Can I expand Raid 1 array capacity by upgrading hard drives on Dell Perc H700 Card?

Posted on 2012-09-06
Last Modified: 2012-09-06
Hi all,

Bit of a newbie when it comes to RAID configurations in servers and wanted to ask a question.  I'm about to buy a Dell rackmount server with a Perc H700 raid card and 2 x 2TB Hard Drives configured in Raid 1 to give redundancy.  My question is, if in the future we want to go to 2 x 3TB drives will I be able to replace the first drive with a larger one, rebuild then replace the second drive or would I have to image the whole thing and start again?

I kind of want to stick to Raid 1 as it gives me better recovery options should one drive fail but I also like the idea of being able to dynamically expand the storage with bigger drives.

Any thoughts would be gratefully received.

Question by:amlydiate
    LVL 46

    Accepted Solution

    Yes. You will be able to replace the drive and increase the capacity of the drives. But if you plan to install OS onto this mirror then you should be aware that Windows does not boot simply from GPT drives.
    In other words the drives bigger than 2TB should be converted into GPT. And to boot from GPT drive you need UEFI support on your motherboard.
    If the OS is planned to be installed onto this mirror then make sure you install it as UEFI mode. Only then you will be able to replace 2TB drive with 3TB drive.
    Dell says that H700 supports drives bigger than 2TB:

    Hard Drive Controllers –
        IMPORTANT NOTE! Only the Dell H700 and H800 currently support the 3TB drives (H200 will add support later this year) - NO earlier controllers, such as the PERC4/5/6, SAS5/6 (or ANY other Dell controller not mentioned) have this support and in some cases, even though you may be able to see the drive, this has NOT been tested or validated, so possible data loss could be experienced. ONLY use the Dell H700 and H800 with the proper firmware to ensure a tested and validated >2TB solution! For non-Dell controllers, contact the controller vendor for their support statement on >2TB drives.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you for such a full and comprehensive answer!
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    The H700 does support 3TB disks but does NOT support expansion in this way.  The only expansion supported is adding disks to make a RAID 5 or 6.  If you replace each drive individually and allow each to rebuild, the only option you will have is to create a second array across the disks using the newly available space.  There is no [safe] way to automatically or manually increase the original virtual disk size to include the new size.

    This is what you would end up with:
    VD0 - 2TB
    VD1 - 1TB

    The only way to have a single VD of 3TB would be to backup/restore (minding what noxcho said about GPT and Windows).

    Author Comment

    Very much appreciate your comment thank you very much!

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