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Extending Windows 2000 Server Raid Array Partition

Posted on 2004-04-17
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Currently on my HP/Compaq server I am running Windows 2000 server with all of the latest service packs.  I have a RAID 5 array with 3 18.2GB SCSI drives and have just added a 4th drive.

Under my disk management the 3 drives look like one disk (currently set as basic) and I now have 18.2GB section available to format and use as well.  I would like to extend my current partition to incorporate the extra 18.2GB.

It is my understanding that I have to convert my BASIC disks to DYNAMIC and then I will be able to extend the existing drive space and absorb the extra 18.2GB now available on my array.  I have looked through some of the other posts on this topic but cannot find anything specific on some of the questions I have below...

My questions are:
1. Is this correct? (Once converted to DYNAMIC will I be able to extend the current partition).
2. Does anyone have a guess as to how long the BASIC to DYNAMIC conversion will take?  I have never converted before so do not know.
3. Will the conversion from BASIC to DYANMIC affect system performance and/or function? This is a basic server that serves as a file and print machine.
4. I am open to suggestions on the best way to do this if the DYNAMIC disk route is not the best way to go (i.e. Partition Magic, other utilities, etc.).
5.  Once converted to DYNAMIC what is the best way or procedure to extend the array partition?  Can I use the “diskpart” command in Windows 2000 server?  Is it an MMC plug-in, etc?

I know that this question is pretty involved so I am assigning a 500 point value.  Thank you for everyone’s time and help.

John Dubinsky
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Question by:mavengroup
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by:IceRaven
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Hi mavengroup,

I am guessing you have a hardware array and not a windows 2000 software array.  Shoot me down in flames if I am wrong.

Have a look at this on compaqs site:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?objectID=PSD_EM000915_CW01
Also make sure you have the latest service pack before attempting anything :)

To understand a little about dynamic vs basic disks:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;175761

Cheers,
IceRaven
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by:mavengroup
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IceRaven,

You are correct.  I should have identified my array as a hardware array.  I will check your links.

Thanks!

John
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by:Fatal_Exception
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Yes.. if you are using a Controller Card for your array, the utility that comes with it should do the trick for you...  Definitely stay away from your Disk Manager in this instance..  You will not have to worry about Dynamic vs basic disks in this case...

Ice..  you are all over the place this morning..  Will have to take your Java away from you..!!  :)
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by:IceRaven
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I was just thinking the same thing.

Except it's 11pm here.

IceRaven.
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by:mavengroup
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Fatal,

I am a little confused now.  I did use the array tool to add my fourth disk to the array.  Now I have a 18.2GB space available in Disk manager to either partition or extend (which is what I want to do).  From talks with HP/Compaq support and from the file links above it appears as if HP/Compaq that dynamic disk is the way to go.  I did not see anything in my array console about extending the array.  I have expanded that array and it does say that the 4 disk is added - now I just want the space added.

John
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by:Fatal_Exception
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Ok.. sorry to confuse you..  On my system, using Adaptec Raid controller and utility, I can use it to configure my array...  With yours, you very well may need to use the Disk Management Utility...  Sorry if I confused you here..  My first cup of coffee, so please understand..

And yes..  Dynamic is the way to go for a RAID array..

FE
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by:Netman66
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Whoa...I wouldn't make a Dynamic Volume on hardware RAID.  None of your RAID tools will recognize it.

What you need to to (safely) is use Volume Manager to extend the partition to the full space now. Don't attempt this with a client partition manager - like Partition Magic.

Sorry FE - not posturing here.  Just making sure that he doesn't do something that can't be undone.  Microsoft itself doesn't recommend combining DD and hardware RAID.  One or the other.



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by:Fatal_Exception
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Glad you stepped in then...   never mixed the two myself, so I assumed that he must use it..  I just hope you got here soon enough...!!!
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by:mavengroup
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OK...

Now I do not want to use Dynamic Disks at all.  This is good information.  I will stay away from that.  I am not familiar with Volume Manger on Windows 2000 server.  Are you speaking of LDM (Logical Disk Manger - which I thought was used for dynamic disks)?  

I have not done anything yet.  Still gathering information.

Can you give me some guideance as to Volume Manger (docs, references, etc.) so that I can take myself to school on its use.
I am also taking a better look at my controller as I cannot belive that it cannot do this as Fatal mentioned above.

Looking for a little guidance....

Thanks.

John




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by:Fatal_Exception
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Sure glad that you got back to us and that you did not take my advice above regarding Dynamic Disks.  Especially since once you convert, it cannot be undone..  Taks a load off my mind..  :)

The LDM is used to monitor and configure new disks..   Here is a link to the two services:

http://www.theeldergeek.com/logical_disk_manager_administrative_service.htm

http://www.theeldergeek.com/logical_disk_manager.htm

Regarding Volume Manager...  are you speaking of Veritas, or the way W2K handles volumes..??  volumes are logical portions of a disk or disks, and are used in Dynamic Disks only, not basic disks...  Here is an article that deals with Volumes and SCSI disks..  Maybe this can help..

http://docs.sun.com/source/816-7728-10/chalupaAdmin-disk_volumes.html

Also, what kind of controller are you using for your hard drives..?  Perhaps they will have more documentation..

FE

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by:mavengroup
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I am going to get some more information over the day today.  I will post again tonight when I have everything I need.

Thanks for the help so far.

JD
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by:Netman66
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Volume Manager is a third-party product like Partition Magic - but only for servers.

http://enterprisesecurity.symantec.com/products/products.cfm?ProductID=345&EID=0

This is the one I was referring to - I didn't realize Veritas had one too.

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RevelationCS earned 460 total points
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okay.... I have some experience here doing what you are looking to do mavengroup as we have just added more disk to our compaq/hp production server for the 4th time in the last 7 months ;) With the Compaq/HP smartstart utils you will need to add the 4th disk in via the Raid Array Config utilities so you have the additional 18 GB of space available in windows... Once the array has finished rebuilding with the new drive included in it, you can go into the disk configuration for windows and add it to your existing partition ONLY if it has been set to dynamic disk. If is has not been set to dynamic disk, you can convert it to dynamic disk (provided you have enough space to do so) or add the 18 GB in as a new partition under windows... What you had done above only added it in as available disk on the array, now the big thing is adding it to where you want within windows. It is really a two step process when working with the arrays ;) You don't need any additional software outside of what comes with W2k and the HP smartstart disks. So to sum everything up again, follow these steps:

1. Add the disk to the array rack
2. Add the disk space to the RAID array using the SmartStart software included with your server (this is assuming you have a compaq controller card)
3. Allow the disk array to rebuild to include the new drive
4. Open the Windows Disk Management util
5. Decide if disk will be added to current partition or new partition
6. If adding to current partition, verify the partition is dynamic disk. If not, right click on the partition and convert to dynamic.
7. Add additional 18 GB to drive

As I stated before, we have done this several times on our compaq/hp servers with no issues whatsoever....

Hope this helps...
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by:RevelationCS
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ohhh, and on a side note, the dynamic disk issue referenced above is not an issue with the compaq raid controllers as all of our servers have dynamic disk running and we have none of the issue "myths" listed above occuring... I have also worked with IBM servers in the past and have not seen that as an issue with them either...
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by:mavengroup
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RevelationCS,

You news is the best news I have heard all day.  I have two (hopefully simple) questions left...

1.  How long does the conversion from Basic to Dynamic take (approx.) as I have never converted before.

2.  Does it matter that I have 2-3 partitions setup within my current array (how will the space be added amonst these partitions)?

Thanks for your input.  I appreciate your time.

Maven
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by:RevelationCS
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mavengroup,

Reponses:
1. Depends on the size/speed of the disk. with the raid 5 (3 disks with 18.2 gb) would give you about 34 gb of disk space, so it shouldnt be that long to convert. If I remember correctly, our drives (which were much larger) converted in less than a half hour. Your's should be less than this.

2. The partitions wont matter, once it is converted to dynamic disk, you can add the new space to whichever arrays you want. The disk management utility will append the space on the end so if you divide it up between the three partitions, you should see three new "drives" that are parts of the original drives. We have 6 partitions on our database server we add the drives too the most and have divided up the space between two drives in the past

Also if I remember correctly, your disk management would appear similar to this:
|                 C                ||                   D                 ||             E             | |     c     ||      d       ||    e    |

I can't remember off hand if it shows up like this when you append using the disk management, and I dont feel like VPNing in to work if I dont have to ;)

Hope this helps!
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by:mavengroup
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RevelationCS,

I appreciate the help.

Probably going to do this tonight.

I will post back.

Thanks agin.

MavenGroup
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by:Fatal_Exception
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Good one revelation...   and thanks.. maven..

FE
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by:johnkutz
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Sorry to dregde this up, but I'm in the process of adding space to a backup DB server.  I've converted my disk to dynamic, but it won't let me extend the volume since it was once a basic disk.  

I'm running an IBM Raid controller, in an IBM server with 4 73Gb HDD, set to Raid 5.  In disk manager, I can see the free space but I can not extend my existing "d" partition.  Everything I've found on the net refers to deleting the "D" volume and recreating.  Does this make sense??

I thought after converting to dynamic disks, I would be able to extend my partition rather easily.

Thanks!!

John
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by:RevelationCS
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kutz,

you prolly want to open up a new topic as this one has been closed for over a month...
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by:curt_herrman
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These are valid solutions however, you are making it harder than it needs to be.  Do this:

You can use the Diskpart.exe utility to manage disks, partitions, and volumes from a command-line interface. You can use Diskpart.exe on both Basic disks and Dynamic disks. If an NTFS volume resides on a hardware RAID 5 container that has the capability of adding space to the container, you can extend the NTFS Volume with Diskpart.exe while the disk remains a Basic disk.

Note When you use Diskpart.exe to extend an NTFS partition, Microsoft recommends that you perform this task in Safe mode or Active Directory Restore mode. By doing so, you prevent open handles to the drive that cause the process to fail.

Use the extend command to incorporate unallocated space into an existing volume while preserving the data.

The following are the requirements for the extend command:
The volume must be formatted with the NTFS file system.
For Basic volumes, the unallocated space for the extension must be the next contiguous space on the same disk.
For Dynamic Volumes, the unallocated space can be any empty space on any Dynamic disk on the system.
Only the extension of data volumes are supported. System or boot volumes may be blocked from being extended, and you may receive the following error:

Diskpart failed to extend the volume. Please make sure the volume is valid for extending
To extend a partition or volume, you must first select the volume to give it the focus, and then you can specify how large to make the extension. To extend a volume, follow these steps:
At a command prompt, type diskpart.exe.
Type list volume to display the existing volumes on the computer.
Type Select volume volume number where volume number is number of the volume that you want to extend.
Type extend [size=n] [disk=n] [noerr] . The following describes the parameters:
size=n
The space, in megabytes (MB), to add to the current partition. If you do not specify a size, the disk is extended to take up all of the next contiguous unallocated space.

disk=n
The dynamic disk on which to extend the volume. Space equal to size=n is allocated on the disk. If no disk is specified, the volume is extended on the current disk.

noerr
For scripting only. When an error is thrown, this parameter specifies that Diskpart continue to process commands as if the error did not occur. Without the noerr parameter, an error causes Diskpart to quit with an error code.

Type exit to quit Diskpart.exe.
When the extend command is complete, you should receive a message that states that Diskpart successfully extended the volume. The new space should be added to the existing drive while maintaining the data on the volume.
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