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Upgrading SBS2008 Hard drives

Hi, I wonder if someone can help in advance to a problem I have.  I migrated a SBS 2003 to a new HP GL360G5 server and all went well, but it was soon clear that I had speed issues.  The server has 2 3.33ghz dual core processors, 16GB ram and 4 x 250GB (raid 5) drives SATA 5.4k drives.  I have spoken to HP and it's clear my problem is at the drives.  The queue lengh is nearly always at 100% for the drives so I need to replace them.  Trouble is there is no space in the server to create a new raid and move items like the exchange data to.

What I plan to do is backup the data
shut the server down
Use Ghost to create an image of the server
replace the drives with 4 x 15k SAS drives
Use ghost to put the image onto the new SAS Raid

In theory this should work, but I'm just a little concerned about windows not being able to boot from the new image.  My concern is SBS2008 reporting inaccessible boot device, even though the raid controller is the same.  I have only just installed SBS for the first time on this server and I would never think about SATA drives for any SBS install (this was not my choice)

Has anyone done this before, or have advice on how to move over to faster drives?

Many thanks
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dcleaver
Asked:
dcleaver
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1 Solution
 
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
How many users?

There is something funky going on ... even with the performance hit you take for RAID 5 writes, you must have A LOT of users to queue up like that?

Make sure the firmware on your motherboard (BMC, FRU, SDR, etc), RAID Controller, and any other hardware items such as iLO or the like are up to date!

Make sure the drivers for the motherboard chipset and RAID controller are up to date. Reinstall them. They may be corrupted and causing performance issues.

The built-in SBS backup should be able to work migrating from one set of disks to the other without third party intervention. Our experience with Ghost is hit-miss. Prefer ShadowProtect, but others on this forum also like Acronis. Take your pick.

Philip
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dcleaverAuthor Commented:
There are 25 users in total, but most of these are remote users using TS, but 10 max at one time, and only 6 users in the office.  The raid is still initializing, but HP have taken this into consideration, and can still point the blame at the 54k SATA drives.  I know the rebuild of the raid can slow down the system, but to the degree that I'm seeing just isn't right!  In SBS reliability and performance the maximum I have ever seen for the disk is 10meg, and when a user opens outlook, it maxes out with transfer less that 10meg.  At the same time, if you look at the disk queue it sits at 100%, and with no users accessing the server disk access is right down below 10%?
I have updated all drivers and firmware for all components inside the server without any increase.  Maybe I should wait for the rebuild to finish, and see what happens.

Many thanks
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
You won't have problem ghosting it off and back onto SAS disks, the Windows driver for the E200 or P400 doesn't matter if you have SAS or SATA disks on it. (ghost doesn't use this driver, it uses int 13h extensions).

2.5" SATA disks are laptop disks, although HP offer them for sale I've never seen a DL server with them in, the 15K SAS SFF really fly.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
RAID rebuilds do make a huge impact on performance no matter what the speed of the drives.

There will be a correlation between the speed of the drives and the rebuild time, but any drive set will take a hit. Most RAID controllers are set to cycle 30% of their energy to rebuilding or initializing the array.

We used to run initialization on the box before touching it when that process would take many hours to complete. We did that while in the RAID controller's BIOS and left it there until the process was done.

Waiting would be good. Your performance should jump significantly.

Philip
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
>You won't have problem ghosting it off and back onto SAS disks,

Well I said that but actually you will have a problem since you're going to need bigger disks than the current ones and they don't do 300GB 15K SFFs, you'll have to use 10K unless you reinstall. The 10Ks are still 3 times the seek speed of the SFF SATAs though so should do the job.

Whilst it may indeed speed up after background initialization you've really got to scale the system to the degraded speed you would get with a disk failure, it's no good telling the customer that RAID 5 protects their data only for them to find out that the system is unusable if a disk fails.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Andy,
Excellent point! :)

Philip
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dcleaverAuthor Commented:
Andy, I agree with what you say, and will bare your points in mind.  I think in Ghost I can reduce the size of the disk, so I should be OK.

Thanks
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