/volume

Rick Watts_1
Occasional Advisor

RAID 5 as single large disk/volume

New DL380 G3 Server. 5i RAID controller. 6 x 73GB disk drives. We would like to create a single 300+GB RAID-5 array.

Booted the SmartStart CD. Setup the RAID-5 array. Selected the OS type as Win2K. The array format type as NTFS. Selected the 300GB array for the OS. Continued to the OS Install.
Booted the Win2K CD. Followed the Win2K install prompts.

Once the OS was installed, looking that the Disk Manager, "C:" shows as a 4GB volume within the 300GB array. The array shows as if it uses the full 300GB. The "C:" volume can not be extended or expanded.

To make sure we are selecting NTFS and the RAID configuration is correct, we have erased and stepped throught the install process 2 additional times.

Any help/suggestions as to what we are doing wrong would be appreciated.

4 REPLIES
Jeff Mathews
Respected Contributor

Re: RAID 5 as single large disk/volume

Creating the array that is 300+ GB is only the first step in the process of having a partition that is 300+ GB in size. This will present a logical disk to the OS installer that can be carved up any way you see fit. During the initial portion of the W2K setup, you should be asked what partition to install W2K. If the drive has yet to be partitioned, you will have to create one and will be asked what size. Because you have done the install once before, it is likely that it will see the existing 4Gb partition, and ask if you want to install it in that location. At this point you will have to delete the current partition and setup a new partition. I'm not sure what the size limit would be as I've never attempted a 300+ GB system partition. I have had them over 40GB though. Remember when prompted to create the system partition, the size you are entering is in MB.

PS: If you use an unattended setup procedure, specifying ExtendOEMPartition=1 in the [unattended] section will make the C: drive fill your entire logical drive.

Jeff
Rick Watts_1
Occasional Advisor

Re: RAID 5 as single large disk/volume

Thanks for the suggestions Jeff. Wish it were something like that but I don't think that's what's happening. We select the 300gig volume as the partition for Win2K to install. During the 2nd and 3rd installs, we went back to square 1 and even rebuilt the RAID-5 array. Brute force, clean slate type of thing...

Whatever is happening, the 4gig volume that is created acts like a FAT partition instead of NTFS. The remainder of the 300gig drive is not available for use. If the OS was just using this 4gig volume as a partition, I should be able to go into Disk Manager and create another partition on the remaining unused part of the logical volume.

Though the drive shows as 300 gig in disk manager and the "C:" volume is only 4 gig in size, the unused portion of the 300gig drive is not available to partition. In our case, the entire array shows as 300gig in use. Right-clicking on "C:" volume shows the 4gig size. To make sure that it was not a display problem, we even tried to copy some files over the network to see when we would run out of room. And, it filled the disk at 4gig.

I've installed Win2K Server many times on different servers and drive configurations. But, this is the largest single volume I have ever tried. It really seems like some problem with SmartStart and its interface to the RAID controller versus the data it passes to Win2K CD.

Couple of things we are going to try: Create a smaller 20-30gig partition, install the OS and see what happens. Try a manual install without SmartStart assisted install.
Jeff Mathews
Respected Contributor

Re: RAID 5 as single large disk/volume

Hey Rick, sorry for the confusion. I guess you have a handle on this, and from what you say now, I would say you are right. I good test would be the manual install without SmartStart to see what happens. As I said, I have never tried a 300 GB partition either, but have had several 20-40 GB partitions. Very odd that disk manager won't let you add to it etc. Let me know if the manual install from W2K CD is any different if you don't mind.

Jeff
Rick Watts_1
Occasional Advisor

Re: RAID 5 as single large disk/volume

OK, we got around this problem. Our solution may was not to pretty, but heck. It worked.

Used SmartStart but only created a 30gig partition on the 300GB array. Completed the OS install. Used Server Magic (by PowerQuest I believe.) to expand the 30gig partition to use the whole volume.

Everything seems to be working OK. Just finished the Service Packs and Security Patches from Microsoft. Server is running fine, on the Network, and multiple reboots have worked.

I'll be moved tons of data to the array shortly. If I run into any weird problems, I'll post a heads up.