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Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

(OP)
Hello there,

Thanks for reading this post. I'm trying to find out the best way to upgrade the C drive on our IBM server. We have an IBM x3400 model 7976. We currently have 2 x 73GB SAS 15k Hot-Swap drives in RAID 1 for the C drive. I want to increase this to 146GB using 2 x 146GB SAS 15k Hot-Swap drives (IBM product code 40K1044).

Just for info the server also has 2 x 300GB SAS 15k Hot-Swap drives in RAID 1 for the E drive which is a data drive.

I'm not sure whether to:-

OPTION 1) Switch the server off and remove the two existing 73GB drives. Fit the two new 146GB drives and then perform a bare metal restore from external USB disk. This would be a good opportunity to test my bare metal backup to see if it works. I would obviously still have the two original 73GB drives which work fine and if things didn't go according to plan I could put the old drives back in.

OPTION 2) With the server ON, should I fit one 146GB drive first (into which slot?) and then let the RAID rebuild its self on the larger drive. I would then fit the other 146GB drive to complete the new larger array? I know this would need to be done in the correct order otherwise the new blank 146GB drive might overwrite the existing 73GB drive which wont be good. Also, would the new array not be the SAME SIZE as the old array even though bigger drives have been fitted? So this might not work?

OPTION 3) Any other suggestions welcome...


I'm not sure if I need to do anything in the BIOS FIRST to do either of the above?

So, can anyone tell me the best way to achieve this?

Any advice will be very much appreciated.

Regards,

David.
ICT Support Technician for a small UK based business

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

option 1 is the best plan, and yes, with option 2 the 146 gb drives, would be seen as 73gb drives, the rest of the drives space once both drives were installed could be used and the array expanded to fit the unused space. Also, in option 1, you need to set up the array before you do the restore. My only question, is your backup a backup? or a copy of the partition or drive?

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

Another option, although option 1 is good for testing your bare metal restore, would be to use an image backup of the 73GB drives and slap that on top of the newly installed 146GB drives.

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

(OP)
Thanks for the reply. Everything I've heard both here and elsewhere points at solution 1 (full system restore) being the best option.

rclarke250 asked if the backup was a backup or an image. It's actually a Windows Server 'bare metal' Backup which is also supposed to backup the system state. The idea is that a full server restore is posible using the bare metal backups. Needless to say you would never actually do a full system restore just to test it. This means we have never actually done a full bare metal restore. We have recovered individual files from specified dates, but never the whole system. This is why this option was appealing.

1) Make a full bare metal backup onto USB drive
2) Switch the server off and remove the 2 x 73GB disks
3) Fit the 2 x 146GB disks and switch the server on
4) Boot from the bootable IBM RAID Manager CD-ROM and configure the new 146GB array
5) Re-boot again from the Windows Server 2008 CD-ROM and select "Restore Data" option.
6) Restore the C drive which should do system files, data files and system state etc
to put server back into exactly the same state as it was when the backup was made.

Job done...

The fall back plan is that I still have the two original 73GB drives which could be re-fitted if the above does not work. However, if the above doesnt work then it means the bare metal backups that we make each night aren't working as intended which again is something we need to know.

I might make a disk image of drive C after Step 1 just in case, but according to the Windows Server Backup documentation a bare metal backup is all you need.

Thanks for your advice. Any more tips?

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

Yes, IN THEORY, exactly what you said to do is the way it's done and you should have a system working just as before you touched it except the system will be on the larger drives.

Hopefully, when you say "USB drive", you mean like an external USB hard drive and not a memory stick/flash drive. I wouldn't trust those for my backups!!!

I'm wondering what will happen with the data on the other two hard drives (the E: drive). If that's part of the full backup, the bare metal recovery will likely restore that too UNLESS you use the option to only restore the O.S. partition. Something to watch for. No real need to restore or even touch the E: drive.

I might be tempted to remove those hard drives for safety, but that might not be a good idea because you want them to remain as part of the system. Maybe you should make a separate DATA only (E: drive) backup just in case something crazy happens. That way you could reload everything from scratch and have a data-only backup to restore that.

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

(OP)
Thanks goombawaho, yes, I'm talking about an external 2TB USB drive with it's own power supply. I'd struggle to get a flash drive with a 200GB capacity (the backup is 189GB smile

I note your comments about the E drive and as well as making a separate disk image of drive C after Step 1 I will also do this for the E drive. I can also make a Windows Server Backup of individual drives, so will also make a standalone Windows Server Backup of the E drive.

I've just checked the Windows Server Backup documentation, and you can opt just to recover the C drive and the system state which means I can leave the E drive alone during the restore.

Someone in another post said the IBM keeps the RAID config settings in the controller and on the drives BUT when you create a new RAID set you wipe the old one off the controller config. They said you can bring it back from the drives but that it can be tricky?? This means simply putting the old drives back in if the upgrade didn't work might not be straight?? I would have thought the IBM RAID manager software should easily be able to handle this? Hopefully I wont need to find out as the restore will work fine smile

I must admit to being a litle nervous and anxious about this upgrade. Our IBM server runs the business and we cant afford to be without it. On the other hand, it's good business continuity planning as we really should be able to restore our data, especailly having all this time to carefully plan it (you dont always get that luxury when hard drives fail without notice).

I'll remember to post an update about how the upgrade went. Thanks for all the help and advice.

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

Quote:

They said you can bring it back from the drives but that it can be tricky?? This means simply putting the old drives back in if the upgrade didn't work might not be straight??
From what I recall, there is an option if you put the old RAID drives back in that goes something like "READ CONFIG FROM DRIVES" which should put the RAID back as it was. In other words, read the RAID config off the drives vs. having to reconfig the RAID from scratch.

Don't stress out too much. If you have a DATA backup, the absolute worst thing that can happen is that you have to reload your operating system from the DVD, install all patches and put the data back on the E: data drives. "With backup comes peace of mind."

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

If it is an older adaptec raid adapter that is true, but if it is an sli adapter, or newer than an 8k card, it will read and load the config automatically, it may ask you if you want to import a foreign config, answer yes.

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

(OP)
Hi, thanks for all the tips and advice.

The exact model of the server is:-

IBM System X3400 type 7976. Purchased in Aug 2009.
It's NOT the M3 model.
It has the IBM ServeRAID 8k RAID Controller 256MB RAM, Supports RAID-0, 1, 1E, 10, 5, 6

- Array#0 RAID-1 SLOT 0 1 2 x 73Gb IBM 15k SAS Hot Swappable HD 3Gb/s
- Array#1 RAID-1 SLOT 2 3 2 x 300Gb IBM 15k SAS Hot Swappable HD 3Gb/s

- 2 x Intel Xeon E5410 Quad-Core CPU's @ 2.33 GHz. 45 nm. 80w. Socket 771
- 1333Mhz FSB. 12Mb L2 cache

- 16GB DDR2 RAM (4x4GB). Fully buffered with 'Kill Chip' Technology

- Mainboard: M97IP FOXCONN IBM part: 41Y4290

- Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet

- 2 x 850 watt hot swap power supplies

- 4 x USB2, 1 x serial, 1 x parallel i/f

We only have 20 work stations and even though this server is now three years old it's still a very poweful beast.

If it wasn't for the fact that I'm forever trying to free up space on the C drive I would be leaving it well alone. I've already moved all possible data such as Exchange Server Database, Share Point Database, Staff My Documents (folder redirection) and WSUS to the larger E drive. You can buy 2 x 164GB original IBM 15k drives for £128+VAT each so for around £300 total I thought why not double the capacity of my C drive. Once I've done this the C drive will have approx 90GB of free space. The E drive has 120GB of free space so this means we will get another few years out of the server (we plan to upgrade in 2014). We have an on-site extended IBM warranty for peace of mind.

Any more tips about the best way to upgrade the Array#0 RAID-1 from 73GB to 146GB would be welcome.

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

Quote:

Any more tips about the best way to upgrade the Array#0 RAID-1 from 73GB to 146GB would be welcome.
I think we've given you everything possible. I see you're borderline obsessive-compulsive, but that makes for a good upgrade. wink

RE: Best way to upgrade RAID 1 from 73GB to 146GB?

rclarke250 - it's been a few years since touching an IBM raid, so thanks. I knew it could be done. Saved my bacon one time.

Quote:

If it is an older adaptec raid adapter that is true, but if it is an sli adapter, or newer than an 8k card, it will read and load the config automatically, it may ask you if you want to import a foreign config, answer yes.

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