Disk array expansion on Dell PowerEdge T620 under VMware ESXi v5.5

David Haycox
David Haycox used Ask the Experts™
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We have a Dell PowerEdge T620 running VMware ESXi v5.5.0.  It has a single virtual disk containing 6 x 600GB SAS disks in a RAID-10 configuration, attached to the PERC H710 controller, which has 512MB cache and a battery .  We want to expand the array and so have already connected two more disks of the same size, which show up as "ready" in the iDRAC GUI.

We can use the GUI to add the new disks as dedicated hotspares, but there is no option to add the disks to the array to expand it.

We have installed the Dell "Perccli" VIB and can run perccli to administer the array.

How do we either use perccli or some other method to add the disks to the array and expand it?
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Top Expert 2014

Commented:
David HaycoxConsultant Engineer

Author

Commented:
Great, thanks.  So If I run "./perccli /c0 show" I get this:

Physical Drives = 8

PD LIST :
=======

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
EID:Slt DID State DG       Size Intf Med SED PI SeSz Model            Sp Type
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
32:0      0 Onln   0 558.375 GB SAS  HDD N   N  512B ST3600057SS      U  -
32:1      1 Onln   0 558.375 GB SAS  HDD N   N  512B ST3600057SS      U  -
32:2      2 Onln   0 558.375 GB SAS  HDD N   N  512B ST3600057SS      U  -
32:3      3 Onln   0 558.375 GB SAS  HDD N   N  512B ST3600057SS      U  -
32:4      4 Onln   0 558.375 GB SAS  HDD N   N  512B ST3600057SS      U  -
32:5      5 Onln   0 558.375 GB SAS  HDD N   N  512B ST3600057SS      U  -
32:6      6 UGood  - 558.375 GB SAS  HDD N   N  512B ST600MP0036      U  -
32:7      7 UGood  - 558.375 GB SAS  HDD N   N  512B ST600MP0036      U  -
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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But then if I run "./perccli /c0/v0 start migrate type=r1 option=add disk=e32:s6,e32:s7" I get
syntax error, unexpected TOKEN_DISK, expecting TOKEN_DRIVES

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What have I got wrong?  Thanks.
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
The newest PERC I'm aware of that is capable of expanding a RAID 10 is the H730, and then it was reported that they had to do it in the CTRL-R utility. You could try updating the H710 to the latest firmware and trying it, but it may not be supported on the H710. Historically, RAID 10 expansion has not been possible.
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David HaycoxConsultant Engineer

Author

Commented:
Is this relevant?
/opt/lsi/perccli # ./perccli /c0/dall show
CLI Version = 007.0529.0000.0000 Sep 18, 2018
Operating system = VMkernel 5.5.0
Controller = 0
Status = Success
Description = Show Diskgroup Succeeded


TOPOLOGY :
========

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DG Arr Row EID:Slot DID Type   State BT       Size PDC  PI SED DS3  FSpace TR
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 0 -   -   -        -   RAID10 Optl  N    1.635 TB dflt N  N   dflt N      N
 0 0   -   -        -   RAID1  Optl  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt N      N
 0 0   0   32:0     0   DRIVE  Onln  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt -      N
 0 0   1   32:1     1   DRIVE  Onln  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt -      N
 0 1   -   -        -   RAID1  Optl  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt N      N
 0 1   0   32:2     2   DRIVE  Onln  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt -      N
 0 1   1   32:3     3   DRIVE  Onln  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt -      N
 0 2   -   -        -   RAID1  Optl  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt N      N
 0 2   0   32:4     4   DRIVE  Onln  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt -      N
 0 2   1   32:5     5   DRIVE  Onln  N  558.375 GB dflt N  N   dflt -      N
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DG=Disk Group Index|Arr=Array Index|Row=Row Index|EID=Enclosure Device ID
DID=Device ID|Type=Drive Type|Onln=Online|Rbld=Rebuild|Dgrd=Degraded
Pdgd=Partially degraded|Offln=Offline|BT=Background Task Active
PDC=PD Cache|PI=Protection Info|SED=Self Encrypting Drive|Frgn=Foreign
DS3=Dimmer Switch 3|dflt=Default|Msng=Missing|FSpace=Free Space Present
TR=Transport Ready

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
do you not have OSMA installed on ESXi ?

(from windows! - https://www.oxfordsbsguy.com/2017/11/26/how-to-expand-a-dell-perc-h710-raid-array/)
Top Expert 2014
Commented:
Oops, forgot PERC/MegaRAID inability to expand nested RAID levels.
David HaycoxConsultant Engineer

Author

Commented:
Well, it's installed but not necessarily on ESXi.  This is by browsing to the iDRAC address.  The "reconfigure" option is missing:
Dell IDRAC
David HaycoxConsultant Engineer

Author

Commented:
Nested levels?  Because RAID-10 is comprised of several RAID-1 pairs?  That seems a bit, well, rubbish.  You can do it on HP, IBM, Fujitsu, etc.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Quicker to rebuild, than wait for a rebuild.

1. Backup.
2. Rebuild.
3. Restore.

Or create those new disks as a new RAID pair, and add to ESXi datastore!

Are you wanting to expand the VMFS datastore ?
David HaycoxConsultant Engineer

Author

Commented:
Yes, we just want to expand the datastore.  Can we do that by adding a different RAID pair in ESXi v5.5.0?
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
RAID 10 = RAID 0 comprised of RAID 1 pairs (nested). I'm not sure the technical reasons why not, just that is has been limitation on many LSI-based controllers, including Dell PERC's … at least up until the H730 (but it may have been enabled on the H710 via firmware update).
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Not on many IBMs or Fujitsus either as they are MegaRAID based, https://www.broadcom.com/support/knowledgebase/1211161503168/how-to-expand-an-array-on-megaraid-controllers-adding-drives-to-  . HPE is a different animal, they don't use LSI's RAID stack although they do use their RoC chips sometimes.

It is indeed rubbish as you can expand RAID 1 to RAID 10
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
This is important....where did you install ESXi ?

did you install on SD card, USB flash drive....

or did you install it on the same RAID array which shares the datastore ?
David HaycoxConsultant Engineer

Author

Commented:
ESXi is on an SD card.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
That's good.

ESXi uses what is presented to it (e.g. what is created).

If you create a new RAID 1 (mirror) with those two disks, you can create a new datastore in ESXi.
David HaycoxConsultant Engineer

Author

Commented:
Of course, but really we need to expand the existing datastore.  We could use a new one in addition but the disk performance would not be as good, and we would then have two datastores that might run out of space rather than just one.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Plan B then, Backup, Rebuild, Restore.

or purchase new storage controller.
David HaycoxConsultant Engineer

Author

Commented:
We actually have a replica server as well (VMHOST2) which we use with Veeam, so we are going to:

1.      Create a temporary 2-disk RAID-1 (mirror) on VMHOST1
2.      Disable replication
3.      Install BIOS, RAID, iDRAC, etc. updates on VMHOST2
5.      Reconfigure storage on VMHOST2 (destructively)
6.      Move all VMs to VMHOST2
8.      Install BIOS, RAID, iDRAC, etc. updates on VMHOST1
9.      Reconfigure storage on VMHOST1 (destructively)
10.      Move VMs back to VMHOST1
11.      Enable replication

Thanks all!

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