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Can two additional drives be added to an existing raid array without losing data or having to backup, restore and rebuild?

Posted on 2011-02-28
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14

Accepted: "debuggerau:
As far as expanding the group, you will need to backup and restore the data so you can rebuild the new raid set. It will not retain your data."

Assisted: "rickhobbs:
If you have the current BIOS and Drivers, you CAN expand the volume without losing data.  However, you cannot expand the logical drive(s) (C:, D:) without a third party utility like Acronis Disk Server Suite or other server aware partition manager."

The above accepted and assisted solutions in a related post seem to conflict.

Can two additional drives be added to an existing raid array (PERC 6/i SCSI - PowerEdge 2950 - 4 slots used, 2 slots free) without losing data or having to backup, restore and rebuild? And, will the Dell OpenManage software perform this task from within windows or is Ctrl-r into controller configuration utility on POST required.
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Question by:CCCsysadmin
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louisreeves earned 500 total points
ID: 35001348
There are some rules you have to abide by when reconfiguring a virtual disk. The good news is you can do it. see here

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/software/svradmin/6.4/en/OMSS/vdmgmt.htm#wp1233595

If you do an edit find in the doc for 6/I, you should find what you are looking for.

The Bios should always be current because you want to make sure you have the most successful build to minimize the chance the PERC will error out durring the process. THis is low likely hood, however, do not take chances. Also realize you want a full back up of the server before you do this.

Finally, even though you have added a disk to the Array, Windows may not ever show this. This is the reason you are getting a conflicting answer. The space is there - however, it  has been a bug in windows for a whllle . You may have to use a third party application to expand the partition. http://www.partition-tool.com/ for example.

I hope this explains  a little bit. the bottom line is most support teams will not support this manuever. Good luck and just keep a backup and you will have a restore possible if problems arise.

I hope this helps

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Author Comment

by:CCCsysadmin
ID: 35036503
Thanks for the info. I appreciate your input.   I'm just reviewing it and some other sources I found.

Accepted: "debuggerau:
As far as expanding the group, you will need to backup and restore the data so you can rebuild the new raid set. It will not retain your data."    

Assisted: "rickhobbs:
If you have the current BIOS and Drivers, you CAN expand the volume without losing data.

Understood:
3rd party application will be required once space has been added to RAID.

Prerequisites:
BIOS should be at most recent level

Various sources describe steps from the straight forward to the very complex methods of expanding the raid.

OMSA - Reconstruction Wizard
or
PERC/CERC 6/I BIOS Configuration Utility

I'm looking for the simplest (preferrably Dell supported) method of adding two additional disks (of the same size as the existing) into the PowerEdge 2950 (Perc 6/I Raid Controller) existing RAID 5 array without data loss.  This server is critical and allowable downtime is extremely limited so there's no time for trial and error with it.

Some blogs indicate expanding storage space cannot be done through the Perc 6/I BIOS Configuration Utility but by the OMSA only.  Again...the conflicting information.


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