RAID 5 Hard drive

cmdolcet
cmdolcet used Ask the Experts™
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I ahve only about 30GB left on my RAID 5 Hard Drive on my DELL PowerEdge SERVER 2600 What could i do to upgrade or even add another drive? Is this possible and how would I do this?
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Add another three drives and create another array is the most straightforward solution.
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Most of the raid controllers have an online expansion for the logical drive(s).  It will be a menu choice if it is available.  However, the new disk space will be unallocated.  I.e, if you have RAID5 with 73GB disks, and add a new 73GB drive, then you will end up with a 73GB unused but available space.  Your existing file system(s) will NOT be extended by 73GB.

DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
P.S. before expanding, best practice is to:

1. Make sure you have current RAID firmware and drivers.

2. Perform a data consistency check/repair  This insures that if any disks generated a bad block between the time the RAID controller was last asked to read it, and the time the consistency was run, then it will be repaired.     If you do not do this, and lose a disk, then you will have limited UNRECOVERABLE data loss.

3. Also, unfortunately, Dell also states that you need to perform a full backup.  If you lose a disk, or have power loss, or aren't using ECC RAM, or there is a chance that the expansion will fail and you will not be able to restart it.  This will either leave you in a permanent degraded condition, or worse, corrupted metadata and your  logical disks disappear.   You can easily google experts-exchange or dell's support site and see people who have had this happen to them.  Risk is very low but it is still a possibility.

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Commented:
how much would an upgrade cost?
Far simpler and less risk to add another three drives, create another array and split (or move) your data.

Author

Commented:
Mike_Carroll,

how much would this cost?
President
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
Personally, I would add 2 disks and make it a RAID1. This will have higher performance in both reading and writing then RAID5, and you can use it for swap space, scratch tables, anything that is I/O intensive.  Nothing goes offline and you can just go with it.  If you do not have a hot spare set up, then of course add 3 disks, and make the 3rd one a hot spare.

The hot spare is vital as if you lose a disk you want the raid to automatically kick off a rebuild.  Answered a question a few days ago from somebody that lost 2 drives within a few days of each other and now they have full data loss.  You don't want to lose a disk drive on Friday night before a 3 day weekend, and come back monday and find yourself in that same situation,.

Author

Commented:
dlethe, how much would that be?
For business use, I'd always suggest RAID5. RAID1 is ok and RAID5 might be a bit more costly but it is hard to beat.

Not entirely sure how much this would cost for your server - I'm afraid I'm not a dell dealer. Best bet would be to either contact your support people or Dell and ask them for pricing.
The other difficulty with pricing is that it varies geographically. I'm based in Ireland and the pricing over here is completely different. I'm not sure where dlethe is situated.
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Google and ebay are quite effective in providing price information.

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