repartition windows server/sql server - options and alternatives
Posted on 2006-04-12
We have a tricky situation, and I need help reviewing possible approaches. I'll be splitting points for multiple answers and would really value a number of opinions.
Here's the deal: a few weeks ago, a client of ours ran out of space on her server. We've been warning her about it for months, but we've been ignored. Well, it happened, the server went down, and we were called in to fix it. Big surprise.
A little background: they try to do most of their server maintenance in house, and the server throws a couple dozen non-critical errors a day. Both my server guys say the server's a wreck, and they don't want to spend money for healthy server checkups. So we get called in to fix it when there are problems, which is rather frequent.
They run Windows 2003, with Exchange, with a resource-intensive business software system that uses SQL Server. They have two 80gb hard drives in mirrored RAID, split into two partitions: C drive for all the apps and app-related data, D drive for file storage only. The C drive is what ran out of space.
First question: what would YOU have done at this point?
We chose to repartition the C drive using Paragon Partition Manager. This seems to me like a very reasonable and responsible course of action, although certainly not ideal. It also had the advantage of being lost cost, both for software and our time. But things didn't go as planned. When the server came back up, the business software wouldn't run due to a SQL error--not a data error, but a SQL application error. At that point, we suspect reinstalling SQL server would have fixed it, but we had them call in their software consultants who knew the software.
Second question: any thoughts on why the repartition could have caused this problem? I know it's a broad question, but I really think this SHOULD have worked. Am I wrong?
And that's where we get into dualing opinions: the software consultants said we did a ridiculous thing and you should NEVER EVER repartition SQL server.
So, my third question: is there any reason that repartitioning SQL server is a no-no? Could this be a software specific thing or is there something obvious we missed?
Then the fun continued...they finally followed our advice to have another company come in and install a new server, just like we've recommended for months. More dualing opinions: the new tech company said they wouldn't have done a repartition, they would have simply ghosted the hard drive and replaced with two larger drives.
So, that's the third question: is this 20/20 hindsight or truly a better, cheaper approach? What are the pros and cons of that approach vs the repartition? If it's a recommended approach, what software/hardware would we need to do this efficiently in the future?
We're now in an uncomfortable spot because the business owner says we obviously were in over our heads and made a bad choice that caused her business to shut down for three weeks (the other tech company had some trouble moving Exchange to a new server--not our fault but we're getting blamed for that too!). Things really weren't down like she says--it was mainly her email that was the issue--but it's getting a little touchy.
If we really screwed up, tell me what we should have done. If you think we could have done something better, we'll add those ideas into our process, for any similar situations in the future. If what we did made perfect sense, tell me your experience and give me ammo to help me sort this out with the business owner.