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  • Storage Dilemma

    Poweredge 2900
    DELL PERC 5/i integrated RAID controller with five 150GB SATA drives (RAID 5)
    SBS 2003 R2

    We are running out of storage on our server and I am investigating ways that we can expand our storage space. What are my options? I've seen some people say that, on certain cards, you can hot swap the drives out one at a time. Is that possible with this RAID controller? I want to have about 5 Terabytes if possible.

  • #2
    Re: Storage Dilemma

    How are the 5 drives configured at the moment?

    Check the DELL site for Perc5i documentation
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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    • #3
      Re: Storage Dilemma

      If I'm looking at the correct documentation, it says that there is "Online Capacity Expansion". Does anyone know anything about this? I have 3 drive bays available. Can I throw in 3 1GB drives in there and it will rebuild itself accordingly?

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      • #4
        Re: Storage Dilemma

        if you have a hotswap backplane, you can replace the drives with larger ones one by one (will take a long time, especially with sata drives)

        But I would not recommend going beyond 1Tb drives, and even those, I'd get NL-SAS and not SATA. A Dell MD1000 enclosure might help you get there, or MD3200 if you need better performance.
        Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

        BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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        • #5
          Re: Storage Dilemma

          I talked with a DELL representative and he also recommended the MD1000. His quote came to a little over 6 thousand dollars though and we weren't prepared to have to spend that much. I was a little confused as to what he was telling me. We have 5 drives and 3 open bays. He was saying that we could add one more drive but the other two are on a separate backplane? Does that sound correct? I'm trying to figure out what's stopping me from just adding three 1TB drives. We're a really small company so it's hard to justify the 6 thousand dollars but we'll do so if necessary.

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          • #6
            Re: Storage Dilemma

            I would try to speak to Tech Support -- a sales rep will (not surprisingly) push you to another product.

            What are you wanting to use the storage for?
            Tom Jones
            MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
            PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
            IT Trainer / Consultant
            Ossian Ltd
            Scotland

            ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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            • #7
              Re: Storage Dilemma

              I need to clarify what I said earlier. There are 8 drive bays total. We are using 5 and have 3 open.

              @Ossian: We are going to start storing a lot of digital video footage. Right now we just have the normal emails and files that people have on their desktop and my documents folders.

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              • #8
                Re: Storage Dilemma

                I would re-iterate what Ossian said: speak to Dell tech support. Their sales guys and account managers work on such tight margins that they will do just about anything for a sale at the moment.

                IME the Dell techies are pretty knowledgable about stuff like this as it's a fairly common scenario. Back when Dell started shipping Server 2003 boxes they came with 10-12gb system partitions, which nobody ever thought then wouldn't be enough.

                Of course depending on your needs and your Perc card's capabilities you could just stick another 3 1TB drives in and configure them as a new RAID5 volume.
                BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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                Cruachan's Blog

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                • #9
                  Re: Storage Dilemma

                  about the split backplane - that's quite common. but you should call techsupport, give them your svc tag, so they can look up the exact backplane model you have - then the rep will be able to tell you whether the backplane is split, or whole.
                  Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

                  BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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                  • #10
                    Re: Storage Dilemma

                    In doing all this, I realized that our contract for support had ended late 2009. I am requesting an extension currently. As soon as that goes through, I'll get with them and post back. Thank you all!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Storage Dilemma

                      If the server is over 2 years old, you would have free basic hdw support, but have to pay for parts/warranty and software support etc.

                      You can add hd's to the raid 5 thru controller or Open Manage:
                      (removed link to dell vid of reconfig in open manage)

                      But, you need larger hd's over all. Can rebuild to 1 at a time, then expand, then add partition to extra space?

                      i'd consider making os a Raid1 of 2 of the present Sata's(giving no parity calculation), and throwing SaS drives across rest of bays of larger size for a raid5 stripe. You could keep 1 bay free for hot spare, but would have to choose between having hot spare for os/sata or data/sas.

                      Can take your a service tag to dell site and do search on warranty, that also has original build tab, to show backplane, controller etc.

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