Adding Storage to Server

Hello,

I was looking for some insight to what we are about to do. We have an HP Proliant ML350 G3 server running 2000 server. We are going to swap out all 6 72.8 GB drives with 146.8 GB drives. According to HP it is as simple as ensuring we have a good backup(we do), installing the latest firmware for the controller(I have) and then just pulling out one drive at a time and replace it with the new one. Does that sound about right?

After the drives are all  installed we would like to extend the size of our networked drives. We were looking at Paragon's Partition Magic to just make the existing drives bigger. Will that work or will we need to create new netwoked drives and copy all the files to the new ones and then delete the old ones.

I look foward to some insight from the pros on this as this will be a first for both me and the guy helping me.

Thanks
jglenn49Asked:
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andyalderCommented:
It is as simple as HP say, unless you want to expand C: you can do it all online with no downtime. You are talking about 4GB per hour rebuild rate with RAID 5 though so expect long periods of no redundancy between each drive swap. Many hours rather than a few minutes, RAID 10 on the other hand takes about 10 minutes for each rebuild. You will add 1 hot-unplug to the S.M.A.R.T. info stored on each removed disk if you do the swaps live but I don't suppose you care about the old disks so you can do it all live.

With the latest Firmware and ACU it will probably stretch the OS partitions for you if they are on seperate logical disks, otherwise use diskpart. You shouldn't need offline tools unless you are stretching C:.
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OlskiCommented:
Are you running Raid 5 and do you have a hot swap spare set?
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jglenn49Author Commented:
I will show my ignorance here. In Disc Management it says for all the drives Layout-Partition, Type-Basic, and File System-NTFS. We do not have a spare set. The ones that are in there now will become the spare set after we change the I suppose.

Thanks

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markpalinuxCommented:
Please tell us what type of RAID Array you have. HP likely has an array manager - it should give you some info. like which drives are are part of which raid sets or containers.

Example procedure of what HP is talking about:
Backup - Backup - Backup ( I would recommend a backup with any SQL like or "open files" totally closed )
Check the backup log.

RAID 5 - a group of disks with parity spread across each one, this can tolerate a single drive failure.
Here is an example of what HP is talking about - if your server has 4 drives in a RAID 5 set you would...

remove a drive - server has three drives (if one fails you will loose the array)
add a drive   -  the server would use data on the three to put data on the new one
confirm the array has rebuilt successfully - wait for the array to rebuild this will take some time (hours)
I would let the new drive burn in for a little while - new drives have been know to fail.
loop until all drives has been replaced

after this you will need to reboot, see if windows sees the additional space. if not check the array manager to see if it is limiting what windows sees.
use a server partition product to expand the size of drives that windows sees. ( I would recommend you stick with NTFS basic )
End of example


also be aware people use RAID sets differently, some of my servers have two drives in a mirror (RAID 1) and the remaining drives in a RAID 5 set, etc.

So please
Tell us the number of drives.
Tell us what that array manager shows as the raid sets/containers. (include size / # of disks / RAID Type 0,1,5, etc.)
Tell us what what Windows Disk Manager sees (Include size - I saw above basic NTFS)

And perhaps we can give more help.
Mark
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SysExpertCommented:
HP is correct in their description of how to do this.

You can use the following options. Remember that the partition program needs to recognize your RAID controller !

From PeteLong

Resizing server Partitions

Do Not use tools Like Partition Magic to resize server volumes and partitions.

Normally it will not work anyway - there are claims it can be "Bent to fit" see
http://www.influentialcomputers.com/windows2000-tips-partition-magic.asp
I DO NOT RECOMMEND TRYING THIS!!!

The best tool for doing this is Symantec (formally Powerquest) Volume manager
http://www.pugh.co.uk/Products/symantec/volumemanager-2.htm

However at the moment it does not support Server 2003 (only NT4 and 2000)

The following works on Server 2003
Acronis PartitionExpert 2003
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/partitionexpert/

Also see http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/msit/operations/diskpartnoteonIT.mspx

Normally nothing works on "Dynamic Disks" but there are claims that this does, though Ive not
tried it myself
http://www.guildsoft.co.uk/index.html?page=http://www.guildsoft.co.uk/list.php?subname=VCOM*track=internal

Regards,

PeteLong
-----------------

I hope this helps !
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jglenn49Author Commented:
There are 6 physical drives. We will be replacing all 6. Disk Manager shows 1 logical drive : C 10GB, U 30GB, X 20GB, W 60GB, P 60GB, O 60GB, Free 99GB.

Smart Array 641 Controller
Info from array manager: Logical Drive 1 (347295MB, Raid)

Thanks
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markpalinuxCommented:
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jglenn49Author Commented:
OK, thanks for all the information. One more question that I think I will ask. Since these are hot swappable drives can they be replaced while the server is still up or should we take it off the network. Thanks
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SysExpertCommented:
ALways best to shut it down if you have a maint. Window to do so.

Also consider using 5 drives only, adn the 6th as a hot spare.


I hope this helps !
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jglenn49Author Commented:
Just to confirm, the server can be up and running while this happens. Users will be able to access files on the server?

What will happen to the old disks if it's done live?
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andyalderCommented:
Yup, zero downtime unless a disk fails during a rebuild in which case you have RAID 5 with 2 failed disks and it's restore from backup time. If rebuild priority is set to high users will see some performance degradation but it rebuilds quicker, set to low users see no degradation but it takes longer to rebuild.

The old disks are still usable but after unplugging 3 times this way they start giving predictive failure alerts through Systems Insight Manager but since you know that you pulled them out you can ignore the warning from SIM if you use it.
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jglenn49Author Commented:
Great, thanks for all the info. You have all provided us with a wealth of knowledge as we move foward. If anything comes up during the rebuild I know where I can get help in a hurry.

Thanks
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jglenn49Author Commented:
We just swapped out the 1st drive and I have a question. How do you know when the rebuilding is complete. There is a light on the new drive that is blinking and on the other 5 drives that light is solid so is that the indicator?

Thanks,
Jay
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andyalderCommented:
Yes. The yellow arrows indicate rebuilding, you may get a percentage figure by looking at the array properties with the ACU or the array diagnostic utility.

I would be interested how long your rebuild takes, my initial guess - 12 hours as long as you've disabled any backup job that may kick off overnight.
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jglenn49Author Commented:
Well the blinking has stopped, but I can't access the ACU. I click on it and it looks like it's going to open and then it just doesn't. I want to swap the next disk, but I'm not sure if the 1st one properly rebuilt. When I go into computer management it does not show the additional space.
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andyalderCommented:
That's wierd, try the array diagnostic utlity instead. Search for the word "slot" or maybe "blocks to rebuild" which should be zero against each logical drive.

You won't see extra space until all drives have been swapped and a logical disk extended through the ACU.
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jglenn49Author Commented:
I've been doing the swap at 5 each night and when I get here the next mornig the rebuild is complete, but I can't tell exactly how long it's taking.

Thanks for all the help.
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