troubleshooting Question

Additional storage space on ESX servers

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minicomFlag for Montenegro asked on
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I have an unusual problem how to upgrade storage space on our VMWare ESX servers.
We own two ESX servers  ver 3.5 u3, Std license and identical HW on both HPDL380 G5 servers (RAM- 32 GB, CPU- 2xDualCore, HDD- 2x72 GB RAID1 with ESX OS + 6x146 GB RAID5 for VMachine storage). This was intented to be a TESTING configuration and not for production purposes until we get some adequate LUN space to store VM.  New LUN will  not be accessible in the next six or more months, and in the mean time several production servers (for different reasons) have been migrated to VM. Now I have a insufficient storage space for  VM and 12 new 300 GB HDDs planned for upgrade .

The real problem here is the downtime. Many of this servers (now VM) has been intended to work 24h per day and any interuption of them is a potential problem (I was aware of this problem before this happened but it wasnt my decision...not important anymore) .

These are some of the posibilities that I considered :
1. Backup/Restore: backup all servers from node, change HDDs, create RAID, restore servers.. It takes too many hours of downtime, I would rather try some other option.
2. RAID5: I could change one-by-one HDD that works in RAID5  with bigger one.  But this way it will be recognized only 146 GB per disk of 300 GB size.
3. FreeNAS: Prepare 3rd DL380G5 server with some FreeNAS (or similar NAS)program and transfer VM. It looks good but I dont have experience with these programs and not sure how they work with.

Any new suggestions or help for the 3rd ? Thank you.
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