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Resizing a RAID 5 array

Posted on 2005-03-22
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I'm trying to resize the boot partition on a Dell Poweredge 2550 server running a PERC3/Di RAID controller.  We have 3 drives in this machine and the array has two logical drives C: and E:.  The C drive only has like 4 gigs available while the E drive has almost 30 gigs free.  I'm using Volume Manager 2.0 but it won't let me redistribute the free space between the two logical drives.  I tried to resize the larger E: drive down to about 26 gigs so I have 4 gigs of unallocated space.  However it wont let me move or redistribute this space to the C: partition.  Any ideas?

Tony
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Question by:vmrfadmin
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10 Comments
 
LVL 19

Assisted Solution

by:Barthax
Barthax earned 600 total points
ID: 13605330
You don't mention which OS or how the C:\ is formatted (FAT32, NTFS).  I'd assume it's some derivative of Windows 2000/2003 and NTFS as they're most likely to be used in the kind of config you're describing.

You would need to use a repartitioning program which does not require the OS to be booted at the time of the resize.  I would advise you backup all necessary data on the system partition before beginning.  Don't be surprised if you end up having to delete the partition and start from scratch again though.

Partition Magic's NTFS Resize page: http://www.partition-manager.com/overview_details/resize_NTFS.htm
NTFSResize: http://mlf.linux.rulez.org/mlf/ezaz/ntfsresize.html
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Author Comment

by:vmrfadmin
ID: 13605751
This is a Win 2000 advanced server machine with NTFS partitions.  Sounds like I should try to use the bootable diskettes with Volume Manager 2.0.

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LVL 15

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by:veedar
veedar earned 150 total points
ID: 13607300
I use BootIt NG it's a shareware boot floppy that is great for resizing and will do RAID
as long as the attached hard drives are mapped in the BIOS, and the BIOS can be used to access them
http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootitng.html
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LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:gpriceee
gpriceee earned 150 total points
ID: 13608735
Did you create a dynamic disk group first and add the drive containing the C: volume first?
If so, create a volume on the newly-freed space, but don't assign it a drive letter.
Add that volume to the dynamic group created that has the C: drive in it.
Once it is added, expand the C: drive, get some coffee, and call it a day.
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 300 total points
ID: 13610274
Does Volumemanager come up with any error message when you try to use it for resizing? Volumemanager should really allow you to do what you want to do here...

Maybe there are some errors on your drives, so you may have to do a thorough chkdsk c: /f /x /r on both your partitions first. Partitionmagic and also volumemanager usually only work properly if there aren't any errors on the drives.
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Author Comment

by:vmrfadmin
ID: 13617292
Im going to try this tonight after hours but the plan is to reallocate the unused space to the C: drive, then resize it smaller to about 7.5 gigs, the resize the adjacent E: drive to use all that unused space.  Ill let you know how it goes.
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LVL 4

Assisted Solution

by:prairieits
prairieits earned 300 total points
ID: 13621634
I hate being a pessimist, but I have never trusted partition resizing utilities, especially on servers.  Take the time to back it up and blow it away.  It is a *much* better long-term solution - especially if this is a production server rather than something you use for development or other non-production purposes.

Better yet, if you have resources to do it, add a drive or two (storage is cheap) and do some flavor of creating 2 hardware-level raid sets.  Use a 2 drive mirror set for your OS and a separate 3 drive RAID 5 hooked to that PERC/3di card.  That way if you need space again in the future, you can expand the drives at the hardware level rather than dealing with the mess logical volumes presents.

Good luck,
Jerod
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:gpriceee
ID: 13627366
Did you have a chance to try to expand the drive yet?
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Author Comment

by:vmrfadmin
ID: 13631106
Using Volume Manager 2.0 we were able to successfully resize the disks.  Oddly enough these machines had the same hardware and almost the same amount of data but one took much longer to resize than the other.  In any case it was a success.  Volume Manager works pretty well but you do have to shuffle the free space around from partition to partition.  It wouldnt let me resize the C: partition using the 20 odd gigs of unallocated space so I first had use the free space wizard to give C: all the unallocated space, then resize C: down to 7.5 gigs, then resize the E: partition to include the extra space.  I wish we could have just added the 3.5 gigs of space we wanted in one step, but hey it worked.

Tony
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13631300
Thanx,

The reason the resizing took longer on one machine than on the other was probably becausethere was more running on that PC.
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