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Increasing Hard Drive space on HP Proliant ML335 G5 server

Posted on 2014-02-07
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Last Modified: 2014-02-25
Currently we have an HP Proliant ML335 server with 4 146GB SAS drives in a hardware RAID5 setup.  The array is divided into 2 logical drives which are drive "C:" and drive "D:".  See attached diagram.

 The array controller is a "HP Smart Array E200i".   All of the array controller GUI based utilities are installed.  The OS is Windows SBS2008.  

We are running out of space on the "C:" drive and need to increase our storage space.  We are trying to determine the best way to do this.    We intend to double our total drive space.

One way, according to the HP Smart Array E200i manual would be to add new drives and run the "Expand" and "Extend" utility in the "Array Configuration Utility " (ACU).  However, the manual states that the expansion works at the speed of about 1GB per 15 minutes.  For our server which has about 430GB total capacity, this would take about 4.5 days!

Another way would be to use our Windows SBS2008 full backup and do a "bare metal" recovery to new drives.   To me this seems like the best solution, however, my concern is that the recovered image would be looking for different hard drives and this would create a problem.  Also, would the HP array configuration utility automatically readjust for different hardware.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:jcrdsl77
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
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I'd follow the raid instructions as you willl have no downtime
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andyalder earned 500 total points
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There is a 3rd option; disk sizes have increased since you bought the machine so to double your space you would need 3 * 146GB disks but you could achieve the same by adding 2 * 300GB as a separate array, move D: to that and delete logical disk 2 and expand logical disk 1 into the free space. (I'm guessing you have 146GB SAS disks at the moment from your sketch).

Be very careful that you buy drives that are supported with the E200, there are a number of HP drives that it doesn't work with due to firmware limitations. Make sure any new disks are listed in the quickspecs.

As to array expansion and logical drive extension both require the cache battery to be working, you can verify that from the Array Configuration Utility under Windows (start programs HP system tools), current firmware doesn't allow RAID 5 without a battery but older firmware did (and performance was very bad) so we can't tell the battery count without checking).
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by:jcrdsl77
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I like the 3rd option.  But, have a question.   I had made the assumption that when you do the expansion or extension, the server would not be able to be accessed and would not be accessible by the users.   The manual doesn't go into detail on this.   Can the expansion or extension be done while server is being operated normally?

Also, I've discovered that the there is a battery error being shown by the ACU logs, so, I know I'll have to replace this before going forward with this.   Also, I'll have to find 300GB sas drives compatible with the E200i card.   I'll report back once I have this info.
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by:andyalder
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Expansion and extension are done online, no downtime is required (except for replacing the failed battery in your case). That's partly why it takes so long since priority is given to serving user data so the re-levelling  process has to wait in background. You can change the expansion priority using the ACU so that it runs a bit quicker at the expense of users getting a slower response. The 4GB/hour is a very old figure, you may get about 10GB/hour. Logical disk expansion if you chose option 3 is very quick since it doesn't have to redistribute the data over more spindles.

Supported disks are listed in the quickspecs - http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/12460_div/12460_div.pdf I think yours are SFF disks so 900GB is the largest available but they're not cheap. It doesn't matter whether you use the 6Gb or 3Gb disks since the controller's only 3Gb so the 6Gb ones will negotiate down to the slower speed. Only one port is used so again single or dual port will work. Battery is 307132-001, it's held onto the memory by plastic clips that poke through the PCB.
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by:jcrdsl77
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Sorry for delay, but, had to get approval for ordering drives and batteries.   We ordered four compatible 300GB SAS drives and new battery.   After I installed the new battery and the drives, I created a new array.

Now, the new challenge is to "move D:" as suggested above.  It would be very easy if the "D:" drive was just user files. I'd then just copy all the files to the new array, change drive letter to D:, and then delete that logical disk and extend the first logical disk.

However, there's an Exchange Server running on this server and network shares.   I'm not an Exchange Server guru and not sure of what the effect of just moving files to a new logical drive might have on the Exchange Server.

But,  my original question:   "Increasing Hard Drive space on HP Proliant ML335 G5 server"  has been answered and I'll probably post a different question after doing some research on moving Exchange Server files.
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