Newb Questions About My SAN:

Hi. We have an HP MSA1500 CS SAN with 14 x 146GB 15K HDDs.
This is being accessed by 2 virtual servers running ESXi (I forgot what version).
We need to add more space but all of the HDD bays are in use.

I was thinking about replacing all or some of the 146GB 15K HDDs with 300GB HDDs.
1) Is it even possible to install SOME 300GB drives? Or do all 14 need to be the same?
2) I don't know what RAID configuration the SAN is using and I don't know how to access it.  Is it only accessible via CLI through the VMware hosts?
3) We have about 7 virtual machines across the 2 hosts.  I'm guessing if we were to up the size of the storage pool by adding larger HDDs, we'd have to break/delete/recreate the RAID. Is this accurate?
4) Assuming question 3 is accurate, would creating backup images of each virtual machine and restoring them onto the recreated storage pool be a possibility?

I may have a few more questions based on the replies.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just an advisor, the MSA 1500CS is not supported by VMware ESXi, e.g. it's not on the HCL.

1. you can mix and match drives, but when building LUNs (arrays), all drives need to be the same size, otherwise you will lose space.

300GB drives are not compatible, 146GB drives are MAX. You can add another MSA30 or MSA20 chassis.

Do you have a single MSA30 at present?

2. You will need to access via the Serial Port on the MSA, or connect to a HP Server, and use the Array Configuration Utility on a Smart Start CDROM.

3. Yes, you would need to destroy current RAID arrays.

4. Yes, you can backup and restore.

You would be now advised to consider a "more reliable", supported SAN, e.g. HP P2000, this is supported by ESXi, faster, current, far more expandable.
homerslmpsonAuthor Commented:
You're killing me lol.
You think something like this would work?

If the MSA you're asking about is the piece of equipment that holds up to 14 HDDs, we only have one and I don't know how to determine the model.  The front doesn't show the model number and it's in the rack.

We are running ESXi 4.1.  I guess if we're doing all this we may as well upgrade ESXi as well huh?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I stand corrected, the MSA30 does accept 300GB disks. So you could add a new MSA30, with either 146GB or 300GB disks. Which would leave the existing MSA30 and LUNs, and VMs in place, with expansion for more.

BUT, you may want to compare prices with supported modern, faster performing kit! Than invest in out of date, not supported SAN for your ESXi.

MSA 1500CS can connect to MSA20 (SATA) and MSA30 (SCSI).

The MA1500CS is just a head controller, which can connect to other shelves.

You have a MSA30, you can connect two MSA30 to the MSA1500CS. So you could add another shelf of 14 x 146GB disks Max.

this is maybe what you have

MSA1500 support with VMware vSphere ended a while ago, as for which version of ESXi, you use, depends on what requirements you have for new features, and if you have licenses.

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homerslmpsonAuthor Commented:
Oh. I see.  OK well the drives are U320 so I guess it's the MSA30.
So while I "could" add another shelf of drives, it would be silly now that's it has been brought to my attention that the MSA 1500CS is no longer on HCL (I'm assuming it was at some point).  If I was going to drop dollars and time doing this whole project it may as well be done right...right?  I mean, if I run into a problem and need to call VMware for support and they find out my SAN isn't on the HCL, they could deny me support which would cause a real mess.
We do have support with VMware btw so I think we can upgrade to the newest version of ESXi without issue.
Let me know if you think the link I originally sent you for the MSA2000 would be a reasonable choice for a budget-minded individual like myself (granted, I'd need to buy 6 more 300GB drives).
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