HP ML350 G5

Posted on 2009-04-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a server on a Raid 5 with 3 146GB drives (in the 1st 3 slots)and 1 hot spare in slot 4.  
We're running out of server space and purchased another 146GB Drive.
I believe the HP's windows Raid Utility allows me to expand the RAID while online.
Here are two avenues that I'm contemplating---please let me know which one works better and more importantly---are there any flaws in the game plan.....add any tips you can for it.
quick question:  (do I need to shut the server down to add the drive as its supposed to be hotswapable, or can I just insert it while its online.   And, how long does the expansion process take--approximately?

Option 1.  
IF do-able, I can use the HP's windows Raid utility to go through the expansion wizard.  If it allows me--I choose the hotspare for use as the expandable drive.  This way I don't have to bring the server down during the day.  After the expansion, I can bring the server down briefly, add the new drive in slot 5, and configure it as a hotspare.

Option 2:
I shut down the server, add the new drive in slot 5. Bring the server back online.
Run through the utility wizard to use the drive in slot 5 for expansion.
Question by:seven45
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LVL 55

Expert Comment

ID: 24098732
It's preferable to plug the new disk in live, once it is plugged in open the Array Configuration Utility under programs - HP system tools, select the array and the option should be shown in the right hand pane to expand array, once completed this you save the configuration. You won't have to juggle about with the hot spare this way.

Then you have 2 options, either create a new logical drive on the array using the spare space, then go into disk manager and format it and give it a drive letter or select a current logical disk and select to extend that. It's not too easy to expand C: under Windows, other drives can be extended by using diskpart. Do not convert to dynamic in disk administrator, it just gets in the way.

Bear in mind that online capacity expansion is not enabled on all the Smart Array controllers unless they have a cache battery so you may have to buy one before the expand options are available. Tell me which card it has in it and I can check for you.

It takes ages to expand, 4GB/hour is a common estimate but don't worry - you can carry on work with minimal loss of performance and parity is preserved while it is doing it.

Author Comment

ID: 24100256
Thanks for the response---I'm glad to hear that I can plug in the new HD while the server is still on.  

THe Smart Array Controller is the E200i.  

An update to further complicate matters: Just this morning, I saw slot 2 drive (it has two lights ....left one is blinking green but the right is blinking red).    I checked the  HP System Management Homepage which shows the predictive Indicator S.M.A.R.T status: Replace Drive.   SCSI Bus Faults: 9 Hard Write errors: 7.    
  I'm assuming it might be better make sure all drives are stable before expanding.
IF I remove the physical drive in slot 2 while its online, will the hotspare automatically take over?  would it be organizationally better to pull the hotspare from slot 4 and pop it into slot 2 and let Smart Array rebuild automatically?
LVL 55

Expert Comment

ID: 24100692
I think you are still in warranty so first I would phone HP for a replacement.

I would pull the drive that has the error and yes, the hot spare will kick in, as soon as you put a disk in the bay it will rebuild onto that because hot-spares are only temporary with HP RAID controllers. Do not move the hot spare to bay 2 because that will really confuse the controller.

You won't be able to do any array manipulations while the spare is active or when it is rebuilding so I would put off the expansion for a day or so.

The e200i doesn't allow RAID 5 without a battery backed write cache enabler so you've already got a battery, it may not allow expansion while you've got SMART errors, I'm not sure.
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Author Comment

ID: 24116787
Thanks for your reponse:  We happened to have a (new) spare drive from an unbuilt server that I was able to pop into bay 2.  SMART kicked in as excepted and started the rebuild process.  

I agree with waiting for all rebuilds to be completed before attempting to expand the RAID.
I'm planning on inserting the new drive and using the ACU to expand/extend the RAID.  Once RAID is complete, I'll then use diskpart.exe in windows to expand the data volume.    Currently, I have c:\ as the system volume, and D:\ as the data volume.   So I'm planning on using diskpart.exe /Extend on the D:\ volume.
Please let me know if im on the right track.  
LVL 55

Accepted Solution

andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 24116865
Should work fine. Although diskpart works online it's best to keep other I/O to a minimum when it's doing its stuff.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31568102
Thanks for the assistance.  Additional factors came into play (wrong disk was shipped)so I had to change the strategy.  I used the current HOT SPARE to perform the expansion (after removing it from being a hot spare).  I used this disk and expanded the array, then extend it through the ACU.   After all that was completed, I used diskpart to extend the data volume in windows.  At a later time, I inserted a new drive and assigned it as a hot spare.

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