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add new hdd's to Windows 2003 server

Posted on 2014-02-11
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Last Modified: 2014-02-17
Greetings Experts!  

Here is the scenario:  Currently in production is a Windows 2003 server that has 3x 36GB HDD's running in a RAID 5 format.  Because of our conversion to VMWare, we have a few  identical hard-drives in spare servers (VMWare migration that allowed us to retire some older servers) that I would like to move to this server.  For the life of me I can't remember the steps to take to add the drives to the server so that the server A) recognizes the extra drive space and B) I can use that extra space to increase one of the existing partitions.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Question by:samiam41
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12 Comments
 
LVL 20

Assisted Solution

by:edster9999
edster9999 earned 100 total points
ID: 39851393
It totally depends on how the Raid array is controlled.
Assuming it is a server with a hardware scsi card running the drives in a hotswap box on the front....
First step is to do a full backup (always do this when you are messing with drives).
Now shutdown the server.
Add in the extra drives and turn it back on.
As you boot, look for the 'press F8 to edit drive setup'
Press that key and go into the drive array program.
Select the virtual partition and add on the extra drives.
Normally it will ask you if you wish to expand the current partition (takes a long time) or wipe it and make a new one.  Select 'expand' and leave it for a few hours.
When it boots up you should have a bigger drive.

If the raid array does not have options like this (maybe not if it is old enough to be using 36GB drives) or if you are not using a hardware controller then the next option is to start a new drive with the new units added in and then restore your backup to it.
This is a lot more risky (and heart stopping) and may not be worth it to gain a few extra GB
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Seaton007
ID: 39851396
It depends on what RAID controller you are using and what it's capabilities are, but basically you would need to:

1. Install the new disks in the server.
2. Open your RAID controller software or BIOS configuration, and add the new disks to the existing array.
3. Apply the changes and allow the array to rebuild online.
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LVL 9

Author Comment

by:samiam41
ID: 39851412
Thanks experts.  I failed to mention that the server is an HP DL380 G4 and is using a smart-array 6i controller (hardware raid).  I am going to run a quick back-up and run the update accordingly.  Updates to follow.


##edited to fix grammar
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:edster9999
ID: 39851431
From memory that one allows expansion as described above.
Good luck :)
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LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:andyalder
andyalder earned 400 total points
ID: 39851490
HP Smart Array 6i only allows expansion and extension if it has battery backed write cache. You can check that from the Array Configuration Utility under start-programs-HP system tools as to the battery state.

Whatever you do do not do this:
>Now shutdown the server.
>Add in the extra drives and turn it back on.

It may be the correct procedure for some controllers but it is almost guaranteed to stop any ProLiant with an HP Smart Array controller from booting and could lead to you overwriting the current data if you press the wrong F1/F2 key.

If you have already done that then just power off and remove the extra disks, then boot up normally and add the drives hot.

First step was good though, always backup first even though parity is maintained during the online migration process.
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LVL 9

Author Comment

by:samiam41
ID: 39853768
andyalder, thanks for the post.  I stopped the mini-project when I read your post.  Now that I am preparing to proceed again, I wanted to know how you would recommend proceeding.  Please advise.
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LVL 56

Accepted Solution

by:
andyalder earned 400 total points
ID: 39853808
Leave the server on, add the disks physically, go into the array configuration utility under Windows, highlight the array and select to expand it, select the unused disks and add them to the array. When the expansion is complete (a day or so maybe) highlight the logical disk and extend it.

It's almost the same as edster9999 describes but the crucial difference is that when you add disks hot (with the server on and running) the controller ignores any metadata on them and treats them as blank disks. If you add 2nd hand disks cold then when the controller powers up it reads the configuration information from the metadata on the disks and because the config on the original disks doesn't match that on the newly added 2nd hand ones it can't work out what to do and throws an error instead of booting.
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LVL 9

Author Comment

by:samiam41
ID: 39854138
Got it!

Ok.  So I extended the volume and now there is Logical Drive 1 which states (Transforming x%) and Logical Drive 2 (Queued for Transformation).

What does the transforming mean?

Once the transforming is finished, I'm "assuming" I would open Computer Manager > Disk Management and add the new drive space to the existing Disk 1 (which is logical drive 2)?
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LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:andyalder
andyalder earned 400 total points
ID: 39854198
You're only expanding the array at the moment, you can't extend any logical disks until that part is complete. Transforming is shuffling the blocks around from a 3 disk RAID5 to a 3+N RAID5 where N is the number of disks you added. That part takes several hours.
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LVL 9

Author Comment

by:samiam41
ID: 39856234
Greetings!

The transforming is complete.  In the array config utility, I have a new "unused space" listed below the two logical drives.  What is the next step?  I see these options on the right hand of the screen.

Migrate RAID/Strip size
Extend Logical Drive
Delete
More Info

I have a hunch that I need to click on the logical drive that I want to add the new space to and then select "extend logical drive" option on the right hand side of the screen.  Before I go off and try something, I figured I would check with the mega-minds.
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LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:andyalder
andyalder earned 400 total points
ID: 39857215
Click on the logical disk you want to extend and select "extend logical disk" is indeed the next step.

Then the final step is to use diskpart under Windows to extend the basic disk - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590/en-gb . Note that you should not convert it to dynamic since that only gets in the way and isn't needed.

Diskpart will not extend the boot volume C: though, it will only extend a data volume in 2003. https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-bare-metal.htm (the free trial will do) can extend C: and if there's a D: that's on the same logical disk it can shuffle the data on that up to make space for C: to be extended if needed. Boot the CD and select not to install it, it works fine off the CD without installing the program to disk.
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LVL 9

Author Closing Comment

by:samiam41
ID: 39864821
New drives are in and the server now has extra disk space!  Thanks for all of the help and detailed steps.  Your time was much appreciated!
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