Adding additional hard drives to Raid 5 configuration

Posted on 2009-12-21
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I was planning on adding three additional hard drives on a Dell Poweredge server with a Raid5 Perc controller configuration.  I need more space.  Current config is the original 3 drives and I want to add 3 more.  Talking to Dell tonight they "frightened" me into not doing it, saying there was a high chance of data corruption.    I thought I could add the new drives, power up, go into the Raid config on Boot up, add the drives, let it restructure.  Boot up and I have the additional space on my C drive.  Dell is telling me the partitioning process is the risky thing and where most data loss occurs.  I have a complete backup through Acronis and NT backup.  Any thoughts on getting these hard drives in, without major fear?  Thanks
Question by:kevinecaldwell
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    Accepted Solution

    How to extend a data volume in Windows Server 2003, in Windows XP, in Windows 2000, and in Windows Server 2008
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    Expert Comment

    The volume must be formatted with the NTFS file system.
    For Basic volumes, the unallocated space for the extension must be the next contiguous space on the same disk.
    For Dynamic Volumes, the unallocated space can be any empty area on any Dynamic disk on the system.
    Only the extension of data volumes is supported. System or boot volumes may be blocked from being extended, and you may receive the following error:
    Diskpart failed to extend the volume. Please make sure the volume is valid for extending
    You cannot extend the partition if the system page file is located on the partition. Move the page file to a partition that you do not want to extend
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    personally - i WOULD trust acronis...
    do an image.
    recreate the raid
    image back and let acronis resize in the process.
    also - I would look at raid10 rather than raid 5 - for better performance - although it depends on what you are doing - but exchange/sql will see a big benefit in performance from raid 5 to raid 10. if you just have normal files being stored/shared then raid 5 for capacity
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    Expert Comment

    Dell is right ,
    Do backup of Boot partition with acronis as well as data partition, keep 2nd backup of data separately.

    Add three drive in server, got to RAID utility ( hardware Ctrl+s) , delete RAID (old ), Create new RAID with all 6 HDD.
    Restore Boot partition, create large DATA partition and restore from backup

    Important:  Check with acronis BootCD that you can see RAID or use UBCD (universal boot CD Latest Version), Once you Boot with CD you must see RAID otherwise you  will not able to restore Image ( you need RAID driver )

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    Expert Comment

    I've also used Altiris Deployment to "capture" an image of the server, reconfig the array, and then "push" the image back on it.
    Check out Altiris Deployment Solution for Dell Server Migration

    Author Comment

    Thanks for all the info.  I will evaluate how painful this will be.  I didn't want to do this right before the holiday.  That would be no fun, in case it crapped out, to re-build a server.   Thanks
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    Assisted Solution

    Whoa? Why delete the array? I have had no trouble in the past expanding the array. One of the first things to check is to ensure that you have the capability to expand the array in the first place. What this means is that you have to have a battery on the controller in order to enable caching on the RAID controller. If you have a proper battery on the RAID controller, then you can proceed with the array. I would not recommend expanding the RAID with all three drives at once. You can install all three drives in the server itself, but then when you go into the RAID software, you will want to initialize drive 4, then expand the RAID by adding drive 4. Then once the expansion is done, go back and do the same with drives 5 and 6.  This will take some time, but doing one drive at a time is safer than all three at the same time.

    Another side note, in some HP servers that we have, the first 4 drives on are channel A on the controller card, the next two drives are on channel B. The servers do not ship with a cable connecting channel B to the controller card unless specified so you may have to pick up a battery and an additional cable. Don't remember if the Dell's have this as well.

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