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how to add storage to my ESXi 4.1 host on ML350p G8 server

Posted on 2014-04-29
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Last Modified: 2014-05-01
Hello All

On my Disaster Recovery Server
I have 12 300GB SAS in a RAID 10 setup installed with ESXi 4.1.
I have numerous replicated VMs on this server. None of these are live /running

I needed to increase storage so that I could create a test environment
I added 4 *300 GB SAS to the server - accessed the array configuration utility
for the server and chose to expand the Logical drive . This took about 4hrs

Now ACU  shows  me my logical drive but it is the same size as before(1.6TB)
I have 1TB unused space shown also

When I access from vcenter I can see that there is no more space available on my datastore

Now my options seem to be

-from the ACU - extend logical drive - this warns me about size limits for ESXi boot so the max it suggests is 2 TB

If I do extend will this automatically increase the volume of storage that my ESX host can access.
Do I have to do anything to manually increase the size of the volume holding the VMs

How do I access the extra disk space to configure it as a seperate volume

Any suggestions

Regards

Chris
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Question by:JackShuker
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by:Bembi
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If I interpret your question in the right way, you enlarged the RAID 10 from 12 to 16 discs, what increases the size of the physical storage. The logical partition on that physical drive is 1,6 TB. If ou want to access the larger physical storage, you can either expand the logical drive or you can create a second partition to use the additional space.
If the limit is 2TB, I guess the way is to use the additioanl space as additional logical device what has to be created on the physical storage. And after formatting the additional space, it should be accessable.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 250 total points
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Also before aware of the datastore limit which exists in 4.x to 2TB-512bytes. (maximum)

This was changed in ESXi 5.0 to 64TB.

With HP, you must expand the Array (completed), and then also expand the logical drives, this is two procedures.

and then in the OS expand the partitions.....

The issue you may come across, is ...

where have you installed ESXi?

does ESXi share the same space and datastore as the current logical drive?

if it does, it's unlikely you will be able to expand the VMFS partition, to extend the space from the GUI, and this must be done using the partutil command at the console (which is difficult).

It would have been better if you had:-

1. Installed ESXi to a usb flash drive or SD card.
2. Create a single first logical volume on 12 disks. RAID 10 - datastore1
3. Create a single second logical volume on 4 disks. RAID 10 - datastore2

or you could install ESXi OS on the first logical volume with VMFS datastore1.
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by:JackShuker
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Hello Andrew

The ESXi is installed on the logical drive I believe - please see attahced storage image

I am not sure I understand "if it does, it's unlikely you will be able to expand the VMFS partition, to extend the space from the GUI, and this must be done using the partutil command at the console (which is difficult)."

If I installed ESXi onto USB flash now would that be something I could just boot from and see all of existing drives and VMs ?

I expanded the existing logical drive with the idea that more spindles = more speed with out knowing these space limitiations

Now the drives are in the logical drive what would you say is my best step to use this space - can the 600GB extra be partitioned off on its own and allocated to a new datastore?

Regards

Chris
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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There is a limitation issue in how the GUI expands the VMFS datastore, but when you have already installed ESXi on the logical disk, the number of partitions created on the disk causes the issue.

You could install ESXi on a USB flash drive or SD card, and you could then add the VMs on the existing datastore, but as ESXi is already on the disk, the same issue, occurs, unless the logical disk is re-formatted or destroyed.

This is one of the many reasons why it's recommended to install ESXi on a usb flash drive to prevent this issue from occurring.

Now changes had been made to the array, logical disk, it cannot be used, only one datastore per logical disk is supported.

Re-configuration of the array, is the solution, however destructive.

and remember the 4TB-512byte max limit of datastores.
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by:JackShuker
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Hello Andrew

My options?

1 -  I need to copy all of my VMs off the existing setup

Can I do this by just attaching an external USB drive 3TB for example?
Can this be made visible as a datastore and then transfer the data off

Then recreate the logical drive
Install ESX on a USB and then copy the VMS back?

2 - Can I make the extra space available into a 2nd datastore /volume
That I can add my test environment to in any way?

Cheers

Chris
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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1. Unfortunately, USB is not supported as a datastore for VMFS. So it's a non, I'm afraid.

Once you have valid backups of your VMs. Re-create the Arrays/Logical Disks, as you want them to appear in ESXi, but remember the warning that ESXi 4.1 CANNOT use a VMFS partition above 2TB-512 bytes.

All 16 disks in RAID 10 is 2.4TB, this is over what ESXi 4.1 can address, so you will have to create an RAID 10 array, and then split into two logical disks, e.g less than 2TB-512bytes, a 400GB datastore maybe too small, so maybe you want to do a 50/50 split.

and then install ESXi onto a new USB flash drive or SD card (good quality, HP, SanDisk, Kingston, Lexar etc)

Here is the VMware KB on installing 4.1 on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1020655

2. and then you can select both datastores and format them as datastore1 and datastore2, as VMFS. (you'll probably find the first datastore is created for you, if not, select Add 'New' Storage, and follow the wizard)
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andyalder earned 250 total points
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You keep saying you have expanded the logical drive but by the sounds of it you have only expanded the array. One reason to think that is you say "expand" but to make a logical disk bigger using the GUI the word is "extend". Just create a second logical disk on the current array as already mentioned and use it as a second datastore. A photo of "show logical" using the ACU will confirm that.
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by:JackShuker
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Hello Andy

I think you are right
I have expanded the Array

I will look now and see if I can create a logical drive - which should give me around 600GB

Chris
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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That's what I stated in http:#a40030569 !
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by:JackShuker
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Hello Andrew

I am sorry I may have interpreted wrongly
I thought the way it was phrased suggested that it was too late (if only) but of course as I had only expanded the RAID this was a possibility - I am testing now

"It would have been better if you had:-

1. Installed ESXi to a usb flash drive or SD card.
2. Create a single first logical volume on 12 disks. RAID 10 - datastore1
3. Create a single second logical volume on 4 disks. RAID 10 - datastore2

or you could install ESXi OS on the first logical volume with VMFS datastore1"
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by:andyalder
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Not quite Andrew, you said you must expand the Array (completed), and then also expand[sic] the logical drives. For some reason you omitted the obvious option of creating a second logical drive instead of extending the current one.

You did mention creating a second logical drive later on in the post but only after wiping it all out and installing ESXi onto an SD card instead which is completely unnecessary.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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see how it turns out...create new logical drive in empty space, if datastore2 can be added successfully, if so all done and dusted, and your ready to start testing.

otherwise, you'll need to follow another path.
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by:andyalder
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Also for what it's worth Bembi said to create a second logical drive in the first post in this thread although they called it a partition which my have confused the issue.
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by:JackShuker
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I created the second logical drive. Thanks to all for suggesting. I think Andy your timing when you pointed out was spot on . After building on my repliess to Andrews suggestions . I agree Bembi did also point it out early on . So I will split my points

Right now I have nearly 600GB showing in storage devices -Can anyone suggest the best way or a document to make this available as a datastore in the ESX

Thanks

Chris
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Right Click Add "New" Storage, and it should be available to create a new datastore(2).

select the free space (600GB) and the follow the wizard.
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Author Closing Comment

by:JackShuker
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Thanks with all the suggestions
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