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HP MSA20 can't delete some logical volumes

Posted on 2010-08-12
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
HP MSA20 hooked up to GL380 G4 (SmartArray 6i).  Array Configuration Utility shows all 3 logical volumes on the first array.  Only the third volume has "Delete" available as an action.

Unfortunately, I need that one.  I need to kill the first logical volume.

Any ideas why the difference?  Could be a difference whether the volumes were created via bootup BIOS or via the ACU interface?

Drive1 no delete
Drive3 delete OK
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Question by:aleghart
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TechnicallyMaybe earned 200 total points
ID: 33425530
The fact you cannot delete any logical drive but the latest and backwards to the first is normal and by design, it has always been like this and is not limited to the SmartArray controller, i have seen other PCI raid controllers in the market and they behave the same..

Since all of the logical drives are inside the same array A, there is no way to remove any logical drives in between the first and last, if it were different arrays with each a logical drive then it would have been possible in a few steps that i tried myself and which works fine.

So i am afraid you have to backup and restore the data and re-create the logical drive(s) you need in between those two steps.
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by:dlethe
ID: 33425585
Sorry, you have to blow everything away and start over.  This is a firmware limitation of this particular controller.  
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by:aleghart
ID: 33425685
So, I figuratively carved out a slice that can't be used for anything else?

Seems illogical that I can't kill a logical volume.  Sounds like I'd have to build a whole bunch of 2-drive RAID-1 arrays and make single logical drives.  Then I kill arrays to get rid of the volumes.

I've not run into this before, as I've always made one volume per array (small servers where volumes never exceeded 500GB).
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by:dlethe
dlethe earned 100 total points
ID: 33425782
Bottom line, the feature was never programmed and tested.   Same thing  is why some controllers don't have RAID6 or hot snapshot support .. everything can't do everything.  
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 200 total points
ID: 33433328
This isn't a limitation of Smart Array Controller but a limitation of the internal RAID controller in the MSA20.

When a MSA20 is connected to a MSA1500cs it acts like a JBOD and you have the full feature set of the MSA1500cs (which is based on the Smart Array Controller family). When it's connected to a Smart Array Controller it's internal controller is used and the Smart Array Controller just acts as a dumb HBA. You're therefore limited by the firmware of the MSA20, I've no idea who HP OEM'd it off.

You are also limited to only being able to expand the last logical disk in the array when it's in internal controller mode, it's nowhere near as feature-rich as Smart Array Controllers are.

From quickspecs:
NOTE: The MSA20 had an onboard controller module. When the MSA20 is directly attached to a ProLiant server with a Smart Array controller, the MSA20 controller module functions as the array controller and the Smart Array Controller acts as the Host Adapter. When the MSA20 is connected to a MSA1500 controller shelf, the MSA1500 or MSA1510i controller functions as the array controller and present the MSA20 as a JBOD.

(Yes, I know the last line of the quickspecs copy/paste is gramatically incorrect and makes no sense literally but you know what they mean)
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by:aleghart
ID: 33433396
Thanks to all.  I'm seeing the limitations now.

In reconfiguring this box, I have the following limitations:

1. multiple logical volumes per array is not advised...can only alter last volume without having to destroy the array/volumes

2. 2GB limit per logical volume

3. 1.5Gbps max speed on 3Gbps drives

Given those constraints, am I better off making single arrays, like RAID-10 for data with only 4 drives.  Then RAID-1 for my D2D backup volume?

I have found no way with the existing hardware to overcome the 2GB limit, except to make dynamic volumes in Windows...but I don't want to go there.  Easier to stick with smaller volumes and put shares onto them with known space limitations.
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by:andyalder
ID: 33434077
4. Sell it on eBay?

Seriously though it's worth more as emergency spare parts to a maintenance company or as a toy of yesteryear to a home user than something you would use in production. Recycling it as a disk staging area in D2D2T backup would be its ideal resting home.
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by:aleghart
ID: 33434100
I've been using it in production for many years now.  We're moving data now to faster arrays, but still use this for low-volume / high space files like artwork and video.

I understand that newer is better concept...but I'm being practical.  It's worth more in production where it is, considering that asset acquisition is set to be negative again (reduction, disposal, selloff).
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 33434123
Hey, it is safe, reliable data protected by RAID6.  You admit it has been in production for years.  If you don't want it, I'll take it off your hands :)

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by:aleghart
ID: 33434134
My mistake, I think, was in making multiple volumes on the same array many years ago.  Did not realize the limitation, and hey...you never need to re-configure storage, right?  It's all fluid and dynamic.
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by:TechnicallyMaybe
ID: 33435187
That limitation is not well documented at all. It's common to see but usually not an isse.
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by:andyalder
ID: 33435885
You're right there, I don't think it's properly documented at all; the MSA20 user guide just says refer to the ACU user guide as if it was a JBOD.
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Author Closing Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 33458255
Thanks for confirming my problem...nice to know that I'm not completely incompetent.
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