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Upgrading the C: array in an HP Proliant ML350 domain controller

Posted on 2011-02-27
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have a client whose single-server network is running out of space on the C: drive of  the domain controller.  I've cleaned up as much as I can.  They are ready to spend the money to upgrade to bigger drives in the RAID array that is the C: drive.

The machine in question is an HP Proliant ML350 running Windows Server 2003 Standard.  It has two volumes.  The C: volume consists of 3 36.4 UltraSCSI drives that I assume are in a RAID array.  The other three hot swappable bays are the D: volume which hold 146.8Gb drives.

My plan would be to:
1. Make a backup to external hard drive of the entire system.
2. Install Partition Magic or some other partitioning software that works with Server 2003.
3. Take an image of the existing C: volume and remove the three smaller drives.
4. Install the 3 new drives (looks like 146.8 is all it will take and that's plenty)
5. Create a RAID array of the three new disks.
6. Image the new array with the image software and the picture I took of the original C: volume.

My plan gets fuzzy when I go to create the new array and image the new volume C:.  I assume the server has some type of utility built in to create the new array, however I'm not sure of that.

And, once I get the new volume C: in there, without an operating system how do I install the partitioning software and image the new volume?

thanks,
RobS
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Question by:IndyNCC
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noxcho earned 334 total points
ID: 34995626
Just has written this guidance for another asker. Now copy\pasting it for you as well.
I have done this operation many times with Paragon Drive Backup 10: http://www.paragon-software.com/business/db-server/
Here is step by step description what you need to do:
1)Download and install DB10 - take backup of entire partitions on your HDD (actually RAID detected as single HDD). If 2003 server is used take system state backup using NTbackup before you take full backup with DB10. Sometimes it is needed for correct sync of server with domain. But I never needed it.
2)Download and create WinPE Recovery CD of the RCD.exe file that comes with Paragon Drive Backup 10 Server
3)Turn off the server and disconnect the smaller drives. Connect bigger drives - get to RAID utility and reconfigure the RAID with bigger drives.
4)Boot the server from WinPE Recovery CD by Paragon - get to full scale launcher and see if the RAID is detected as single HDD in its interface. If not then use Load Driver for RAID controller. Driver can be loaded from USB flash drive or CD. Normally you need x86(32bit) Windows Vista+ compatible driver. But if the RAID is detected ok - then run restore from previously created backup image.
5)While you are in Restore wizard use "Resize proportionally" option to allocate new space proportionally to partitions. Or you can restore partitions one by one - manually entering new size for each partition. So no resize software is needed.
6)When restore is done - reboot to Windows.
Feel free to ask questions.
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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 166 total points
ID: 34997103
The array controller for that server should be an HP SmartArray controller.
You should find an entry for SmartArray utilities under HP or Hewlett-Packard in the Start menu.  It would do you well to familiarize yourself with it.
You can do a basic configuration when you boot the system during POST, though; you'll see
an error message that says something about the old array being missing and do you want to continue or...

However -- You might be able to save yourself some significant amount of time (if this is a SmartArray controller) by doing the backup as you outline above, but then simply replacing the drives one at a time, and letting the controller replicate data onto each one.   When the last of the drives has completed the rebuild, you can then claim the new space through the SmartArray configuration utility.
NOTE: If you do this, you'll need to use the config utility to make sure drive 1 rebuild is complete before you replace drive 2!    The nice thing about doing it this way is that you can do it without bringing the system down for several hours.   And if anything goes wrong, you will have the backup so you can do it as Noxcho outlines.
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Author Comment

by:IndyNCC
ID: 35009237
Thank you both for the replies and the great advice.  I am intrigued by SelfGovern's possible solution of replacing the drives one at a time and letting the controller do the work. I can't believe it's that easy, but I sure will give it a try.  If not, I will follow the more traditional method outlined by Nox.  I will write back as soon as I get the drives in and have the chance to install.

RobS
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 35010153
I assume you are using RAID5 array. By replacing one HDD per time you can upgrade the drives but the new space will not be allocated to existing partitions. So you have to use partitioning software in this case. Have you thought about this complex part of "simple" way? =)
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Expert Comment

by:Glavius
ID: 35024231
Actually Diskpart in server 2003 is capable of extending your array into the new drive space.
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by:noxcho
ID: 35024751
Diskpart does not work for system volume, Glavius.
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Author Comment

by:IndyNCC
ID: 35029862
I have had success extending the partition volume on a 2003 server by using EASUS partition manager, Server edition.  I will try that again unless someone knows of a reason EASUS would work differently for an arrayed volume.  The volume I extended last fall was a single drive.

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by:noxcho
ID: 35029998
Depends on the way RAID arrays gives information about drive geometry to Windows. It is possible that your software cannot get this info correctly so it works ok with single drive but not with controller.
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by:noxcho
noxcho earned 334 total points
ID: 35030006
BTW, I never had problems with arrays using Paragon Partition Manager 11 Server.
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Author Comment

by:IndyNCC
ID: 35062795
I've submitted the quote to the client and am awaiting approval.  Three drives, Partition Manager 11 and 6 hours labor is what I went with.  Will update when I get confirmation from the client.  Thanks for the great advice thus far.
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Author Closing Comment

by:IndyNCC
ID: 36142269
I'm sorry to have left this open so long. The client apparently didn't like my quote and never got back to me so I don't know what would have worked in this situation.
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