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Need to resize a RAID 5 config. Anyone successful with this?

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October 30, 2006 5:46:20 PM

Hi everyone,

I have a Dell Poweredge 4300 that I setup using a RAID 5 config. The C:\ drive has little space left (<750Mb) and I would like to find something that can successfully re-size the partition without losing data as this is a production server.

I have read nightmare style forum replies from around the net of someone using the following software without success.

Acronis Disk Director - Failure
Partition Magic - Failure

I have read that some have tried Paragon Partition Manager, but the replies were inconclusive (IE. did not attempt it evidently).

Have any of you re-sized a RAID 5 successfully, and if so; what software was utilized?

Thank you in advance.
October 30, 2006 6:43:13 PM

Well, there's a couple points to be made here.

First, if you searched the Internet for potential problems with Partition Magic or Acronis Disk Director, all you will turn up are people who had problems with the software (for whatever reason). Hardly anyone posts that the software worked perfectly for them, so you get an unclear picture as to the software's reliability.

I personally use Partition Magic 8 all the time and have never had a problem with it that trashed data. It has, on some occasions, given me error messages about a file system that couldn't be fixed, but the result of that has always been that it just aborts the operation before it starts.

So, to address your problem, we need to know a few things.

What's the current drive configuration of this server? i.e. What physical drives are in the machine, what disk controller are they set up on, what RAID logical volumes are set up, and what partitions are set up on them? This is going to determine whether the operation you want to do is even possible or not.
October 30, 2006 7:10:16 PM

I would also suggest running this by Dell support for possible issues.

They would be in best place to alert you for possible Firmware issues.

Somejoe is right on the target about being careful for judging a product based upon reports of issues unless you can judge a ratio. I do a lot of web support for a major software company and the key thing I need to remind people when they see a number of problems reported. If 1,000,000 install the software and 1,000 people have problems then the issue rate is only 1 in a 1,000. If just 10% of the people who had problems reported the issue you would see 100 reports. So while 100 reports may seem like a lot it may indicate only a very minor or rare problem.
Related resources
October 31, 2006 1:57:33 PM

Thank you both. I will pose the question to Dell and await their answer.
October 31, 2006 2:45:06 PM

I believe it may depend on the RAID controller you have. It could be the built in one or a Perc5i, or some other that I can't remember the name of off the top of my head.
October 31, 2006 2:46:44 PM

One server has a PERC2/SC and the other has a PERC2/DC.
October 31, 2006 3:52:10 PM

Are you just trying to rearrange/modify partitions on the RAID array, or do you want to physically add additional drive(s) to increase the total storage of the array?
October 31, 2006 5:04:55 PM

Specs on Servers
Server #1
PowerEdge 4300
Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
PERC2/SC
18Gb Drives - Basic
C:\Drive (750Mb)
E:\Drive (30Gb)
RAID 5 Config

Server #2
PowerEdge 2400
Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
PERC2/DC
18Gb Drives - Basic
C:\Drive (1.4Gb)
E:\Drive (30Gb)
RAID 5 Config
18Gb Drives

I am planning on moving some of the space on the E:\ drives over to C:\ drive.
October 31, 2006 5:09:07 PM

The missing data is the operating systems and file system formats on those partitions. I assume Microsoft Operatings Systems which should not be an issue. However, If you are running NetWare or Linux I would take special care to assure the tool is designed to handle the particular version of file system used by those Operating systems since each of those OSes could be using a number of different file systems.
October 31, 2006 8:30:50 PM

Quote:
Specs on Servers
Server #1
PowerEdge 4300
Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
PERC2/SC
18Gb Drives - Basic
C:\Drive (750Mb)
E:\Drive (30Gb)
RAID 5 Config

Server #2
PowerEdge 2400
Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
PERC2/DC
18Gb Drives - Basic
C:\Drive (1.4Gb)
E:\Drive (30Gb)
RAID 5 Config
18Gb Drives

I am planning on moving some of the space on the E:\ drives over to C:\ drive.


OK, I assume that each machine is using 18GB drives, and each machine has 3 of them to do the RAID 5.

It appears that each machine has one logical container set up on the RAID-5, and that logical container is approximately 32GB. (4GB missing? Should be 36GB? Is there maybe a hidden Dell restore partition using the additional 4GB? I will assume so.)

I also take it you want to steal space from the E: partition on each machine to increase the size of the C: partition. I also assume that all partitions are NTFS.

If all of my assumptions are correct, and if this is what you want to do, then it is possible.

Acronis Disk Director will directly allow you to resize the partitions. Obviously, you'll back up all data first. Then you'll resize E: downwards by maybe 4GB, and then resize C: upwards by 4GB. That'll give you a 4.75GB C: on server 1 and 5.4GB C: on server 2. In no case should you mess with the 3rd partition you'll probably see on the drives, that's the Dell System Restore partition.

Partition Magic 8 by default will not allow you to do anything to the partitions on a server operating system. Partition Magic makes this decision by looking at the operating system installed on the first hard disk enumerated by the system BIOS. Since, in this case, there is only one hard disk enumerated (the RAID 5 logical container) which contains Windows Server 2003, Partition Magic will refuse to run.

However, if you can connect another hard disk to the server that has a desktop operating system installed on it, and tell the server temporarily in the BIOS that that's the boot drive, you can then boot the Partition Magic 8 CD, it will see the desktop operating system as the C: drive, and will allow you to do anything you want. I have also been able to do this by booting Partition Magic from a USB key using syslinux. The USB key is seen as the C: drive. Don't worry about the desktop operating system, you're never going to attempt to boot the server from that drive, it just has to be there to convince Partition Magic that it's running on a workstation, not a server.

Now, all you're doing here is trading space on E: for space on C:. You're not actually changing the size of the RAID-5 logical volume/container. The PERC2 series of RAID controllers don't support online capacity expansion, so changing all drives one at a time to a larger physical drive won't work. If you need more space, you will have to use Acronis TrueImage or Norton Ghost to image all the partitions to a network drive, replace all 3 drives, create a new RAID-5 logical volume/container, and then copy all the partition images back and resize.
November 1, 2006 1:10:00 PM

Thanks for the reply Joe.

I received a response from Paragon Partition support and they have also stated that I can use their software to get it done.

One of my configurations is as follows on PE2400:
Capacity Used RAID Available Hot Spare
16.87Gb 16.87Gb 0.00Gb No
16.87Gb 0.00Gb 16.87Gb No
16.87Gb 16.87Gb 0.00Gb No
16.87Gb 16.87Gb 0.00Gb No
16.87Gb 16.87Gb 0.00Gb No

Thanks again.
November 1, 2006 2:01:19 PM

I've used Partition Magic to resize a RAID 5 array controlled by Intel's Matrix Storage Manager connected to an Intel ICH7R. It blew the array parity, but it rebuilt itself without losing any data.
November 1, 2006 2:10:10 PM

Thanks for the reply sruane. Hopefully I can get it done in the near future. There's not much worse than a server with low free capacity on it's system drive.
July 19, 2007 8:29:54 PM

I have almost the exact problem. Dell PowerEdge 1800 dual proc , RAID 5, c drive needs to be expanded... D, contracted. T1tech... did you ever get an answer from Dell on how to do this.

a b G Storage
September 8, 2009 4:34:57 PM

whatever you do make sure you image all partitions to a backup drive before doing anything.
a c 126 G Storage
November 6, 2009 5:00:45 AM

You should not do this on a production server IMO.

However, the Windows' "expand" feature in Device Manager might be the safest choice of all. It needs to have free space after the C: partition so it can expand; so backup and delete anything after C: so C: is able to expand.
December 1, 2009 7:30:44 AM

sub mesa said:
You should not do this on a production server IMO.

However, the Windows' "expand" feature in Device Manager might be the safest choice of all. It needs to have free space after the C: partition so it can expand; so backup and delete anything after C: so C: is able to expand.


Device Manager? It should be Storage > Disk Management, but you cannot do this in Server 2003 disk managment, this feature only provided in Vista/2008/Win7

Diskpart commond line is free and have this feature, but to resize partition, you have to delete the partition after C. I like to use partition magic server alternative to resize partition
December 8, 2009 6:23:56 PM

sruane said:
I've used Partition Magic to resize a RAID 5 array controlled by Intel's Matrix Storage Manager connected to an Intel ICH7R. It blew the array parity, but it rebuilt itself without losing any data.


Hi sruane,

I want to increase my RAID-5 volume size. I also have an Intel ICH7R and Windows XP Pro. Currently I have 3 unmatched disks, a 150, 250, and 500GB. I want to replace them with three matched 500GB disks, but also increase the volume size from 300GB to 1,000GB. How do I do that without starting from scratch? And if I need Partition Magic, which version?
December 9, 2009 12:54:26 AM

Hi K-Touch,

Thank you for your quick reply. After backing everything up, I was thinking I would replace each disk one-at-a-time and let the RAID rebuild each time. Then, when I had all three new disks working, use Easeus EPM to change the volume size. Would that work? Or would one of your methods be better?

In #1, can I back up the virtual partitions to an external single drive? Then as I understand it, I replace the 3 drives and recreate the RAID-5. At that point, would I restore the image without first installing Windows XP? How? Could I use Easeus TODO Backup, or would True Image be better?

I won't actually be doing this until January, since I am living in Mexico and have to wait for a friend the bring the disks down from the US. So, when the time comes I may have other questions.

Thanks for your help!

David Brownell
February 26, 2010 3:52:50 PM

I think you guys are looking in the wrong direction as far as software to use. You should download gparted. It is much easier to use and is FREE! its amazing. I have tried it on many Raids and it has never let me down. If you ever do your system drive for windows with it you should fix the system by doing a repair install. Nothing will be broken though if you do this.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
June 22, 2010 6:00:14 AM

To resize raid partitions, it is better not to destroy the current RAID arrays since the magic partition software can do the trick directly through disk partitions. Usually RAID partitions are recognized as physical partitions under Disk Management and this is what magic partition software does. The partition software will also recognize them as physical partitions. All you have to do is to resize them directly. Here is the tutorial to resize RAID partitions.

Resource: http://www.geeksdo.com/resize-raid-partition.html
August 23, 2011 5:51:10 AM

T1Tech said:
Hi everyone,

I have a Dell Poweredge 4300 that I setup using a RAID 5 config. The C:\ drive has little space left (<750Mb) and I would like to find something that can successfully re-size the partition without losing data as this is a production server.

I have read nightmare style forum replies from around the net of someone using the following software without success.

Acronis Disk Director - Failure
Partition Magic - Failure

I have read that some have tried Paragon Partition Manager, but the replies were inconclusive (IE. did not attempt it evidently).

Have any of you re-sized a RAID 5 successfully, and if so; what software was utilized?

Thank you in advance.

Here is an article about how to resize from a RAID-5 volume, please have a test.
http://www.partition-tool.com/resource/resize-raid-5.ht...
October 28, 2011 3:08:04 PM

There are two ways to resize RAID 5 partition.


1. The easier way: resize existing RAID 5 partition. Shrink other partition to generate unallocated space and add to C drive.

http://www.partition-magic.org/hardware-raid/resize-rai...

2. If there are spare slots open to add drives, you can add more additional disks to existing RAID 5 array. After that, there will unallocated space at the end of the virtual disk. Then ,use way 1 to extend C drive.
March 13, 2012 3:13:54 AM

Hello, got the problem fixed? The thread is a long time ago and the thread starter did not come backup to give us a feedback.

I come along this page and checked a lot of replies by you guys.

There are many tools that could do the trick of resizing system partitions or raid 5 partitions by extending or merging.

My I recommend some of the following?

easeus
partition wizard
partition resizer

!