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Add more disk space to a Windows Server 2003

Posted on 2015-01-07
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Hi,

First of all I am not a network admin but a developer so the back office hardware is not my cuppa tea.  I am however tasked now to find a solution for one of  our servers (on the server rack) that is running out of space and causing problems for a site running on there.

Details:

Server disk size               34GB
Available free space       10 GB
OS                                      Windows Server 2003 R2

This is running only one website that is live and critical to business.  During holiday period it run out of space bringing the site down.  The web site/portal will be rewritten this year so we need this server maintained for one more year.

What I would like help with is the easiest and most cost effective way to increase the disk size.  Moving the site to another is too risky.  I am also aware of Windows Server 2003 support from Microsoft coming to an end in April but it is not worth moving to a new OS as we will throw away that server once the new site is written

Please let me know of any details needed that I missed.

Thanks
H
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Question by:gbzhhu
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by:noxcho
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In Windows right click on My Computer - Manage - Disk Management.
Take a screen shot of it and post it here.
I want first to see if there is any way to extend the system partition. If not then you have to replace the drive with bigger one or virtualize this server so that it works as a virtual machine where you can give is as much space as your host machine allows.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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What server model and RAID controller model do you have?

One of the easiest ways to free up space is to move your page file to another partition, preferably another disk.
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by:gbzhhu
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PowerEdgeTech,

How do I find out about this?  I have access to the server room.  What do I need to look for to answer to your questions
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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On the server, open a command prompt and type in:

wmic computersytem get model

That will tell you the model of your system.
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by:gbzhhu
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screen capture
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by:gbzhhu
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single partition I am afraid :-(
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by:noxcho
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well, you have to move the system to bigger drive. Or virtualize the server.
Another option is to connect the second drive and move some data to it.
Anyhow, you have 16GB space free. Why is this space not enough? I event don't see a page file enabled on this server.
Are you sure it was off due to lack of space?
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by:gbzhhu
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Model
ProLiant DL360 G4p
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by:noxcho
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If you can schedule a maintenance shut down of the server then the best workaround would be replace the drive(s) with bigger one(s). Backup and restore would take 2 hours for the whole task if not less.
Is this single HDD based machine or RAID1 based one?
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by:gbzhhu
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noxcho,

The site that ruins on this server has a huge traffic creating lots of IIS logs, Web Trend logs, order files for ftp etc. I made the 16GB by deleting every possible thing that can be deleted.  Last time I cleared up., I made 4 GB which lasted less than a month.  I need 100GB or more to be safe.

The page file, I am pretty sure, was there a couple of months ago but my colleague may have switched it off and moved it, not sure ...

So the options:

1.  Move to bigger drive.  Can you buy a drive alone and add in to these servers like an ordinary PC? If so what is the cost and how do you copy the data over (diskimage?)?

2.  Virtualize the server.  This sounds tool complex for adding some space, no?

3.  Second drive and move some data to it.  Worried about breaking something once I move data - I cannot see stuff that can be easily moved (maybe logs)

Option 1 and 3 look better provided I know what steps are involved.

What would you do?
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by:gbzhhu
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I  can certainly schedule a maintenance shut down of the server for several hours.  What is the best way to find if it is RAID or single HDD?  I did warn you I was not a server admin :-)
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noxcho earned 150 total points
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Ok, then option 1 is the best one in this case.
The way to find out which drive configuration this server has is to look on it physically. Does it have drive caddies? How many HDDs are physically installed? I know it has 2 hot plug bays in front but there can be four Serial Attached SCSI hot plug drive bays.
Are they SCSI or SATA drives?
You can turn the server off, take one drive out and see its model.
For the server I would use server class drives also normal desktop drives will suit there as well. But server class drives considered to have longer productivity life.
Once you know that your server has SATA drives then contact HP and order two drives: http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/serial/sata/
120GB drives must be ok.
After the drives are arrived take backup of exiting configuration using third party backup tool (or you have one already) and replace the drives. The RAID controller is capable for building RAID1 mirror so you need to configure the RAID1 of new drives. Once this task is done - boot the server from Recovery Media of Backup software you use and perform restore. That's it.
If there is already RAID1 running then you can replace one drive - let the RAID re-mirror and then replace the second drive. Let the RAID remirror. After that extend the partition to take the whole space.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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I had a similar problem on my old server 2003 r2 machine. At the time we purchased paragon hard disk partition manager for servers (now paragon hard disk suite - includes virtualization  components). With the current software you can easily virtualize the server or create a backup that can be restored to a larger disk. Or server was down for only 3 hours while I changed the system from 12gb to 70gb partition. (Paragon-software. Com)
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by:gbzhhu
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Thomas Zucker-Scharff,

So you installed the Paragon hard disk partition manager then that allowed you to backup your disk and then you installed a new hard drive and then you used the same software to restore the backup to the new disk?

How easy was it to install the new disk?
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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I am not a hardware person and this took 3 hours total including the replacement of the drives. The longest amount of time was the backup, which took place before I took the system down. The backup I left going over night, although it didn't take that long.
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by:gbzhhu
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noxcho,

Just checked server and it has 2 scsi disks (it says ultra320 SCSI)  of the same size 36.4GB

Still not sure if it is RAID or not.  I can see the HP disk array software installed.

So, I can use software as suggested by Thomas Zucker-Scharff.  

Question is why do I need 2 new drives?  to configure as RAID1 (failsafe mechanism)?

Your link also didn't show any costs, do you know how much these things cost.

Sorry, I know I am asking too many questions and I appreciate your assistance
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by:gbzhhu
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Thomas Zucker-Scharff,

Where did you save your backup to?  DVD?
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by:Lee W, MVP
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Not intimately familiar with HP servers but in general:

1. I would be VERY surprised if the server didn't have a RAID 1 configured if it already has two 36 GB drives.  BUT, I would STRONGLY recommend you confirm they are BOTH in working condition - in the last year, I had two different consultants ask me to review client systems or help in data recovery because the RAIDs had experienced failures before experiencing a SECOND drive fail or in a failing state.  Cost one over $6000 to get the data recovered and sent back in a week.

2. You say you cannot afford to have the site go down, but you CAN afford to run it on software that, as of April is unsupported and gets increasingly hackable every subsequent day?  What happens if you're hacked and the site goes down for a week or two while you try to recover?  How much $$$ is lost - lost sales, employee productivity, company credibility?  If the number is under $1000, then I might say fine, chance it... any more and you'd be unwise to keep it going as is.  Yes, it's a waste of SOME money trying to move it to a new server / VM when you're redesigning the site, but then perhaps the redesign should have been done earlier and now, delaying that, your costs have gone up.

3. If you keep running it on this server and especially if your log files are the issue, then you have several options:
a) add disk space.  Presumably you could buy more disks and add a "D:" drive, then move the logs to the D: drive
b) alter the log schedule (or stop logging entirely - NOT a good idea, but it is, technically, an option).
c) script a transfer of old logs to a different system every day, week, or month.
(and those are just the options I can think of off the top of my head).
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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I saved backup originally to network drive and then copied to a USB passport drive  (4tb for $120) I ended up using the USB drive for the restore.

The software might be free for you depending on your status here or elsewhere (if you have at least 50k points here or are an MVP, or several other designations) check out the paragon software partners page. (Don't have link)
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by:gbzhhu
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Awesome response Lee.  You guys are on a fire today.

1.  My colleague just told me that the server is RAID1 configured.  I don't know how the RAIDs work but the main disk is fine.  How do I check for the mirror to see if it is working as it should.

2.  I have not thought about the hackability of the unsupported OS.  I just thought that since we never use/needed Microsoft support we can carry on using that OS till end of the year.  Now I am new to my role and am responsible for the technical team here and I am trying to bring improvements so your advice is very useful.  Is it a known thing that when support stops hacking those systems increases? The cost of the site being down for a week is unthinkable!!  I am wondering how difficult it is upgrading to win server 2012 (not worrying about the money, just getting it wrong, breaking the site).  Is it as easy as upgrading a PC OS?

3.  a) is what I have been considering  b)not too keen, we need the logs, like you said not ideal   c) sounds very workable and may do that now even if I still pursue a).

Thanks for the great advice
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by:gbzhhu
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Cheers for the info Thomas Zucker-Scharff.  I have 290,686 points :-)

They don't give Dell servers for free do they :-)
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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@gbzhhu

Unfortunately no to dell servers. Get all v versions of the software and then use the premium edition. I use it to schedule backups of my server. Paragon-software is s leader in the field. Since you may need to change oses anyway, note that the software also has a wizard to move from one OS to another.
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by:kevinhsieh
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Those are old drives in the server and I don't know if they even make ultra320 SCSI drives anymore.

If the skillset and infrastructure was available I would virtualize the server. You can tell Windows to use NTFS compression on the log directories which will help a lot. Log files tend to compress well. The server should be monitored for low drive space. I use Ipsentry to do this in my environment. Old log files should be manually or automatically removed.

I have some old drives that should work if you want to move the files to another drive. Just pay shipping and handling.
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by:noxcho
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So I am back. You ask why would it be necessary to have two drives? - for redundancy purpose. If one fails the other one continues working. And the failed one can be replaced without turning down the server. They are hot pluggable. Bad that you have SCSI drives because they are expensive. You need to give a call to HO and aks for prices. Maybe you can out there SATA drives instead of SCSI drives. Ask HP if it is doable with this server.

Once you get the drives take backup of existing configuration and replace the drives, boot the server from Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 Recovery CD and perform restore.
Reboot to Windows. Douring restore you can allocate the new space to C drive and create an additional partition for page file.

To get the software for free from Paragon fill up this form: http://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/ptac/register.html
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by:kevinhsieh
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I am going to suggest hiring a local professional that can make sure that the server is properly backed up and to add drives as necessary. Sorry but I don't think that this is something I would let a developer or even a junior systems administrator handle. The downside risk is too high. I also would not consider swapping drives. Add additional drives and move the log files, but leave the original drives alone.
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by:noxcho
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Well, once configured the backup runs itself. All he needs to do is to check from time to time if all ok. Hiring someone for this purpose only is too much.
Swapping the drives is also not a problrm if first the manual is read.
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by:dlethe
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Talk about the textbook need for virtualization.  This system is Win2K3 with SCSI drives so can't possibly be all that fast.   Why not install the VM package of your choice on a system with your 100GB  RAID-protected storage and migrate it there?    

You can even spoof the MAC address of the virtual machine to match whatever MAC address you currently have.    Then you'll never have to worry about busting out of this system.   (Or add extra NICs as necessary if this server does a lot of network I/O)
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by:andyalder
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You can swap the disks one at a time for bigger ones, then expand the logical disk and finally expand the C: drive using offline tools. You will probably have to buy refurbished disks, 300GB ones are about €300 each, 72GB ones are only €50 each. You would probably also have to buy a new battery for your RAID controller, you can check the state of the current one using the ACU under start-progs-HP system tools.
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by:gbzhhu
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What an amazing help I have had.  Here was me thinking a month ago that I don't need this EE account and want to close it.  Glad I didn't.

Just had a meeting with my MD and he said we could consider using Amazon Cloud for the new rewrite project and asked me what impact would that have with the advice I have been given here.  My take is that we could possibly start using the Amazon cloud server now instead of waiting for the New project and move the current site to Amazon,  But who am I to say I know I know stuff.

What do you great people think?
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by:gbzhhu
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dlethe,

How will a virtualization help?  I thought virtualization would be good for a server which will be used by many sites or used for many purposes.  This server is dedicated to one site
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by:gbzhhu
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andyalder,

Thank you.  300GB for 300EU is cheap.  I would pay 300EU for non refurbished 100GB one

Also regarding the ACU for battery check - I only see this info when I open Array Configuration Utility 7.40.8.0

Smart Array 6i Controller in Embedded Slot
   Parallel SCSI Array A

 36.4 GB Parallel SCSI Drive at Port 1 : SCSI ID 0
 36.4 GB Parallel SCSI Drive at Port 1 : SCSI ID 1
 Logical Drive 1 ( 34727 MB, RAID 1+0 )
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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I believe your particular situation is well suited for moving to amazon. Do use the paragon software to make a copy of your server to be migrated to the cloud.
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by:kevinhsieh
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A very good question is how hard is it to get the web site moved to a different operating system environment? If it can be migrated, this may be a good time to do it, even before the rewrite. It should get migrated to a newer OS, and it could possibly be hosted by Amazon on AWS or EC2, Microsoft Azure, or whatever.

The benefit of virtualization is that you can easily move to a different physical hardware platform, and you can easily adjust the resources given to the VM. For example, if this physical server was in my environment I would convert it to a VM by either doing a P2V conversion or back it up and do a bare metal restore to a fresh VM. Once I had it as a VM I can easily add drives or expand drives. It could be done in minutes. Expanding the C drive requires shutting down the machine, but only because that is a limitation of Windows before Windows 2008. I could even migrate the VM up to Azure, and bring it back down to my virtual infrastructure (so I am told by the marketing literature, never needed to try).
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by:kevinhsieh
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If you have any SAN resources available, you could attach the SAN to your web server and store the log files on the SAN. I did something similar with a physical database server and I needed a larger or faster drive for log files so I moved the log files to the SAN while I kept the database files and OS on the local disk.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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The paragon software will P2V it for you.
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by:gbzhhu
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Guys,

Thank you so much for your assistance.  I am really humbled by your wonderful responses.

We decided to go to Amazon.  MD wants to "just use Amazon" for this as well as future projects.  I am insisting that we need training to take advantage of the platform rather than just get by to use the basics.  I hear Amazon is huge.

Now the points.  500 is certainly not enough to share.  Am I allowed here at EE to pass my points to experts?  You all provided great answers, some more detailed than others.  I am at a loss of what to do!
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by:noxcho
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You can accept one answer with points and share points for others as assisted.

As for moving to Amazon. You are completely right with the training. I would insist on it as well. Then you make less mistakes later.
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by:gbzhhu
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I had the best assistance I could wish for.  Thank you guys
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