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Expanding RAID 5Array

Posted on 2011-02-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi,

I have an HP ML380 G5 with 5x146GB disks on a single RAID 5 array. I will shortly be expanding the array by adding 3 more 146GB disks. This is the first time I'm doing something like this so i'd just like some helpful advice.

I will be using the HP Smart Array Utility and they have a PDF file with a step by step how to. Of course, I will be taking a full back before going ahead.

My biggest question would be whether i can expand the array during office hours. I have about 40 people accessing this server as a file/print server. It's a Windows 2003 Standard server. Would it be a BIG stress on the server to rebuild the array during office hours?

Best Regards,
CV
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Question by:connelvalentine
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Expert Comment

by:M3rc74
ID: 34969261
Yes,a hot-plug disk can be added to an existing raid, but server will be  slower for a time when  array configure/build  himself,

if you have a option, do it after work hours, its less stressful
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Author Comment

by:connelvalentine
ID: 34969378
Thanks M3rc74,

Also based on what i read on the pdf file from HP, it seems that expanding the array seems to be a TWO part process. first it has to expand the array and then it has to extend the logical drive. Is this correct?

Also, it mentions that extending existing logical drives online is only possible if the OS supports it. Does Windows 2003 Standard support this?

It also mentions that for EACH process:
Array expansion: Takes 15 minutes per gigabyte
Logical Drive Extension: Takes 15 minutes per gigabyte

Considering that i'm going to be adding 3 x 146GB hard drives to the array, does this mean that the whole process is going to take 3 x 146GB x 15min = 6,570 minutes x 2 processes = 13,140 minutes ???

Best Regards,
CV
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Expert Comment

by:M3rc74
ID: 34969404
The logical volume in the array should not a be a system volume since you cannot extend a sys volume, with Win 2003.

but with third party programs, like http://www.partition-tool.com/easeus-partition-manager-server/
I do it all the time, and everything works fine.

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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 34969449
The 15 minutes per GB is only a ballpark figure but yes, it's going to take all day so will be done during office hours. Just set expansion priority to low on the array properties, that way it may take longer but doesn't slow down user access. You don't have to extend the current logical drive, you could always create a new one for data.

If you don't see the option to expand the array then you haven't got a battery backed write cache.
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Author Comment

by:connelvalentine
ID: 34969484
By System Volume, you mean that the current logical drive should NOT contain the windows installation files?

At the moment, i only have 1 logical drive, with three windows partitions in it, C: drive and D: drive and E: drive

The C: drive contains all my windows and system files. The D and E are for shared folder access. It is the only the E drive that i want to expand at the moment with these 3 new disks. Are you saying that this won't be possible with my current OS?

Will it be possible to create a new logical drive all together and moves files from E drive to the new logical drive to save space?

What would you advise?

Best Regards,
CV
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Expert Comment

by:M3rc74
ID: 34969625
After you install the new drive and "expand" the array with it... you then need to "extend" your logical drives.
For Logical Drive 2, you can use diskpart. Info here...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590/en-us

but I feel more comfortable with easus
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Author Comment

by:connelvalentine
ID: 34970070
but will not be able to "extend" the logical drive using the HP smart Array Utility while the server is live?
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M3rc74 earned 500 total points
ID: 34970268
expand array,
extend logical drives,

work with hot-plug disks and HP array utility in win 2003 online, no need to shutdown server

and diskpart.exe is cmd tool

diskpart.exe
DISKPART>select disk 1
Disk 1 Selected
DISKPART>select partition 1
Partition 1 Selected
DISKPART>extend

Use...

list disk
list partition

...to see disk info.

 
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