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Add Drives to Perc6/i RAID 5 Array

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We have a Dell T610 server with (4)  146GB SAS 6GB 15K Seagate Hard Drives in RAID 5 on a Perc6/i RAID controller. We have two logical drives (or are they virtual drives?) on this array. Drive 0 is C: drive and is partitioned at 100GB. The rest of the space is allocated to Drive 1 (the D Drive).

We're getting a little low on space on both logical drives so it looks like we're going to need to add 2 (or 4) drives to the storage array.

If we buy two more drives that match identically what we have already, what is going to be the easiest way to add these drives to our array?

We are running Windows Small Business Server 2008 on this server. Exchange Server and SQL Server 2008 Express are both using the D Drive for to hold their data. We are using Windows Backup and backing up to USB 2.0 Drives.

Any pointers or tips on what it's going to take to expand our array?

All Replies
  • Hello hkcolorado

    There is a reconfigure option within Openmanage Server Administrator. Also, server 2008 allows dynamic partition allocation.

      • Insert the new drives
      • Use RECONFIGURE in OMSA to add them to the current array
      • Extend the partition using Windows Disk Management

    You will not likely be able to extend the partition of C:, only D:. The partitions are concatenated, so you should only be able to extend the partition that borders the free space. Microsoft may have changed the way disk management functions to allow this so you can try but I don't expect it to work.

    Thanks

    Daniel Mysinger

    Download the Dell Quick Resource Locator app today to access PowerEdge support content on your mobile device! (iOS, Android, Windows)

  • Logical drives and virtual drives (or disks) can be used interchangeably when referring to RAID arrays, but you need to be careful what you are talking about.  When you say you have "two logical drives on this array", you could be talking about one single RAID array across the disks with "two logical drives" set up as partitions within Windows.  You could also be talking about two separate RAID arrays (called Virtual Disks officially, but also often referred to as Logical Drives/Disks) across your disks with a single partition using the entire size of the array, with a 100GB array (called "disk 0" in Windows Disk Management) and another array with the remaining space (called "disk 1" in Windows Disk Management) for your other partition.  This can make a big difference in what options you have.  In Disk Management, do you have one or two "disks"?

    If one, then Daniel's instructions will work.  If two "disks", then it will not.

    Also, just to clarify Daniel's instructions (IF you have a single "disk"), you cannot directly add the space to C: using built-in Windows tools (Disk Management/DiskPart) ... you would have to 1) use a third-party utility capable of resizing partitions while keeping data intact (usually expensive), or 2) you would need to backup D:, delete D:, extend C:, recreate D:, restore D: (because Disk Management can only extend a partition into Unpartitioned Space, but all can be done within Windows Disk Management).

    If you have two "disks" in Disk Management, then your options are extremely limited.

  • Thanks guys. This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.

    In Windows Disk Management I see two different "disks", a Disk0 (OS) and Disk1 (DATA).

    I think we are going to set it up entirely different when we do the changeover. I think we'll install (2) 300GB or 450GB drives, put them in RAID 1, and use that for the OS. Then we'll add (2) 146GB drives to the RAID 5 array and use that for the Data Storage.

    So the final question I run into, (and I may need to post this one somewhere else), is this: Can Windows Backup restore to disks/partitions of a different configuration and size?

    I know that's a real problem for some backup software. I've used Acronis TrueImage (the home version) as well as Symatec Backup Exec System Recovery. I think both of those are capable of what I'm talking about doing but I don't know much about Windows Backup (bit/image backup, not NT Backup).

  • With a "sliced" array (two arrays across the same set of disks), you'll likely need to just start over anyway to accomplish what you are hoping to.  I don't think you can "reconfigure" a "sliced" array.  This is one downfall to doing this; really, the only good reason for this setup is to avoid the 2TB/GPT boot disk limit.

    Partition sizes (as long as the target is larger) should not be an issue.  As long as the software either natively supports the RAID controller to which the drives are attached or provides a way to load the driver for it, the RAID configuration is also a non-issue, as it simply presents a Virtual Disk to Windows, which Windows simply sees and treats as a single disk - oblivious to the fact that there are multiple disks in a RAID array.