How to add one more hdd in the existing raid5

Hi,I have domain controller and raid5 configured with 3nos of 146gb hdd.i am planning to add one more 146gb hdd and rebuild the raid without destroying existing data of DC and Exchange.
sgiriAsked:
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markdmacConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Could not agree with you more in that respect Alan.  My dad always used to tell me that if you go to bed and you did not learn anything that day you should never have gotten out of bed in the morning.  I like to live my life by that rule.  It is good to know there are kindred spirits out there.  Thanks for the discussion, it has been most enjoyable.

To the OP, SQIRI, I think you have your answer that the HP hardware will support just expanding the array.  If you are not familiar with the steps for doing that you might want to call HP directly for exact steps as they will probably assist you over the phone for free (I know Dell would do that but I don't typically deal with HP support).  And before you start just verify you have good backups in case of Murphy's Law kicking in such as bad UPS during a power outage etc.
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SteveIT ManagerCommented:
Depends on the controller for your RAID array; ours for example is HP.

To extend the array i power down the server, install the drive then during boot i press F6 to enter the configuration for the array and from there i can extend it
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sgiriAuthor Commented:
yes our server also hpdl380g5,if i do the way you said,will i lose my data?
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
You can add the new disk, then you will need to reconfigure the raid via the HP RAID Configuration Utility to expand the RAID array.
Once the RAID array has been expanded, you can then extend the disk volumes on your server, or utilise the extra space.
Please read page 24 of the following manual:
http://www.docs.hp.com/en/9320/acu.pdf 
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rindiCommented:
It depends on the array controller, but usually expanding the array won't result in any data loss. Also, with the controllers used in Servers like HP or Dell etc., you normally just insert the new HD, no need to shut the server down for that. It normally is better to do it that way. To make sure your controller is hot-swappable, read it's manual...

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markdmacCommented:
I recommend using a backup product that does not require an OS to be installed to restore.  Backup your server with ShadowProtect by StorageCraft.  Rebuild the array.  Boot to the ShadowProtect CD, restore your data.  

It doesn't matter if your hardware is SUPPOSED to be able to expand an array (I've never seen that work: rebuild when replacing a bad disk yes, but never expand) or not, you cannot runt he risk.  Your first step MUST be to ensure you have a good backup.  If you don't have ShadowProtect then be prepared to reinstall a base OS so you can access your backup to do the full restore.

You could get away with doing a full evaluation of ShadowProtect for free, I am sure you will see the value of the product and buy it.  What I also like about it is the ability to do a hardware independent restore (HIR).  The HIR allows you to restore your server to new hardware in the event of a hardware failure and it will update drivers at the time of restore.  It saves you hours of time.
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Expanding an Array on an HP RAID controller is perfectly safe - I have done this numerous times and never had a problem (maybe I have been lucky).
I would not be buying any additional software to perform a backup - if you want to be extra safe, make sure you have a full backup first, but I have never needed to do this.
I have about a dozen HP server I manage and have at one time or another expanded pretty much all of them, including my own two HP servers.
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rindiCommented:
I do recommend that you have a good working backup, but this in itself has nothing to do with your intention of expanding the array. A backup is necessary anyway (a Raid 5 array is not a substitute for a backup), things can always go wrong.

But I agree with the above, expanding the array is safe to do as long as you have a good and reliable Controller which supports this. Do make sure that the Controller's firmware is up-to-date before you start, and the array is 100% functional, and also make sure the controller's battery is good.
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markdmacCommented:
I am amazed at the readiness of my peers above to suggest you make any change to hardware that holds your data without stressing the need for backup.  My first concern would be for user error since you have never done this before.

I agree with what Rindi has said about updating firmware, but once again I would NEVER do that without knowing I had a good backup in case the hardware update went bad.  Your RAID array configuration is stored on that controller.  If anything goes wrong and you need to replace the controller you will need to restore from backup.

As a consultant for the past 15 years I have been around the block a number of times.  In that time I have learned that while something SHOULD be safe it is not ALWAYS safe.  Crap happens and when working with customer data I always err on the side of caution.  The best way for me or one of my coworkers to get fired or lose a customer or get my company sued is to take on a project like you are looking to do without first taking a good backup and verifying we can access that backup as well.

It doesn't matter what backup product you use, I am recommending the product I am because it is very flexible, because in the event that your controller freaks out or you accidentally make a mistake on it, you can restore without the extra steps of first installing an OS like you would need to do with NTBackup.  As stated above you can do a free trial eval of the product too, so no need to buy it but I bet you will.
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
RAID array configuration is not stored on the controller - it is stored on the disks.
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markdmacCommented:
Alan, are you saying that you could just swap out both the controller in the event of a failure and a disk in the array at the same time?
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Yes - exactly that.  As long as the controller is up-to-date in terms of firmware, you just swap out the controller and bingo.  It boots happily.
Replaced several controllers (even my own ML350 G3 - the only non-Redundant part!) and server came straight back up.  Also had to replace an Adaptec 2420 controller and it initially didn't work, but after a firmware upgrade, I stopped sweating.
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Sorry - reading your comment properly - I'm not saying you can swap out both at the same time.  I'm saying the RAID info is held on disk, not controller.
I have never suffered a controller and HDD failure at the same time (thankfully), although technically, I can't see why you can't.
 
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markdmacCommented:
Alan, thanks for your clarification.  I am always happy to learn something new and think I did here.  I still feel my advice for backup is sound and is best practice.  All too often backups are neglected and never tested.
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
I'm not knocking the backup - always better to err on the side of caution.  Perhaps I fly by the seat of my pants too much and trust my hardware?
I would definitely backup the server and an imaged backup is easier to restore than a file copy backup, but I have never had to do this expanding an HP array, but then I guess, someone out there will advise that it happened to them.
I always thought RAID was written on the controller, but was happy to find that on replacing a controller like-for-like, everything worked.
EE is a great learning site - on both sides.  I have learnt plenty by participating in Questions that I didn't know before I came here.  It also keeps my knowledge sharp.
I learnt something one day - went to a potential new customer and was able to happily report my new knowledge to them and ultimately, won the business as a result : )
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Absolutely.  Couldn't agree more.
@sgiri - Hopefully the link to the HP article should help you expand the array but I would suspect markdmac is right that they will talk to you on the phone as long as the server is under warranty.
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