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How to upgrade hard drive (SAS) capacity in RAID-1 configuration (PowerEdge 1950)

Posted on 2010-08-24
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Hello,

I've PowerEdge 1950 server with 2 x 73GB SAS hard drives installed. The server (Terminal Server) is running on Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 edition. Out of 4 slots, I already used 2 slots for the storage. I created a Virtual Disk with RAID-1 configuration by using Dell OpenManage Server Administration tool I would like to upgrade the storage on each hard drive from 73GB to 146GB.

How can I upgrade both the hard drives while preserving the same RAID-1 configuration? I got this reply from one of the support person "The easiest way would be to backup the current configuration and restore it to bigger one. When talking about replacing HDDs in current RAID1, as you use mirror configuration it must mirror the small drive to new drive. But this often leaves you with unused block of space because mirroring takes place which is equal to smallest drive in pair".

I don't want to reinstall the OS. Any further help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
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Question by:SrinathS
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by:jerrypd
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i would "clone" the drive using a 3rd party program like Acronis or ghost.
thats the easiest way IMHO.
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SysExpert earned 300 total points
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a couple of options

1) Break the mirror and make sure you can still boot.

2) remove the 2nd 73 GB drive and replace with a 146 GB drive

use Imaging software to copy the 73 GB to the 146 GB

remove the 73 GB and replace it with the 146 GB.

Make sure you can boot.
add a 2nd 146 GB, and tell the controller to create the RAID from the first drive to the second ( make sure your controller can do this since otherwise it may wipe the drives.

other option.

remove both 73 GB drives

put in 2x 146 GB drives
create RAID 1

Use Ghost or imaging software to copy from the first 73 GB to the RAID 1 pair.

You will need to test that whatever cloning software you choose can support your Hard drive RAID controller

I hope this helps !
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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The response you got from Dell is correct on a SAS 5/6.  If you have a PERC, then that is a different story, but on a SAS 5/6, once you replace/rebuild each drive, the array will still be the same size with no way of "expanding" the array to occupy the newly available space.

Take an image of your disks and restore it to the new, larger disks configured in a RAID 1.  There is no other way (besides reinstalling from scratch/rebuilding) to do what you are wanting to do.
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by:dlethe
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PowerEdgeTech is correct .. bottom line, you need to backup, rebuild the raid, restore on new partition.  Use decent backup software that will automatically expand the partition for you, rather than a bit-level copy which will require you to go through an ugly resizing of partition process.
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by:SrinathS
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@SysExpert,

Your solution seems to be possible. Because I have used only 2 slots out of 4 slots. I can put new 146 GB drive into 3rd slot to copy the contents for 1st 73GB hard drive. And the same for 2nd drive.

I don't have experience with any backup / restore tools for servers. What type of software do you recommend for this purpose? (for this PowerEdge 1950 server too!)
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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The SAS 5/6 cards will support two Virtual Disks, so you could put the two larger disks in, create a RAID 1, then copy from the first array to the second array.  This can work.  What won't work is replacing/rebuilding each disk individually from your first array with larger disks.  After you have created a second array, you will need some sort of software to do this copy ... imaging software, as we have stated, is the best option to do this, so in the end, you are still imaging one to the other - the source and target are just in the same box.  When all is copied, you will need to change the SAS 5/6 to boot from the second array instead of the first.
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by:SysExpert
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You can download Eval version sof both Acronis and Ghost solution suite ( GSS)

This should be sufficient to do a test to see if the controller is recognized properly.

Then you will need to buy one of them

also check out
http://www.storagecraft.com/

for free solutions that may work see

http://ghost.radified.com/ghost_alternatives.htm
http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=16534

I would not trust most of them without a thorough test, but since you will be moving to new drives, it might save some $$$

make sure that you know how to switch the boot to the second set of RAID 1 ( new drives ) when disabling and removing the original.

Also test booting with a single 73 GB drive for recovery if there are any issues.



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by:SrinathS
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Correct me if I'm going into wrong direction.

  1. I'll put 2 new 146GB hard drives into remaining slots by keeping the existing 2 old 73GB hard drives.
  2. By using 3rd party drive cloning software, I will copy the old hard drive data to new hard drives.
  3. Then create a new array for newer drives.
  4. Boot the server from the 2nd array.
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by:SysExpert
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A simpler option that may work depending on whether the cloning software recognizes each RAID as a single device.

1) I'll put 2 new 146GB hard drives into remaining slots by keeping the existing 2 old 73GB hard drives.
2) Then create a new array for newer drives.
3) Clone from old RAID 1 to New RAID 1
4)  remove old AID 1 drives ( mark them in case they have to go back )
5) Boot the server from the new RAID array.

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by:andyalder
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Why not keep the 72GB disks and buy 2 more of them and convert it to RAID 10, I think you can do that on the fly and see the capacity increase although PowerEdgeTech may know different. It'd probably be a bit faster too with 4 disks rather than two in it.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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Only possible with a PERC.  SAS 6 will not do a RAID 10.  I guess we're still not sure which he is using :)  

If you do a RAID 10, however, there will only be 136GB total space available - the same as doing a RAID 1 with two 146GB drives.

Srinath - I almost have to assume you are using a PERC, as you mentioned using OpenManage to create the RAID 1 Virtual Disk.  I don't believe the SAS 6 would allow you to create a single RAID 1 from OpenManage.
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by:SrinathS
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@PowerEdgeTech,

I'm using SAS 6/iR integrated controller. Check out the RAID configuration details taken from OpenManage Server Administration tool.

2.JPG
1.JPG
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by:SrinathS
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@andyalder,

The main intention is to upgrade the hard drive storage from existing 73GB to 146GB by keeping existing fault tolerance configurations. Is RAID 10 better than RAID 1? I'm using SAS 6i/R RAID controller came with PowerEdge 1950 server.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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RAID 10 would not yield you more storage space than you current plan - maybe less if you plan to keep/re-use the smaller disks, because, once you move data and are running on the larger RAID 1, you could keep the two 73GB drives for an additional 68GB of drive space in another drive letter on the server.  Otherwise, a RAID 10 with two 73GB drives and two 146GB drives will only use 73GB per drive, giving you roughly 136GB of space, the same as a RAID 1 with two 146GB drives.  

RAID 10 can increase performance in some situations, and CAN increase fault tolerance.  I say CAN, because of the four drives, UP TO two of them can fail without losing the server.  Only one can fail per leg, so if both drives from the same leg of the RAID 10 fail, then the server's down.

Kind of a mute point anyway, as the SAS 6 cannot do a RAID 10.
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by:andyalder
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Ah, not a PERC, guess 6i/R is Dell's equivalent of HP's B110i as in the Intel chipset fakeraid controller. I'll stand down then on the technical side. Still might be better to add the two disks for data and keep the other two installed as well for the OS though.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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While it is not driver or software based, it is lacking in many features in comparison with the PERC - only RAID 0 and 1, max 2 arrays, no controller log - just a very basic RAID card.

Definitely a good recommendation ... keep them running the OS and add the larger disks to relieve some of the storage pressures, or keep the smaller disks as additional storage ... unless you have something else planned for the smaller disks.
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