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Expand Software RAID-5 Server 2008 R2

win server 2008r2 raid software

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#1 CPressland

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 13:50

Hey Guys,

I've got a HP MicroServer N36L as my primary Storage server at home, currently running 4 x 2TB Drives in a Software RAID5 configuration. This gives me around 5.5TB of Storage with some redundancy.

I need to increase the amount of storage available to this array so I want to exchange one of the 2TB drives with a 3TB Drive. What steps should I take to achieve this?

RAID-5 was created in Windows Server 2008 R2

Thanks

Chris


#2 Vice

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 13:58

Due to how RAID-5 is, you need all the disks to be the same capacity. Simply removing one 2TB drive and replacing it with a 3TB drive will not gain you a single byte of extra storage. You would need to change each disk individually until they are all 3TB then you can expand the array if the built in Windows software raid function supports it. Unfortunately I cannot comment on if it does support that as I've only ever used Hardware RAID cards under Windows.

#3 sc302

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 15:25

All drives must be the same capacity. You can't just add a little more. And I have not seen adding drives to an existing raid set without first destroying the raid set which means either take an image of the drive, copy all of your data off, or be prepared to loose your data.

#4 OP CPressland

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 16:31

Well, losing the Data isn't an option. So I guess I'll order another HP MicroServer in a few months and begin using FreeBSD to setup a ZFS pool and migrate the data over. Either that or maybe a Drobo-esque solution.

Any ideas for an expandable storage solution? Doesn't Windows Server 2012 come with some new RAID-style redundant data spanning system?

#5 +BudMan

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 19:58

Just thought I would mention how I am handling my storage on my N40L

I am running 2k8r2 essentials storage server (big brother of WHS) And the drivepool addon - http://stablebit.com/ in a virtual machine. I then have RDM of the drives to this VM.

Sweet thing about the addon is that allows you to create pool of all your storage without having to worry about any sort of raid. And allow you to expand on the file - no need for same size or speed of disks, etc.

So for example I have a 2TB, a 2x 750 all in one pool. So it adds up to like 3.18TB -- now for safety reasons I have my grand daughter vids duplicated (copy on more than one disk).. This is not my backup!! This is just so if I loose a drive in the pool I don't have to worry about recovery those files from backup - which they are (in multiple places!)

pool.jpg

If I want to add more space, just connect another disk - with the N40L I can add 2 more drives for a total of six. But my current plan is to wait til drives come down in price and then swap out my 750s for bigger drives. Its as simple as remove drive from pool (will need enough space free to move the files off of it in the pool). Then just replace with newer bigger drive and it will the redistribute the files across the pool.

I just don't see the need in home setup for the overhead of conventional raids. Now I have looked into the ZFS pool stuff, and it is slick stuff. But you might want to read the details of adding more space - you can not just add one more drive to the pool. Say you have a raidz setup with 3 drives in 5, to add more space to the pool you would have to create another raidz with 3 more drives, etc. It is SLICK, don't get me wrong!! But in the home setup, I would go with unraid setup or what I am doing. I would like to go with unraid as my space requirements grow - but I was able to accomplish my goals on a very cheap budget by leveraging the drive bays of my N40L and just using a VM as the frontend to the drives.

Since I can add 2 more drives to my N40L, and not counting the drive I am using for my VMs datastore - I can have like 5 drives in one large pool or 5x3TB say for 15TB of storage - with the ability to duplicate my stuff across multiple.. Shoot even if I just limit myself to the 3 actual bays of the N40L using now - could go with 4TBx3 if really needed space for 12TB.

And as you saw from the performance thread -- able move files on and off this pool with no issues at very very good speeds.

edit: Another nice thing about the drivepool addon, is I was able to add the drives with their files on them, no need to wipe the drive or anything when added to the pool.. And then just moves the files into the pool, etc.

#6 OP CPressland

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 16:32

Hmm, I'd give something like that a spin, but I need 100% disk-disk redundancy not just file-level redundancy. I guess the only 'true' solution for this right now is something like a Drobo Pro mounted back to the File Server over iSCSI.

#7 +BudMan

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 01:47

"but I need 100% disk-disk redundancy"

Why?? Is this a home setup or not? And sorry to break it too you, but you have clearly stated your running raid 5 - that is not 100% disk-disk redundancy.

So which is it? Do you need 100% disk-disk redundancy, or do you not really know what you need ;)

Please tell me your not using your RAID as your backup.. If I had a dollar for every time we have gone over this -- RAID is NOT a BACKUP!!

#8 OP CPressland

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:52

"but I need 100% disk-disk redundancy"

Why?? Is this a home setup or not? And sorry to break it too you, but you have clearly stated your running raid 5 - that is not 100% disk-disk redundancy.

So which is it? Do you need 100% disk-disk redundancy, or do you not really know what you need ;)

Please tell me your not using your RAID as your backup.. If I had a dollar for every time we have gone over this -- RAID is NOT a BACKUP!!


Maybe my wording there was a little off, but if one of these drives fails and I replace it, I will not lose any data. 100% Disk-Disk would be closer to RAID10 I guess...

And no, I'm fully aware RAID is not a Backup solution, critical data is duplicated on Amazon S3. But Data Loss of any form sucks and RAID5 is the best preventative measure easily available to protect the entire storage pool.

All 'Personal' data is backed up to a Time Machine volume located at my office, hopefully they don't mind me chewing up their Bandwidth.

I've been looking at various NAS solutions for this and I believe the Drobo Pro would provide the best redundancy vs capacity expansion in this when using iSCSI, but I've had data-loss with a Drobo first gen in the past.

ZFS is worth looking at again; and with most of the critical systems moved off of this server onto the ESXi Server I could easily reformat this server and set-it-up as a FreeBSD box.

#9 Vice

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:06

In my opinion you should look in to purchasing a hardware RAID card something like an LSI 9260-8i which is an 8 Port RAID card with 512MB onboard Cache and a Dedicated RAID5/RAID6 XOR chip by Intel. It supports expansion and migration.

The reason I recommend this card is for its dedicated RAID processor and its RAID6 capability which offers you two disk redundancy instead of the one disk redundancy that RAID5 has.

I'm also going to recommend that perhaps it is time you moved off your HP Microserver and built yourself a server. You like to run VM's you need a lot of storage and I think you've probably outgrown that box. The Drobo is nice but I think you can build a much better complete system for only a little bit more than the Drobo which would last you a lot longer and provide you with a significant performance bump in the CPU area which will benefit your virtual machines.

But this is just my advice and my opinion I'm not saying this is right I'm just giving my assessment.

#10 +BudMan

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 11:16

What I hear about drobo is they are slow! I would prob look at http://www.qnap.com/...n=69&lang=en-us

"RAID5 is the best preventative measure easily available to protect the entire storage pool."

Best?? Depends on what your doing - Raid 1 would be better in some cases, 10 in others - 6 as already mentioned in others even.

If what you want is parity, and expansion -- take a look at unraid. It gives you parity you want to help prevent having to restore from backup on hardware failure. But allows for very easy expansion. http://lime-technology.com/

#11 zeta_immersion

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 11:37

I got raid 5 too (thinking of 6 but would have required a bit mor money) ... suffice to say in my case I have a free SAS (4Sata) available so what I do (in the near future) is get 4x3T and connect them -- then move the 4x1T on them and done.

#12 Guest_LiquidCrystalMeth_*

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 11:50

Well, losing the Data isn't an option. So I guess I'll order another HP MicroServer in a few months and begin using FreeBSD to setup a ZFS pool and migrate the data over. Either that or maybe a Drobo-esque solution.

Any ideas for an expandable storage solution? Doesn't Windows Server 2012 come with some new RAID-style redundant data spanning system?


RAID 5 is starting to be non-recommended, and for good reason.

Personally i have a ZFS RAIDZ2 setup, thats double redunancy, ie.e whereas in RAID5 (or ZFS RAIDZ) you can only survive one bad drive in the array (lose another while waiting to replace (or even while replacing) the defective drive and theres your data gone...

ZFS RAIDZ2 will survive 2 bad drives, so for me, and this might seem extreme, and even as my data is home based i find it comforting. Of course along with backups to external once in a while.

There is of course RAIDZ3 (triple redendancy), but i wasnt going to push things that far, pricewise.

Currently i have:

FreeBSD
ZFS with RAIDZ2
5 2Tb drives in the array pool
1 hot spare
2 spare

Be aware that upgrading the storage has caveats as mentioned above, growing your pool is not what you would call easy.

Options for software raid (ZFS) are:
FreeBSD
OpenSolaris
OpenIndiana
FreeNAS
NAS4Free (continued version of FreeNAS NOT based on NanoBSD)
Linux...not recommended (ZFS via FUSE eek)

I always prefer to go software RAID rather than get locked into a chipset and find yourself one day not able to easily recover data.
Software RAID you can at least transfer...

#13 +BudMan

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:30

This is topic I am very curious about (expansion of drive pool and raid in the home) -- so I want to bring up a couple of other things. BTW great post LiquidCrystalMeth for only 3rd one on the board, and nice nick as well ;)

I fail to understand the requirement for spending boat loads of money on parity/redundancy in the home setup to be honest. For example I am well over 1.8GB worth of music and video.. Not really a large collection, but its starting to expand now that I have a bit more breathing room. Then again I keep the files small vs large 8GB rips of movies, etc. So your talking quite a few (just looked over 3.1k video files and 3.5k music)

Here's the thing - would it suck if it all was lost, ok sure.. But they are not critical files, every single one of them can be replaced. Be it rerip or just download, etc. Now my "critical" (home videos/pictures) files are redundant as well as backed up all over the place on different media, different locations, online as well.

As to the vast majority of my storage requirements - its just videos and music that I could replace no problem. So why spend extra money on redundancy and or parity on such data?

My thought process here is I have my drives in a pool, so even if one fails only the data on that drive is lost - not the whole array. So would only have to rerip/replace those files - if I desired to do so. Quite possible those videos have already been watched and not really all that important that I have a live online copy.

It's cool to have your video's online and such to watch with a flick of a button - but come on, how many times do you watch the same video. Its more as show piece when friends come over, etc. Hey you want to watch X? - Click here you go, oh remember that south park episode from season 3 - click there you go. That sort of thing.

But if those files were lost - not really that big of deal. Now don't get me wrong, I would love to throw some parity in there. Have been looking at unraid, and almost went that route when my server died. But then going the esxi route to allow me easy VMs to play with along with storage for a cheaper budget won out in the race for my dollars.

Now I do have smart monitoring of my data drives (drive scanner from same people that make drivepool) And it emails me if there is any issues with the drives that might point to failure. So if that were the case I could replace with new drive before actual failure and not have to worry about redo of my video/music/etc that might of been lost.

So I guess my real question is - what sort of media do you have on your storage, and why does it warrant redundancy/parity to help prevent loss of access to data in hardware failure. Keep in mind that raid is not a backup!! So you can't say you don't want to loose critical files.. Because you wouldn't - all critical files would be backed up anyway! So what your saying is loss of access until replacement/recovery of the files only.

In a company setup, this is a major issue! If loss of access to the WORK files were lost for even a day or so you could be talking large loss of revenue with workers having nothing to do ;) So you prevent that with raid! So drive fails you just pop in another and no time loss in access to files. But this really doesn't scale to the home imho.

And no not talking about striping or raid 0 -- this I do believe has some merit in the home, if looking for performance or just playing, etc.

So are you running raid in the home because you have money to burn, or this is your hobby and what you want to spend your dollars on. Or are you really worried about loss of access to some files that can be replaced with just some effort. The creation of the raid, can also mean loss of MORE data that has to be replaced if bad luck and you loose 2 drives. If your just pooling them - only the % of files stored on those disks would have to be replaced.

Which is part of the reason I think unraid makes a lot of sense. You can get way more bang for your buck while still having parity vs typical raid 5 be it hardware or software setup. Best of both worlds kind of solution.

Your opinions and thoughts on this are most welcome - kind of a tangent to the original thread. But hey its still on point in helping the OP make a decision on how to best store his files. Should he expand his current setup with raid5 or go a different route? etc.

edit:
"Where can I pick p a copy of 2k8r2 essentials storage server? "

http://www.microsoft...essentials.aspx

It's not really sold in stores.. Are you an OEM? I work in the field, so I have lots and lots of OEM contacts plus my own oem system builders lic

http://www.microsoft...ages/index.aspx

Plus full access to MS downloads directly with enterprise agreement. Normally you get it with an appliance, lots of places to get it with an appliance. So if you buy an appliance you will get it - then depends if come pre installed or if you get media to install yourself, etc.

There are a few places on the web to buy just the software, quick google found this
http://www.mybusines...products_id=435

I have never dealt with that company, so please don't me linking to it as recommendation of it.



#14 Guest_LiquidCrystalMeth_*

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:55

This is topic I am very curious about (expansion of drive pool and raid in the home) -- so I want to bring up a couple of other things. BTW great post LiquidCrystalMeth for only 3rd one on the board, and nice nick as well ;)

I fail to understand the requirement for spending boat loads of money on parity/redundancy in the home setup to be honest. For example I am well over 1.8GB worth of music and video.. Not really a large collection, but its starting to expand now that I have a bit more breathing room. Then again I keep the files small vs large 8GB rips of movies, etc. So your talking quite a few (just looked over 3.1k video files and 3.5k music)

Here's the thing - would it suck if it all was lost, ok sure.. But they are not critical files, every single one of them can be replaced. Be it rerip or just download, etc. Now my "critical" (home videos/pictures) files are redundant as well as backed up all over the place on different media, different locations, online as well.

As to the vast majority of my storage requirements - its just videos and music that I could replace no problem. So why spend extra money on redundancy and or parity on such data?

My thought process here is I have my drives in a pool, so even if one fails only the data on that drive is lost - not the whole array. So would only have to rerip/replace those files - if I desired to do so. Quite possible those videos have already been watched and not really all that important that I have a live online copy.

It's cool to have your video's online and such to watch with a flick of a button - but come on, how many times do you watch the same video. Its more as show piece when friends come over, etc. Hey you want to watch X? - Click here you go, oh remember that south park episode from season 3 - click there you go. That sort of thing.

But if those files were lost - not really that big of deal. Now don't get me wrong, I would love to throw some parity in there. Have been looking at unraid, and almost went that route when my server died. But then going the esxi route to allow me easy VMs to play with along with storage for a cheaper budget won out in the race for my dollars.

Now I do have smart monitoring of my data drives (drive scanner from same people that make drivepool) And it emails me if there is any issues with the drives that might point to failure. So if that were the case I could replace with new drive before actual failure and not have to worry about redo of my video/music/etc that might of been lost.

So I guess my real question is - what sort of media do you have on your storage, and why does it warrant redundancy/parity to help prevent loss of access to data in hardware failure. Keep in mind that raid is not a backup!! So you can't say you don't want to loose critical files.. Because you wouldn't - all critical files would be backed up anyway! So what your saying is loss of access until replacement/recovery of the files only.

In a company setup, this is a major issue! If loss of access to the WORK files were lost for even a day or so you could be talking large loss of revenue with workers having nothing to do ;) So you prevent that with raid! So drive fails you just pop in another and no time loss in access to files. But this really doesn't scale to the home imho.

And no not talking about striping or raid 0 -- this I do believe has some merit in the home, if looking for performance or just playing, etc.

So are you running raid in the home because you have money to burn, or this is your hobby and what you want to spend your dollars on. Or are you really worried about loss of access to some files that can be replaced with just some effort. The creation of the raid, can also mean loss of MORE data that has to be replaced if bad luck and you loose 2 drives. If your just pooling them - only the % of files stored on those disks would have to be replaced.

Which is part of the reason I think unraid makes a lot of sense. You can get way more bang for your buck while still having parity vs typical raid 5 be it hardware or software setup. Best of both worlds kind of solution.

Your opinions and thoughts on this are most welcome - kind of a tangent to the original thread. But hey its still on point in helping the OP make a decision on how to best store his files. Should he expand his current setup with raid5 or go a different route? etc.


For me, i dont have money to burn...anymore, i have several thousands of dollars in legally bought DVD's, and god knows how many terabytes of mp3's ripped legally thats where i once had money to burn once, and like any collector when you collect things you tend to throw money at it..
As the original DVD's and CD's deteriorate over time, even wihtout being played (environmental factors, rotting dyes etc), it was
important to me to safeguard the investment i made (like i said, thousands of dollars on DVD's alone).

I rarely play the actual original media, as i treat that as archival as well.

I dont want to have to purchase all those things again.

So i spent just over a thousand to build my RAID pool as really both an investment and an additonal level of protection. Add to that a backup to external onc ein a while and its worth the outlay.

As for the nick, i always try and put a spin on something tech :)

#15 +BudMan

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 13:16

So you have a backup of them, then why the Raid? Don't get me wrong I would do it as well if money to play with - but I spend enough on tech. Personally the added cost of conventional raid is not worth it in my home setup.

To me the dollars spent on drives sitting there doing nothing but parity could be spent on either more storage, or more Movies/Music. There is nothing there that can not be replaced.

So you state TBs of storage.. Which I just noticed I stated 1.8GB -- thats TBs ;) That you actually "backup" So why spend money on the parity if you have a backup. Your just spending money on not having to spend any time on restore from your backup sounds like to me.

Which is fine, just trying to understand the thought process. So your worried about lost time on hardware failure in replacement time.. For me I would spend that money on other tech or more media, etc. But that is me.

If I lost a drive, it would be at most 1/3 of my collection currently. And its just that a collection, more of pack rat syndrome than actually NEED of the files. So what your doing is your hobby, ripping the stuff, storing it, protecting it, etc. Which is great!

Have you looked at say unraid -- lots of bang for the buck there in parity vs storage costs. With the 1 disk as your parity disk, you can have a very very large pool.