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Want to add more RAID storage to Dell Poweredge 2600

I'm in a position where my exchange database has gotten pretty large and I want to add more storage as new drive to move the database to.  

What would be the steps I'd take to go about this?  I'm not too familiar with this particular unit.  Right now there are 3 37 gig drives inserted into the machine, and in windows it shows a single 67 gig drive with 3 partitions.   Raid 5?

What kind of drives do I need, and what is the reccomended configuration?  Should I get two drives for a Raid 1 configuration?  

Also, which kind of trays or inserts would I need to insert the drives? It looks like I have three available slots.

Thanks!
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swiftny
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swiftny
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3 Solutions
 
arnoldCommented:
You should go with a raid 10 http://www.raid.com/04_01_10.html.
You'll benefit from improved performance/reliability at the cost of a drive per pair.
An in place replacement could prove difficult.  Make sure you have a good backup setup/disaster recovery plan.

You could two additional 37 GB drives and expand the RAID 5.  Then expand the partition where the database is.

Is a new server an option? if so, you might be better off as it will provide you with several benefits with the cost as the only downside.

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swiftnyAuthor Commented:
I'm not interested in touching the existing drives or partitions.... I'd rather just add another drive and move the database, which can be done pretty easily (it's an exchange database).

Do I have to expand the RAID 5 or can I just add another RAID?  If I can just add a couple of large drives that would be ideal.
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arnoldCommented:
The addition of another raid should not be a problem depending on which raid controller you have as well as whether it is up-to-date as are the drivers.
You could add an additional drive and expand the existing RAID array, but the expansion of the particular extention, could add additional complexity.

Are  you considering two raid 1 pair of 146GB drives?  
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TheBrothaULuv2H8Commented:
To upgrade do the following....


It sounds like you have a RAID 5 array.  

While the system is on, pull one drive (I'm assuming you have hot-swappable drives?)
Insert a new LARGER capacity drive
Let the drive REBUILD automatically (sometimes you have to use array manager to force a rebuild)
When the rebuild is complete, repeat the process 2 more times to increase capacity.


Remember:  YOU MUST DO THEM ONE AT A TIME!!  PULL OLD ONE OUT, INSERT NEW LARGER CAPACITY, REBUILD, WHEN DONE REBUILDING, DO THE NEXT DRIVE.  
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Dean ChafeeIT/InfoSec ManagerCommented:
Like "TheBrotha" said, looks like you have RAID5.  Your PE2600 should be running a PERC 3/Di Raid controller (look in Device Manager to verify). Your best bet is to build an additional Raid5 array with the three additional drive bays. You can get the drive carriers from Dell spare parts, or call your Dell rep. You must buy these from Dell, or if you could try to find them on eBay. The PE 2650 or PowerVault 220 drive carriers should work in your PE2600 as well.
I think the best bang for your buck would be 3 x 146gig Raid5 which would yeild about 260gig formatted. Or if you want to save a few bucks, do the Raid1.
You should then be able to expand your Exchange DB to the new drive array, but I am not an Exchange expert... please consult one :-)
As far as TheBrosha's solution, I don't think that works. With each drive installed it will only use the capacity of the smallest drive in the array.
Hope this helps.
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TheBrothaULuv2H8Commented:
FixingStuff:

My solution would work to upgrade the overall capacity of your array, I do it all the time.  But the full capacity of the array won't be upgraded until ALL 3 DRIVES are inserted and REBUILT.  

For example, once you replace one of the 3 drives with a larger drive, then wait for it to finish REBUILDIND it will still show the old size.  Then you replace drive number 2, rebuild, once completed, go to drive 3, replace it, rebuild THEN the capacity will reflect that of a larger capacity.

Due to the nature of RAID all drives must be replaced with larger drives before it will reflect the new size.
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Dean ChafeeIT/InfoSec ManagerCommented:
@TheBrothaULuv2H8 .. ok, I'll have to try that sometime. That's an easy upgrade path if all goes well. thanks.
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TheBrothaULuv2H8Commented:
No problem.  They key is you must INSERT and REBUILD each drive 1 AT A TIME!  I can't stress that enough.  If you try to pull all drives out at the same time and replace them all at the same time.  There's no data to rebuild, thus you get nothing.  =)
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swiftnyAuthor Commented:
Wow, drives are expensive.... are 147 gig drives supposed to go for around 600 bucks? Hopefully I'm looking in the wrong place.
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arnoldCommented:
Scsi drives are significantly more expensive then the SATA/IDE drives.  They are geared towards the server environment.
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TheBrothaULuv2H8Commented:
swifyny, arnold is right, SCSI drives are much more expensive.  

But be sure to look around and find the best price.  I've dealt with a few vendors in the past for cheap replacement COMPAQ SCSI drives with hot swap tray.  


Stalliontek.com
Sillworks.com


Of course there are a ton of others, your best bet is to google the part # and you should see various prices from different sites.

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Dean ChafeeIT/InfoSec ManagerCommented:
$600 is the going rate for 15K RPM 146g scsi.  Do you need the 15K RPM performance?  If not, look for the 10K RPM drives which go for a little over $300.
CDW example:
http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/specs.aspx?EDC=733446

You can do better on price than CDW if you do your shopping. Try NewEgg.com
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