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windows 2003 x64: raid50 in disk management showing extra split unallocated spaces

Posted on 2009-07-07
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Last Modified: 2013-11-29
Server: HP Proliant ML180 G6, 8GB memory, dual processor, Controller P410, 8 SAS disks @ 1TB each, Hardware Raid50 build on controller P410

I have a problem with the way the raid came up within windows disk management.  Initially when setting up server with the smart start cd it asks to build the recommened RAID5+0 or Raid50 followed up by the installation of the OS on a system disk (C drive partition set up with 100GB).  But now within Windows Disk Management i would like to build the extra volume/partition as an F drive of the rest of the available space.  Disk Management though shows 2 seperate unallocated spaces one 1948gb and the other 3540gb.  Not the usual 1 block of unallocated space to create one volume out of the the rest of the unallocated space.  Also only one of the available unallocated spaces (1948gb) i am able to create a partition making it to an F drive.  If you right click on the 2nd available unallocated space the option to create any sort of volume/partition.  I assume volume might be hard being its hardware raid but the array configuration utility from HP does not give me the option to create an additional drive.  Also we called HP and they explain that its not a hardware problem and must be something in windows why it came up in 2 sections (???).  Anyway if anyone has advise on this issue I will appreciate it.  I dont want to start over completely as I already did quite a few things for what this server is going to be used for.  But i do need to find a way to properly create that extra partition/volume of one whole block.  I am attaching a picture for the visual out of disk management.  There you can see the System Disk (C Drive) and the 2 additional unallocated spaces.  And on the picture i right clicked on the 2nd block with no options avail.
w2k3-x64-disk-raid50.JPG
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Question by:mpamertech
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 24796490
this is not the problem but normal behavior of the drive partitioned in MBR style. MBR partitioning style is limited to 2048GB size that you cannot exceed by creating additional partitions.
To overcome this problem the GUID Partitioning table (GPT) was invented.
It allows partitioning and formatting drives like yours.
What I would suggest you as a very simple and easy to handle solutions is connect one more HDD of 100GB and install\mograte the OS to.
Then boot the server from this drive (newly installed non RAID 100GB drive) and delete this 100GB partition from basic 5588GB drive.
After that convert the drive into GPT style so to use entire space for your needs. It will serve as excellednt data partition for you.
Conversion can be done simply, right click on the  drive where its size is written and select Convert to GPT. Note, it is have no partitions to be converted to GPT type.
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Author Comment

by:mpamertech
ID: 24804487
all my aviailable slots are maxed out.  In this case then all drives are in a raid50 config.  I assume then the solution of adding a drive wont work unless i start completely over from sratch?  Also what would you suggest the approach be then in building this raid using 8 drives @ 1tb each.  Should i just set up 1 single drive of 1tb with the OS without any failover and then the rest in a raid 50?  My strategy was to build the raid 50 on all.  Then split up one chunk for the system at about 100GB (C drive) and then the rest  of the available space as a data drive (F Drive).  please advise?
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by:noxcho
ID: 24804644
Taking out one 1TB HDD and install OS onto it is the only way you have.
Currently you can backup installed OS (entire partition) and then restore it to single HDD that would serve you best.
Should i just set up 1 single drive of 1tb with the OS without any failover and then the rest in a raid 50? - YES.
As the size exceeds 2048GB then you have no other choice. I know the only OS that can install onto GPT drive - Windows 2003 Itanium Edition.
So go on with single HDD as OS residing drive plus RAID50 as data drive.

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Author Comment

by:mpamertech
ID: 24806758
Can you elaborate on how to backup the conmplete 100GB partition and restore it as is?  Special software or do you mean just by backing up the system state and restoring it. What about the all the other stuff liek driver problems that were resolved, extra programs installed on c?  Any idea?  Additional details on the backing up part, how to approach it and restore it the easiest way?  I assume it also actually involves installing the windows 2003 base again on the new disk and then do some sort of restore?  Please advise?
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 24807068
Backup\Restore of system state will not work.
I use Drive Backup 9.0 and Hard Disk Manager 2009 in our company for such tasks, both made by Paragon: www.paragon-software.com
I am not sure if it will work for such huge drives as I failed last time to handle 4TB drive with it.
But you  can look for free drive cloning or backup\restore solutions.
Or use Ghost for backup restore. The difficult step here is to detect such huge configuration for backup software. Restore is not the issue to my mind but first you need to backup what you have =)
What I recommend is:
a)Backup the existing system partition
b)Rebuild RAID
c)restore the backup to 1TB drive
d)Boot from this 1TB drive
Look this link: http://www.thefreecountry.com/utilities/backupandimage.shtml#imaging
Your main requirement is support of drives bigger than 2TB.
If none found then backup go with Window NTbackup solution (reinstall of system will be requested).
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Author Comment

by:mpamertech
ID: 24822833
OK i used our existing backup software CA Arcserve backup 12.5 to backup the C drive and system state to a LTO HP Storageworks loader.  I also proceeded witht he suggestions of redoing the server from scratch.  I set up the logical drives with the HP Array Utility when it boots up with the CD as it asks for a place the install OS.  One 1tb drive for C and the remaining in a raid 5 (i abondened the raid 50 idea).  Once windows comes up I will be able to confirm how this now shows up in disk management and if convert is possible.  It does not give options to do anything else from the controller out or hp array config utility.
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noxcho earned 500 total points
ID: 24822980
Yep, you will have to work further from Windows Disk Management span-in.
When system is up enter the WDM, make sure RAID5 has no volumes, right click on drive and select Convert to GPT.
It should work for you.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mpamertech
ID: 31600647
Noxcho you were advise is greatly appreciated.  This solution you provided worked exactly as explained.  Once again EE and its experts show why we have our membership.  It came up beautiful and I was able to convert as mentioned and all came into on block.  This big headache is now gone.  Thanks again.
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