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Expanding drive space on Dell server with PERC 6i RAID controller

Posted on 2016-09-10
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  • Windows Server 2012
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Last Modified: 2016-12-08
The server is a Dell R710 with eight physical drives.  Two are configured for the virtual OS and six for the second drive.

Each disk one at a time, was swapped from 300GB to 900GB and the RAID rebuilt before doing the next one.

The question is how to expand the space in the virtual drives without loosing the data, if that is possible.  I recall, maybe incorrectly or inaccurately, that in the controller boot it was possible to alter the virtual disk sizes but then NOT initialize them thus keeping the data but getting full use of the data there.

If that is possible, how do you do it?

Restoring the second drive is not really a big deal, just takes forever....

The OS drive is another matter and i do not wish to risk a bare metal restore.  Just saying....

So here is an alternative thought for the C: virtual disk.  What if I create a new virtual disk in the now unused space, then bind that to the original C: as a shared space?  I am thinking that is just not possible on the system disk.  But maybe there is a way..

Any suggestions much appreciated!!!!
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Question by:lmheimendinger
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 41793113
I had a different scenario,  but the solution could be the same.  For my configuration I had 3 physical disks, RAID 5, PERC. I had a logical drive for the boot drove and the rest of the space was allotted  as data space. I used a repartioning s/w to expand the servers' boot partition. (Paragon, but you can use something else)
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PowerEdgeTech earned 500 total points
ID: 41793118
Thomas' response doesn't really apply to what you are trying to do. Paragon cannot expand RAID arrays. They can only extend/resize partitions within the OS. The array is essentially the "disk" listed in Disk Management.

What you are looking for is called a "retag". The PERC 6 does NOT support Online Capacity Expansion in that way - it supports OCE by ADDING disks to an array, not be replacing smaller disks with larger disks. A retag is done be deleting the array, then configuring the array again with the exact same settings (except the size of course). HOWEVER ... a retag was never intended to be used for OCE ... it is a RAID recovery tool designed to recover an array whose configuration was lost - an array whose configuration is NOT changing. Dell RAID engineers discourage use of a retag for OCE because the structure of the array will be damaged. Backup and restore is the safest way forward for this. Newer controllers support OCE by replacing smaller disks with larger disks.

Yes, you could create a new array and span a volume with your system volume, extending the size of your C: drive, but that is NOT a good idea.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 41793399
Poweredgetech ,

I used this on a poweredge server with raid5 and perc6.
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Author Comment

by:lmheimendinger
ID: 41793407
PowerdgeTech, thanks for the more thorough explanation.  I agree with you that Thomas describes increasing the size of the partition from with the OS, not increasing the size of the RAID virtual disk.  I just updated the firmware on PERC 6i hoping some magic would appear.  No such luck.

Any suggestions on imagining software to do a quicker save and recovery rather than using Windows Server backup for doing it?  I always get nervous on bare metal restores from server backups.
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Author Closing Comment

by:lmheimendinger
ID: 41793408
Dell should have long ago made this possible....
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 41793427
For Imaging software, I use paragon as well,  and have never had a problem.  I usually do a full image backup before such a task as well as a file by file backup. The instance I referred to was indeed with partitions,  not VMs.  Paragon does do an excellent full metal backup/restore.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 41793452
Dell should have long ago made this possible....
They did ... 8 years ago. The PERC 6 was released in 2007 and was only an incremental update to the PERC 5 (2006) ... it is aged technology by now. It just happened to be a legacy option for the R710 after the R710 was released. The R710 is/was also configurable with the H700, which does support this feature (and more).
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Author Comment

by:lmheimendinger
ID: 41822532
Solved my problem by replacing PERC 6/i with H700, posted step by step in another thread.

It was easy generally speaking with no data loss.
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