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Server - Additional Hard Drive

Posted on 2013-12-30
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I have a laptop Server that already has 2 Hard drives, one is a Solid State 64 GB hard drive and the second is a 750 GB Hard Drive.

I have Windows 2012 Server installed with lots of software on - e.g. SAP reporting, SQL Server and much more.    I now need to install some more software but I am running out of storage space.

I want to understand (in detail please) what is the best practice to add a 3rd hard drive that can be used as efficiently as the 2nd internal hard drive to install the additional software.   I understand that I cannot use a standard (generic) external hard drive for this and I know little about the hardware or types of hard drives to understand what needs to be done to make this possible.

I would appreciate advice that is specific (sorry but I get too many generic answers on EE) for example a link to the type of hard drive I need and high level steps / considerations for installation of the hard drive.

Thanks!
Raheel
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Question by:hennanra3
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Author Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 39747636
Sorry I should add the model of the laptop.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-m18x-r2/pd
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Expert Comment

by:insidetech
ID: 39747676
Have you given a thought to just replacing one of the two internal drives?
That, would be the cleanest highest performance option.
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Author Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 39747684
Hi there,

Unfortunately it's too late for that as we have just gone through a huge effort of installing lots of software and configurations on Windows etc on there.  I don't want to touch those right now even if it was an option to do so :-).

I am open to a 3rd option however, which is buying a drive that I can mount externally - question becomes how this will impact the performance.   I am guessing that opening up the laptop (it's brand new) is not a good idea so it's a balance between safety and performance.  The issue also becomes that the software on the 3rd drive will interface with software on the 2nd - this is something I believe can be worked out (I hope!).

Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:Dirk Mare
ID: 39747719
I have to agree with insidetech replacing your current drives with larger and faster is the better option. Having an external drive will just be in inconvenience.

You dont have to reinstall all the software, almost all new SSD comes with cloning software that you can use to clone the current drives to the new ones.

Is the SSD or the 750Gb running low on space?

DirkMare
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Accepted Solution

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DamjanDemsar earned 300 total points
ID: 39747720
Hi!

several possibilities depending on the info:
1) is  the 64 GB ssd msata disk or a regular 1.8"/2.5"
2) does it have one or two drive slots
3) can the optical drive be replaced with another HD drive (the spec on dell site is not detailed)

a) if the  ssd is msata and you can have 2 2.5" hds you can add another one
b) if the CD/dvd can be replaced with a hdd caddy, you can use that (check with dell support)
c) you can get a new bigger drive(s), and clone them onto old ones (a msata drive could be a problem - you'd need an adapter, otherwise any usb enclosure can work for cloning), and then replace them, no need to reinstall anything
d) add an external eSata drive, performance should be ok (depends on the external drive... check reviews and tests).
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Author Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 39747747
Hi there,

Dirk - Actually the software in question in SAP and I have very experienced experts telling me that cloning doesn't work on a Windows Set up (would do so on a Linux) so I prefer to avoid the option of cloning at this stage.

Damjan - thank you very much for the excellent detailed response.   The 64GB hard drive is "SAMSUNG SSD PM830 mSATA 64GB).  I guess the question is also if there is internal space in the hard drive to add another disk since there is also the standard Hard drive in there.

Can you elaborate on the external eSata option - I mean how would this be connected to the laptop, any examples of good models.   I believe that I have USB 3.0 which should also be a consideration in terms of options - I am not so sure about whether getting an external hard drive encasement is required.   I am a lot more flexible (even in terms of getting an expert to help me) with the external option.

Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:DamjanDemsar
ID: 39747770
Hi!

if this is your laptop, it says you can have 2x 9,5 mm 2.5 " hdd or 3x 7.5mm 2.5" hdd (additional to your mSata SSD).

user manual - check page 21 for drive replacement (check with dell support if it voids your warranty, adding Hdd may not be a problem)

also it says that one of your USB slots is a usb/esata combo slot
while usb 3.0 and eSata speeds are similar, USB 3.0 will drop speed, when you connect additional usb 3.0 stuff (the bandwith is shared).

Most of the well known  external eSATA (or USB 3.0) drives should be ok (WD, seagate,...), avoid unknown firms, at least without testing them

Cheers...

PS - I've cloned quite a few windows system and data drives always without problems (but did not do that yet with windows 2012 server)
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Expert Comment

by:insidetech
ID: 39748371
Look at Acronis or Symantec Ghost products. ( there are many more products but these I know to be rock solid)
I would physically remove the drive you want to clone a do it off line on another system. I have Donne this 1000's of times. It is common routine and Server 2012 is no different.
Besides, 64 GB for Server 2012 is the bare minimum, I would start replacing it first drive.
Also, cloning is not destructive process so if you have ANY doubts, you can put your original precious back in. ;-)
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Expert Comment

by:DamjanDemsar
ID: 39748425
you still did not say which disk is running out of space:
1)if mSata 64 GB you can
get a new mSata ssd (clone the old one on a normal disk, replace the old mSata with a new bigger one and clone it back from the normal disk
get a new bigger 2.5" ssd and clone the mSata to it (and then remove the mSata, and tell the laptop to boot from different drive, maybe zou can use the old mSata then as a cache drive)
clone it to a new bigger normal hdd (performace loss)

2)if data drive you can
clone it to a new bigger 2.5" hdd
add aditional 2.5" hdd
add an external drive
3)if both you can use any combination (unless your current hdd is thicker than 7.5mm - in that case you cannot use 3 drives

some free cloning software - I use acronis disk director (payable) or clonezilla (free, a bit more complicated to use)
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Author Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 39748995
Thanks Damjan.   It is actually both disks that are running out of space - my needs are quite major in terms of space as I am running a sandbox for some enterprise software that typically runs on individual servers.   For cost reasons I am trying to run all of this on one box.

Your points have helped me a great deal.  Inside tech - thanks also for the advice - maybe you have given me a bit of confidence in the first option too.

I at least have some good options now to think about - probably leaning towards replacing the Internal 64GB Hard drive with something with a lot more space.  My final question :-) - can you advise what the optimal replacement would be for the SAMSUNG SSD PM830 mSATA 64GB.  My thoughts are an equivalent Samsung Msata but with much more storage but I want to ensure compatability - I really don't know anything about this - i.e. if there are specific specifications that might make the drive incompatible.

http://www.thessdreview.com/our-reviews/samsung-840-evo-msata-1tb-ssd-review-unheard-msata-capacity-along-turbowrite-great-security/ - this looks like a fantastic option for example.

http://www.zdnet.com/samsung-launches-first-terabyte-msata-ssd-for-ultrabooks-7000024079/

Maybe I don't have the patience to wait for the one above so the one below might be an option:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-PM851-512GB-mSata-Internal/dp/B00G5MPXCM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388522442&sr=8-1&keywords=msata+ssd

Thanks
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Author Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 39749011
Sorry - one other question and one that is critical for me.

I have SAP ECC and Business Warehouse on the larger HDD - this is pointing to the mSATA SSD that has Windows 2012 and SQL Server.   SAP is relying heavily on the Windows and SQL Server configuration and even has instances and start up files etc all on the solid state drive.

My fear is that when I clone the SSD hard drive and replace it - there will be some bugs that arise between the connection of SAP to this new SSD.  I know I can always 'just replace the original back' but I am now seriously thinking of investing in at least 512GB SSD.

I would be most grateful for your guidance on this and the optimal replacement to the model I have (Samsung SSD).  I am based in Dubai so need to try to source locally too (which in theory should not be a problem).

Thanks!
Raheel
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Expert Comment

by:DamjanDemsar
ID: 39749045
Truthfully, I have no experience with such configuration, cloning should create no problems - it's the same as restoring from backup after a disk failure - and servers should and usually don't make any problems in such case.

Hardware i suggest samsung 840 pro ssd, unless you want to go to a enterprise class ssd (like Samsung sm843), but those are hard to get.
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Assisted Solution

by:insidetech
insidetech earned 200 total points
ID: 39749080
Going with the larger size of the Samsung mSATA is a good safe choice.
Also, Cloning a drive is little different from Backup restore as the Clone process makes and exact binary duplicate. The only WARNING I have is to pay attention as NOT to clone the empty new drive over the old drive with data ;-)
I think that the Samsung has a write protect switch that you can set (not 100% sure).
Also, the Clone software will handle the partition re-sizing seamlessly so after you are done you will have an identical boot drive except with more free space.
Naturally, do one drive at a time and if you plan on getting both drives replaced start with the #2 drive.
Good Luck!
PS. You can purchase the Acronis on live with a download. Create Bootable CD that you can boot from and the Clone option will be available.
All you need is to purchase the Acronis True Image 2014 (no need for any server version)
And... it is $30 off today ...

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/trueimage/
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Author Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 39749440
Thank you so much Damjan and Inside tech and I am very sorry to labour on this post for so long, I am almost there :-).

The issue I am finding is that mSATA drives are not so easy to source here.    The question is can I replace it with a SATA III drive - e.g. below?

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-EVO-Series-2-5-Inch-MZ-7TE1T0BW/dp/B00E3W16OU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1388555728&sr=8-2&keywords=samsung+msata+ssd

I plan btw on getting a company to do the cloning and installation to avoid the risk of me killing the machine :-).   But I at least want to know I am doing the right thing.  From what I read the mSATA and SATA III only differ in the connection type.  My other reasoning here is that the SATA II will be easier to source and in a larger size.

I am still struggling to find a good example of an eSATA when I do searches online - can someone post a link to one or two eSATA drives e.g. Seagate, Samsung etc - e.g. 1TB or 750GB at least that is a good model - I will then search here in Dubai.

Thanks for the patience, I am still double minded as after discussing with my BASIS consultant - both are genuine options - i.e. replacing internal SSD (mSATA or SATA III?) and eSATA (if I can find a good example of a model!).  My plan is to install the less frequently used software on the eSATA if I go down that route and ensure the services are down when I am not using.  If I go down the internal SSD replacement I have no such issues but mSATA seems to be hard to find at the memory sizes I am looking for.  The Samsung 1TB mSATA will most likely come out in 3 months here and I can't wait that long.
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Author Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 39749445
From what I'm reading - I guess replacing an mSATA with a SATA III in a laptop is not so simple -

http://www.samsung.com/us/business/oem-solutions/pdfs/PM830_DCE_Product%20Overview.pdf

One has pretty much double the physical dimensions of the other.  Another 'stupid' question - if I purchased a SATA III and mounted this on a hard drive encasement - is this an option?

Very sorry for the ignorance :-( - just need to figure this out in next few days so I can take action.
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Expert Comment

by:DamjanDemsar
ID: 39749485
Since you have enough space for 3 normal sata drives (2.5" if they are at most 7.5 mm thick  2x sata 3 and 1x sata2- check the manual I linked before) in addition  msata drive, this should work (and if the old 750 gb hdd not to thick, you'll have enough space for another disk ).

Try to find Samsung 840pro and not evo -there are mayor differences that affect reliability and life time.
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Expert Comment

by:DamjanDemsar
ID: 39749499
About esata drives :I just checked and found out that they were mostly discontinued (sorry about that ) You can use an USB 3.0 drive, just be aware that the bandwidth is shared between all USB 3.0 devices (try not to connect to many).

Otherwise when you add  a new ssd,your can if the old hdd is 7 or 9.5mm thick - if it is 7 which is usual,  I you can add another 2.5" drive inside (additional to the old drive and a new ssd)
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Author Closing Comment

by:hennanra3
ID: 39756443
Thanks so much Damjan and Insidetech - I have enough to go by now.
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