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How and what is the steps I need to do to increase the size of my current RAID5 hardware


My Window 2003 server (standard addition), has the following setup :-

Disk0  - Basic Disk   (20GB)    Drive C

Disk1 - Dynamic Disk (10GB)   Drive D        (RAID 5)
Disk2 - Dynamic Disk (10GB)   Drive D        (RAID 5)
Disk3 - Dynamic Disk (10GB)   Drive D        (RAID 5)

Total size of Drive D : 20GB

Now my Drive D (where is RAID 5) , is last then 2GB ,
I am  intending to add a new Harddisk which is  to be Disk4 (10GB), so that I can increase
my space, so my question is what am I suppose to do ?

I am using the windows 2003 server own Disk Management feature, not using a third party software.

Thank you.
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fox404
Asked:
fox404
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1 Solution
 
rindiCommented:
First of all, make a backup and also test that backup (copy some files back to your PC and open the restored files with the program that created them, so you are sure they are OK).

The simplest way to do this is to get 3 new disks, all the same type and size. Remove the first disk in your current raid and replace it with one of the new disks. reboot and open your diskmanager. Wait until the raid has been rebuilt to the new disk. This should be shown in diskmanager. Now shut your server down again, replace the 2nd disk with a new one and repeat the above step. Now do the same with you last disk. Once your new array has been rebuilt, you can try using diskpart to extend your volume. Diskpart is a commandline tool, so you will have to open a command prompt. By enetering

diskpart /?

you will get a list of possible commands, and by entering

diskpart command /? you will get further info on how to use that command.

If you don't want to use diskpart, you could use diskmanager and create a new array on the free space of your disks, and assign that a new drive letter.


What I would really advise you to do, is to get a dedicated raid controller and connect the new drives to that. Hardware raid is always much better and faster than software raid. It is also easier to manage and make larger later.
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fox404Author Commented:

Hi,

What if system is a Power Edge 1750, it is using a HARDWARE RAID,

information :-
Disk1 - Dynamic Disk (10GB)   Drive D        (RAID 5)
Disk2 - Dynamic Disk (10GB)   Drive D        (RAID 5)
Disk3 - Dynamic Disk (10GB)   Drive D        (RAID 5)

What if  I am  intending to add a new Harddisk which is  to be Disk4 (10GB), so that I can increase my space, so my question is what am I suppose to do ?

Can I simply use the Hardware RAID utility to add in only 1 disk, then rebuilt.

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rindiCommented:
Sorry, because you had mentioned you were using Diskmanagement in your original question, I had thought you were using software raid! Since you are using hardware raid, still, make a backup as mentioned before. A good backup is allways essential.

Then check Dell's homepage for upgrades for your raidcontroller. Sometimes it is best to install the newest available firmware for the controller. Also install the newest driver and the newest dell utility software for that controller. There will be some special windows software for it. Once everything is uptodate, add the new drive, then enter your dell raid controller utility software. You should see an option with something similar to expand raid. This option is used to add the new disk to the array. Your diskmanager should then show new empty space on the array, and that space you can either use for a new partition or as I mentioned above, use the diskpart utility to make your current partition larger.
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fox404Author Commented:

Hi,  it's ok I just pour out the question for hardware also,  since i need to know the software too.   but i notice the diskpart cannot use to extend the software raid 5 , infact

mean to say, the diskpart  , extend feature cannot use.
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rindiCommented:
Then You will need a 3rd party tool to do that for you, like acronis diskdirector suite (http://acronis.com). This tool can be used to manipulate partitions. But again, a backup is essential. There might be some free, opensource tools available as well, but I've never yet tried them and therefore don't know how they work. Also I don't know the syntax you would need. These free tools are rather complicated to use, and acronis is simple and in some case may even run without needing a to shutdown the system.

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ZabagaRCommented:
Are you saying you have a DELL Power Edge 1750, as in "What if system is a Power Edge 1750" ?

Why don't you install Dell's OpenManage Array Manager?  I use all dell servers and the array manager is nice.  You can download from Dell.  It should have come on a CD with your system actually. Make sure you download the latest one.

The Dell Array Manager will replace Windows 2003s drive manager mmc.

You can stick the 4th drive in and tell it to rebuild, adding in your new drive.  It takes a number of hours and you really shouldn't be accessing the machine while it rebuilds.  Start it off-hours or on the weekend, unplug the network cable, and let it crunch.  It may take 4hrs to 6hrs.....

I have done this a few times with Dell servers.  N'er a problem.

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fox404Author Commented:

Hi ZabagaR ,

I'm sorry, I not very good at Dell 's server, so I need to confirm :-
I have Array Manager installed.  and it is currently managing my RAID 5 harddisks, which are a 36GB x 3  .  Usable spaces are   (3-1) x 36GB => 72GB.

Does that means if I put in the 4th drive ( a new 36GB), I add it into the system to become a member of the current one,  after rebuild it,  I will manage to get  (4-1) x 36GB  =>  108 GB ?   Does my data will be gone?

After I physcially add in the Harddisk, then I power on the server,  is there anymore other setting such as change or update the BIOS settings, so that the system will 'aware' there is a newly harddisk added in ?

Please advise,  Many Thanks to you.
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rindiCommented:
Adding another 36GB Disk to the array will increase the space by this disk, yes. You will have to use the dell utility to expand the array, and once this is done, you will see the extra space in diskmanager. You can then either use this space as an extra partition or you can extend your current partitions. The BIOS shouldn't matter, and if everythings goes well, your data will still be there, but a tested backup is nevertheless an absolute must.
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ZabagaRCommented:
fox404 -

Yes, you can add the 4th 36gb drive to expand the raid-5 set without losing any data.
As I was saying, I've done this a few times with Dell servers - last time about 2 months ago.

You will end up with 108gb space for data - correct.

Here's how I did my upgrades:

- Powered off server
- Physically added new drive
- Power up server to Windows 2000/2003
- Go to Dell Array Manager Utility
- You see a column of drives in the RAID5 set and in another column the new 32gb single drive will be listed.
- You add the new drive to the existing RAID5 set.
- You'll see the status of the set change to "rebuilding" or "building".
- This will run for quite a few hours, during which I'd keep the server away from any I/O access. Take it off the network (unplug the network cable). The last time I did this it ran for 6-8 hrs.
- When the raid5 status changes to "online" you're done.

As Rindi said, it's always wise to have a recent backup before making changes like that.  You just need to get bitten once and it's a lesson you'll never forget.
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fox404Author Commented:
Hi ZabagaR  and Rindi,

thanks for providing me such a useful and details guide,
but before i go on and proceed, i have any enquiry.

based my the question i asked,  I had 2 Logical drive which is on the 3 RAID5 harddisk,
they are  at present a D drive  and E Drive (they are actually 2 partitions sitting on this
RAID5).
my D drive was configures as 10GB  now left 3.2GB  ,
E drive configured for 62GB, now left 2GB.

So if I add in this new harddisk to be part of the RAID5,  that is for sure I had an additional of 36GB,  but my question is how am i going to adjust my D and E drive, to have more space, it is at present left with 3.2GB and 2GB respective.

Thank you.
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rindiCommented:
In some cases you can use windows' commandline tool "diskpart" (it comes with windows XP and windows 2003 server, but also works on windows 2000, you can copy it there) to enlarge partition sizes. It has a "Extend" function. If you enter "diskpart /?" you will get a list of possible commands. If diskpart doesn't work in your case, you will have to a use a commercial product like volume manager (symantec) or acronis disk director suite (http://acronis.com). Volume manager is expensive and I don't know if it works with current windows Server OS's. Partitionmagic of symantec does the same thing, but can't be installed on servers (It may still work if run directly off a bootable CD, I haven't tried that yet).

There are also some free products, but they are more difficult to use. I think there are 1 or 2 such products on the UBCD (http://ultimatebootcd.com), or you can also use knoppix (a linux distro that comes complete off bootable CD, http://knoppix.net), which includes QtParted.

Be aware that it is absolutely necessary that you have a working backup before you try manipulating partitions. Things can allways go wrong, although they shouldn't. Particularly if you try one of the free tools, which are complicated to use.
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ZabagaRCommented:
Rindi says it!

Rindi, do you remember where the extra space initially goes?  I'm sure it will either get automatically tacked on to either his D: or E: drive. But I don't recall; brain freeze of some sort I'd suspect.

If Fox wants to manipulate logical drive sizes, he'll need a disk partitioner like you said Rindi.  I was using Paragon's utilities on a boot-up CD rom.  So I'd boot with my CD into the utils and re-do the partitions. Then when windows boots up, it runs its own checkdisk and that goes for a while before it can complete boot-up.

Fox404 you should be ok with it.  Do you have a test machine you can work with?  I have a "lab environment" so I am always able to try these procedures on a server that means nothing - - which is a great way to learn the best way to accomplish something like this.

-z-
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rindiCommented:
The extra space is just there but not yet assigned. You could use diskmanager and setup a new partition, for example. You'll see it as unnalocated space in diskmanager.
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ZabagaRCommented:
Did I not help you arrive at the answer to your primary question?
Maybe you're not familiar with the process of accepting an answer or answers & closing out a question.
I'm a bit peeved because I spent a lot of time & energy pointing you toward a solution.

That certainly may effect your ability to draw answers from others in the future.

-Z-
[aka Rob]
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fox404Author Commented:

Hi Rindi,

well, setting up a new partition is not the main point, what we want to do is to make d and e drives to have more space.

on the other hand, u mean to me, about http://acronis.com .
Have you ever try its products call 'Acronis True Image 8.0 Server for Windows' .

I am not sure can it perform the following task :-
on this Dell RAID5 server, I intend to do a image of the whole system, before i carry on to add in the new harddisk. not sure if the software can do that.

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fox404Author Commented:


hi ZabagaR,

as u mentioned to me the steps to rebuild the raid, after finish, i will expected to see a new drive right?  i cannot image what is it be like?
becoz what i need is that after rebuild, i wish to have my D and E drives capable to have more spaces.
in this case, how to justify  after rebuild, i can have more space on D and E.

please advise.
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fox404Author Commented:

Hi ZabagaR,

Please do not be misunderstood,  I really no not know to
not familiar with the process of accepting an answer or answers,
Please advise me how i am going to award the points.

Please advise me,  thanks.

Hope trhat you don't misunderstood, I am readily to award you and rindi the points,
it is jsut that i do not familiar . how can i award you the points?
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rindiCommented:
Thanx,

Yes I have used acronis trueimage server before and it has worked. You can use it to create image files of your disk's partitions. I haven't tried it with the hardware you are using, though. You should be able to download the trial version to find out if it works with your hardware (I don't know if the trial is fully functional).
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