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Dell PERC H700 extend Virtual Disk

Posted on 2012-08-23
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We have an H700 internal raid card in a dell r610.  Four 300gb drives are raided (level 5). I placed another identical drive in the drive array.  The new drive is recognized, can become a global hot spare, and can be configured as a new Virtual Disk, but I can't get the existing virtual disk to use the 5th hard drive to extend the existing Virtual Disk.  (The physical disk status is ready, but the choice for extending the existing virtual disk is grayed out).

An H800 Perc in the same r610 connected to an external drive array extends virtual disks with no problem.  (3 disks raid was expanded to a 4 disk raid)

Is there a limit of the number of physical drives that an H700 can include in a RAID?  The H700 has two cables, each seems to control 4 SAS drives in the internal drive array.  Does this make some type of boundary for a virtual disk?

Firmware in the H700 is up to date, as are the r610 bios.

What am I missing?
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Question by:dakota5
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by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 38327984
No limit.  If you can see the disk in Physical Disks, you should be able to add it.  There is a second cable from the H700 to the backplane to connect more than 4 drives.  Is the new disk showing as Ready or Foreign?  If Ready and you can't add the disk with Reconfigure in Virtual Disks, then I would suspect you may have more than one RAID 5 configured across the 4 disks, called slicing.  If you have multiple arrays across the same set of disks, you cannot expand by adding a disk.
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by:andyalder
ID: 38328161
Could be that it's fractionally smaller than the current disks, although it wouldn't be much use as a spare either in that case.
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Author Comment

by:dakota5
ID: 38337415
The hard drive to be added is in the Ready state, and I've confirmed that there is only on RAID 5 configured across the discs.

Will contact Dell today and will keep this open for now.
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by:andyalder
ID: 38337491
Have you checked exactly what size it is compared to the others? That should be visible somewhere to much finer accuracy than 300GB. Dell often resize their disks from various manufacturers so they a bit smaller than default, then they only need one part number for all instead of one part number for a 300.01 GB disk and a different part number for a 300.02 GB disk.
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Author Comment

by:dakota5
ID: 38338017
This is a good idea.  Dell OMSA is off, so I need to take the server down to check.  Will do this tomorrow.

Just to confirm-- H700 cards with current firmware WILL take non-Dell labeled drives, correct?  The existing drives are Dell labeled, the new drive is not.

I've used non-Dell labeled drives on an H800 and they work fine.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 38338339
"Just to confirm-- H700 cards with current firmware WILL take non-Dell labeled drives, correct?"

Correct, as of July 2010.
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Assisted Solution

by:dakota5
dakota5 earned 0 total points
ID: 38356294
Have had detailed discussions with an experienced Dell technician.
He said that the ability to extend a RAID is being or has been removed from the H700 and H800 in the current firmware.  In our case, the option is present, but grayed out.  I cannot confirm that the option has actually been removed.  Does not appear that way to us.

He stated that users can extend the RAID now only through OMSA, but this does not work.
We confirmed this using a new set of drives (also non-Dell) and a newly created 3 disk RAID 5.  Loaded server 2008 R2 onto the VD-- OMSA would not extend the VD.  Did not recognize drives as available (though they were seen as ready in other OMSA PERC H700 views).

I am starting to think that partitions can be created using non-Dell drives, but that the non-fatal warning errors that appear in functioning RAID 5 virtual disks made of non-Dell drives, somehow block the ability to extend the RAID.

Next week we will attempt to try this using a PERC H800 and an external MD1220.
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Accepted Solution

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dakota5 earned 0 total points
ID: 38373297
Expanding a virtual disk (RAID 5) using non Dell-labeled drives did not work on using PERC H800 and an external MD1220 either.

 Virtual disks (RAID 5) can be created fresh using non Dell drives, but not expanded.

Dell has not been able to fix this.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 38373344
Better rename them PURC cards - Poweredge Unexpandable RAID Controller.
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Author Closing Comment

by:dakota5
ID: 38386036
I've been through this issue with high level Dell techs.  The PERC H700 and H800 cards are supposed to allow virtual disk expansion (even with non Dell labeled drives), but they do not.
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