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Replacing Scsi drive in Raid 5 with partitions

Here is my situation:  I have a Dell PowerEdge 2800 that works well with Server 2003.  It has raid 5 with 3 hard drives for a total usable space of 136 gig so I assume that means each hard drive is around 70 gig.  The guys that installed it partitioned the drives – which I like but I have less than 1 gig of free space on the partition with the OS installed on it.  I can probably do some cleaning and get it to 2 gig or so.  Also, I have a flashing amber light on my second drive and no green light.  It flashed amber for a while with a green light, now it only flashed a quick amber.  So here is what I would like to accomplish:

1.      Replace the bad hard drive
2.      Increase overall storage (I realize this will take replacing all 3 drives)
3.      Make the OS partition larger

Is there a way to do this without having to reinstall the OS?
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Top Expert 2010

if you have a free slot, then you can add another 73G disk. this gives you a full useable 73 gigs which can be distributed between the existing luns or partituons any way you want.

use acronis or ghost to make a cold metal backup and restore... but make sure the version you use has the correct raid drivers.

so backup.  add new drive. then resize raid then restore.  these products will habdle restore to a larger logical drive easily
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
Top Expert 2010

Alternating green/amber means the drive is in a predicted failure state - almost always means the drive is bad.  Now it flashing amber indicates it has failed.  The drive should be at least 73GB and should be replaced "hot".  I would recommend installing OpenManage Server Administrator to monitor the rebuild and the health of the array from here on out.


Download and run to extract files, then run C:\Openmanage\windows\setup.exe.  Choose Custom installation and make sure that Storage Management (and all sub-features) is installed.

Dlethe's method of reinstalling/restoring OS on the desired partition sizes is the safest, but there are some other options:
1) Purchase a third-party utility that can resize partitions while keeping data intact.
2) Use Dell's ExtPart or a Server 2008 DVD to expand C.  This will involve backing up and deleting your D (or whatever is next to it) partition first, as they can only expand into Unpartitioned Space.

Also, when dlethe says "add drive. then resize raid" ... it is easiest in this scenario to simply add a fourth drive, create a new array of the desired size (around 200GB), then restore to the larger array.  In this scenario, you could also just delete your existing array (after backing up), replace your 73GB drives with 146GB drives, then create a new RAID 5 with them, and have around 280GB of total storage space.

If you choose an option other than reinstall/restore, make sure you have a backup, as there is no risk-free way to expand a system partition in Server 2003.
Top Expert 2010

One thing you are not clear on.   Does the RAID allocate storage into:

(1) single LUN that is partitioned into 2 drives
or (2), 2 LUNS, each with a single partition.

In the case of #1, then just about any partition manager will do that rather easily.  heck, even windows can resize partitions.
In case of #2, then most controllers won't let you resize logical drives, because this is not just changing a partition header.  

So be specific, is RAID controller configured to present 1 or 2 logical drives.  Does the PC see 1 Hard drive with 2 partitions, or 2 hard drives.  Screenshot of disk administrator if you are not sure.
joemckameyGeneral Manager


Sorry to abandon for so long...

dlethe - I have acronis home and created a boot cd.  Made image of hard drives.  I noticed that Acronis makes a server specific program.  Will this image work even though created with home?

there is only 1 hard drive (comprised of 3 drives) recognized by windows that is partiitioned into two drives.  Sorry not to be clear.

As an update, I purchased an exact replica of my drive that went bad and replaced it...still flashing amber.  I am sure there is some kind of interaction needed on my part to get the process started.

Thanks for all of your help.  Please let me know what you might think the next step is.
IT Consultant
Top Expert 2010
It should begin to rebuild automatically upon sensing a valid drive in the machine.  Occasionally, it will not, so you can start it manually in OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA).  Go to Storage, PERC, enclosure/backplane, Physical Drives, and Rebuild from drop-down menu for drive showing READY.