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Expanding Disk Space on Proliant DL360 G6

Posted on 2011-03-24
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I have an HP Proliant DL360 G6 server running Windows Server 2003. It is our domain controller. I currently have two 146 GB drives mirrored in the system. We have about 10% of free space left currently. I purchased a third 146 GB drive and installed in the third port. The Array software is telling me that I cannot expand since it is not the equal number of drives, but I can convert to Raid 5. My question is, should I purchase another drive to expand, or convert to Raid 5? If I do convert to Raid 5, should I go ahead and purchase another drive as a hot spare? Once I convert to Raid 5, how do I expand the storage on the logical drive? Do I do this in the array software, or do I do this through the OS? Any help is appreciated, and I will give any additional info needed. Thanks in advance.
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Question by:lflorence
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 35208517
Converting to RAID 5 is the logical choice and you will double your disk space doing that but I have never tried this, so can't predict if the results will be good or not.

Assuming you do opt for RIAD 5, make sure you have a bullet-proof backup before doing anything in case it goes wrong.

You can add a hot-spare later if needed.  No need to do that now, but no harm either.

Alsn
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Author Comment

by:lflorence
ID: 35208676
What about expanding the logical drive?  This server currently only has a C:\ drive, and I want to expand the storage capacity on it.  Will this happen automatically when I convert to Raid 5?
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 35208873
The logical drive can be expanded using the ACU, but you still have to stretch the OS partition. Do you want one big C: drive or would you like to move some data to D:?

I prefer to have data on D: in which case you'd create a second logical disk on the array.
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Alan Hardisty earned 1400 total points
ID: 35208876
With RAID 1 - you have two disks mirroring each other - so the maximum capacity is the size of one of the disks.

With RAID 5 - you need a minimum of 3 disks and you lose the capacity on one disk for Parity information (to allow the array to rebuild itself in case of a failure).

With RAID 5 - 3 drives minus one drive - 2 drives, so if the drives are 146Gb and you convert to RAID 5, you will have 292Gb approx in disk space and thus will double the current capacity.

You can't expand RAID 1 - you can only pull one drive, replace it with a bigger drive, let it mirror, pull the other drive, replace that with a larger drive - the same size (or bigger) tan the first larger drive, let that mirror and then use the extra space.

Switching to RAID 5 makes more sense as you can keep adding drives and keep expanding the capacity until you run out of drive bays.  You only lose the capacity of 1 drive with RAID 5 - so any drives you add beyond the 1st 3 drives will give you that much space again.

A Hot Spare drive will just sit in the array waiting for a drive to fail and then it will wake up, and then the array controller will put the data that was on the failed drive onto the Hot Spare drive.  You then replace the failed drive and then the array will put the data on the Hot Spare back onto the replaced drive and then it will make the Hot Spare a Hot Spare again.

Once you convert to RAID 5 - you will have to expand the capacity as a separate operation, or create a new drive E: (assuming D: is your CD / DVD drive) and you can then move data to the E: drive.
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by:zkrieger
zkrieger earned 600 total points
ID: 35209304
you can do either one, i would recommend converting to raid 5 since it tends to be the best choice for servers anyway.

once that is done, it doesnt help your problem!
windows 2003 does not have native support to expand the C: drive.
if you want to expand this partition, a 3rd party tool like the open source GPartEd will be required (gnome partition editor) these tools are not always user friendly though.

if you instead just create a D: drive in the free space, you can offload any shares you currently have on C:
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 35209569
I wouldn't say RAID 5 is the best choice for anything, it's certainly the slowest for writing unless you count RAID 6.

Adding 2 disks you could retain the RAID 1 configuration (technically it becomes RAID 10) which is the fastest RAID level that provides redundancy, I'd still add another volume rather than stretch C: though since on the new volume you have the chance to align the partition using diskpart, pretty sure C: won't be aligned properly. RAID 1 to RAID 10 isn't really RAID level migration since the controller treats RAID 1 as RAID 10 with just two disks.
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