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"Rethinking" RAID - ML350 and Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

Current setup is 4 drives 146GB 15k's. All in one big raid. And its filling up. OS is 2008 R2 Enterprise with 2 Virtual servers.

I'm looking at ideas/reccomendations on how to fill the 4 bays that are left but want to think ahead.

I was thinking along the lines of adding a 146GB and define it as "spare" since I really do not want any downtime on this server, and put 300GB or 600GB in the last 3 bays (cost ofcourse an issue). I do not want to go another 4 pieces of 146GB since I am afraid they will just fill up to fast.

The above however presents a couple of decisions that has to be made.

I would have to move atleast one of the virtual servers off the 15k disk onto 10k - performance hit big?
Should I partition the 410GB Raid 5 that is already there?

Since I really want to add a 146GB "spare" it leaves only 3 bays left for the 300/600GB new disks and would mean I would either do Raid10 and a "spare" or do Raid 5 and skip the "spare".....
Or should I simply skip the spares alltogether since I will be having  Storagecraft Shadowprotect up and running this weekend - which gives me a lot more comfort than the current backup.

What would you guys do????



Smart Array P410i in Embedded Slot
Arrays: SAS Array A - 1 Logical Drive(s)
Logical Drive(s) / Local OS Access Name: Logical Drive 1 (410.1 GB, RAID 5) \\.\PhysicalDrive0
Assigned Drives:
 146 GB 2-Port SAS Drive at Port 1I : Box 1 : Bay 1
 146 GB 2-Port SAS Drive at Port 1I : Box 1 : Bay 2
 146 GB 2-Port SAS Drive at Port 1I : Box 1 : Bay 3
 146 GB 2-Port SAS Drive at Port 1I : Box 1 : Bay 4

SERVER_A: (metal)
Size 410GB, 43GB free
DHCP Server
DNS Server
Print and Document Services

SERVER_B (virtual):
Size 71GB, max 127GB
Application Server
File Services
Network Policy and Access Services
Remote Desktop Services

SERVER_C (virtual):
Size 219GB, max 240GB
File Services
Web Server (IIS)
Exchange 2010

Both virtual servers has "dynamically expanding virtual hard disks".
3 Solutions
As far as the spare i concerned I would get one as big as the new disks since then it can be a spare for them as well as the current ones. It won't stop it being a spare for the 15K disks even if it is only 10K although the array would be slower of course. After a faulty disk is replaced it will get spared out again since Smart Array hot spares are temporary. It has to be the same interface type for that to work since you can't mix SAS and SATA in the same array.

Server C is rather big, have you run something like Treesize from jam software to see what's eating the space? It could be IIS and Exchange logfiles for example which you have no use for. A misbehaving mobile phone can fill IIS logs up really quickly.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Ok, so 4 pieces of 300 or 600GB and set one of them as spare and use the other three as a new raid 5, right?

Nice thanks, I did not know this! :)

How do I make sure my controller actually supports spares?

Any input on other concerns?

Oh, and reason for Server C being that big is Exchange mailboxes.
If Exchange mailboxes are taking all the space perhaps you should look at it from that angle, it's been redesigned to get rid of the high IOPS requirement (partly through users having their own local copy to search) and is meant to be put on big slow disks. Admittedly that's a problem for the shared spare drive since big slow disks are SATA.

I don't know which generation ML350 you have, perhaps a second disk cage would be in order if it'll take one. Then you can have slow 2+TB fat LFF disks for user data and fast small ones for server data such as SQL.
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
If you have a decent Smart array card you have a few options.   can replace each of the 146GB drives with a 300GB or 600GB SAS drive one at a time. At that point you can you can migrate the raid to include new added storage.  Afterwards you can extend the last volume on you OS to use the extra space.

Another way to go is to add 146GB drives but not create another raid set, instead extend your current, this way you don't lose any parity drive.  For either option you can add a hot spare.
Gerald ConnollyCommented:
and maybe think of going RAID6 instead of having a hotspare, i think RAID6 is called advanced data guarding on SmartArray controllers
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your ideas guys! :)

andyalder: Moving the Exchange data is something that is definately interesting.

User-files is now saved on a big NAS attached (Gigabit with plenty of free space) - could I move Exchange to that or would that be too slow? (The disks in the NAS is WD 7.2K SATA - they are "Enterprise stock" though but I guess thats just reliability and not speed)
Exchange doesn't support NAS, it does support iSCSI SAN though and maybe your NAS box does iSCSI.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Thanks! :)

I have ReadyNAS Pro 6 and it seems I can create iSCSI targets:

iSCSI target service
The iSCSI target service enables you to create one or more iSCSI target volumes on the ReadyNAS. Unlike network file services where you access files in network share folders, the iSCSI target presents itself as a virtual block device and can be treated like a locally attached disk to the client system acting as the iSCSI initiator. Windows for instance could run FAT32 or NTFS on the iSCSI target device, and treat the device as though it was locally attached.

I would assume that this will not affect the shares I've defined on the box??

Having exchange on it though.....what if the switch for some reason gets powered down...? Or I have to reboot the NAS or something similar....?
It won't affect the shares.

If the switch or NAS get powered down it will be just like the disk with Exchange database on it failing, so keep the transaction logs on the main server and maintain a backup regieme.

You can use the iSCSI initiator on the host and make another VHD for Exchange server or use the initiator on the Exchange server VM directly, doesn't make much difference.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Thanks andyalder for your reply,

could you please try and elaborate on this:

You can use the iSCSI initiator on the host and make another VHD for Exchange server or use the initiator on the Exchange server VM directly, doesn't make much difference.

Im not quite sure I understand, sorry.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
It is probably my lack of english knowledge, but do you mean that wether I use the iSCSI initiator on the host or the guest it will not make much difference?
You can attach the Hyper-V host to the iSCSI target, then create VHDs on that and present them to the guests.

Alternatively you can attach the guest directly to the iSCSI target since it's IP.

I'd probably use the first method, then you may for example create two VHD files on the host for two different guests.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Thank you guys for your help. Much appreciated! Hopefully I've spread the points fair.
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