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Is it safe to convert a OS installed basic boot disk to dynamic disk

Posted on 2015-02-05
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
We have a windows 2008 server OS installed on a basic disk. We need to extend the space of this disk. This space is provided by a LUN on our Dell Compellant Storage. Is it safe to convert this basic disk to dynamic disk and extending the volume without crashing/orrupting the OS.

Thank You.

Philip
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Question by:psunith
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17 Comments
 
LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40593057
If you have a backup, it's safe. Have not seen it fail in 20 times I did that.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40593105
It is safe but is this the only approach you can take over at the moment?
I would try the different one - backup the current C: drive - then reconfigure the drive with more space and after that restore the system with automatic resize.
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40593112
NOxcho, how would you recover the image of a basic disk to a dynamic disk? He needs a dynamic disk to use his LUN.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40593123
Erm, he has basic disk at the moment. And he needs dynamic disk to use Extend Volume option of the dynamic disk type. Or do I understand his question wrong?
The LUN provides space and if the drive is going to be basic or dynamic decides the OS.
What I am suggesting is to backup current Basic drive of its current size. Then reconfigure the space provided by LUN - bigger space and restore the image over this new space.
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LVL 42

Accepted Solution

by:
kevinhsieh earned 2000 total points
ID: 40593133
No, I would not recommend this. Is this boot to SAN, or is it a VM? Either way, stick with the basic disk. Never use a dynamic disk unless there is no other way to do what you need. Basic disks are more fragile and lots of things don't work properly with them.

Is there another partition on the same drive after C? There shouldn't be. Multiple partitions on the same drive are only required if you have a fixed physical disk. Since you are on a SAN, you can make each disk as large or small as you need, and if you need another partition or drive letter stick it on a new disk.

You can just expand the size of the disk on the SAN side, and then expand the C partition into the adjacent free space. The modern Windows versions can do this. See http://blogs.technet.com/b/mghazai/archive/2009/02/24/extend-system-boot-volume-on-windows-server-2008-windows-vista-win7-beta.aspx
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40593244
Kevin:
Basic disks are more fragile and lots of things don't work properly with them.
- I guess you were meaning dynamic disks Kevin. I am of the same opinion that's why I am asking if this is this only option he sees.
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40593278
Dynamic disks are need for what he does (psunith, correct me, if I am wrong). That's why I asked noxcho how he would proceed with the image. We cannot restore an image of a basic disk to a dynamic one, that's the problem.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40593284
But he states that he has already OS on basic disk and he wants to extend it.
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40593394
Yes... and you tell him to take an image and restore it to the newly-built dynamic disk - that is technically impossible.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40593479
No no, I am telling him to take image -
then reconfigure the drive with more space
- then reconfigure the LUN which Windows will see as unallocated space on basic drive of bigger size and restore backup over it.
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40593603
Okeydokey, let's wait and not discuss. This is a 3-click, 1 minute thing if you have a backup... the setup with the LUN is not clear. I thought, he would have it as an additional drive and map that into a folder of his old drive, which is, AFAIR, a capability only dynamic drives have.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40593612
Yep, exactly. And my suggestion was to use a better approach which increases the size of system drive without need to add additional drives/converting them into dynamic.
If there is another partition after C: drive then better to resize C: and D: so to allocate space from D: to C:
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 40594091
Even if there are 3 TB of partitions after the C partition I would not recommend converting to a dynamic disk. If I couldn't take much downtime I would use the SAN to take a thin clone of the disk and connect it back to the server for all the other partitions, and then delete the partitions following the original C partition so that the C partition could be expanded. I would delete the former C partition from the cloned drive.
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 40595703
It would be nice if OP Philip could let us know if we are talking about the right things here.
0
 

Author Comment

by:psunith
ID: 40597668
Thanks Kevinsieh. I have followed your solution as mentioned below, but ran into a new problem.

No, I would not recommend this. Is this boot to SAN, or is it a VM? Either way, stick with the basic disk. Never use a dynamic disk unless there is no other way to do what you need. Basic disks are more fragile and lots of things don't work properly with them.

Is there another partition on the same drive after C? There shouldn't be. Multiple partitions on the same drive are only required if you have a fixed physical disk. Since you are on a SAN, you can make each disk as large or small as you need, and if you need another partition or drive letter stick it on a new disk.

You can just expand the size of the disk on the SAN side, and then expand the C partition into the adjacent free space. The modern Windows versions can do this. See http://blogs.technet.com/b/mghazai/archive/2009/02/24/extend-system-boot-volume-on-windows-server-2008-windows-vista-win7-beta.aspx


My machines are all on Vmware, mixed environment. The particular disk the filesystem is of type vmfs3.46. We are unable to increase the size on the vmware side.

Please help me on how to increase the size of this disk without hitting the vm, as this disk contains the vnx / OS of the VM.

Thanks
0
 
LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 40597696
Okay, so let me get this straight. This server is a VM. You don't have space on the VMFS datastore to expand the VMDK. Is this correct? How big is the VMFS datastore?

I am pretty new to VMware, but I am pretty sure that filling up your VMFS datastore is a very bad thing, and that older versions are limited to just under 2 TB.

If your datastore is under 2 TB, you can expand the Compellent LUN and then extend the datastore. If you are unsure how to do these two steps, I would contact Dell and/or VMware.

If your datastore is already at 2 TB, you need to free up space by deleting old VMs, merging snapshots, or migrating 1 or more VMs to a new/different datastore. If you are licensed for Storage vMotion (available with vSphere Standard or higher) you can migrate the VM to a new datastore while it is running.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40597835
What is the size of C: at the moment?
You can attach another drive to this machine and move some files and databases from system drive to this newly attached one.
Usually 40GB must be ok for a system drive if you do not store everything on system drive.
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