GParted Support for Dell PERC Cards?

Stroller stroller at stellar.eclipse.co.uk
Thu Jul 8 10:18:53 CDT 2010


On 8 Jul 2010, at 14:52, James Bensley wrote:
> ...
> I am wanting to alter the partition sizes of a Windows Server 2003 box
> we have and I was planning to boot up with a GParted Live CD but will
> it be able to see my NTFS partitions to resize them?
>
> The box in question is a PE1950 with a Perc 5/i with two SATAII drives
> in a hardware RAID1, on that sits two Logical Volumes, ignore volume
> 1; on volume 0 there are two partitions C: and P: and I want to shrink
> P: and then grow C: but does anyone know if Gparted can see NTFS
> partitions, on a LV, on the hardware RAID on a Perc 5/i? Seems a bit
> far fetched to me?

I've done this on a PowerEdge 2800, with a Perc4, I think.

Chances are the the Linux LiveCD will recognise the RAID controller  
and see the logical volumes as sda, sdb &c. As per Timo's reply, which  
has arrived before I'm able to finish typing.

If your first choice of LiveCD doesn't work, try a couple of recent  
Knoppix CDs, System Rescue CD &c.
See some hints in this post: http://gparted-forum.surf4.info/viewtopic.php?id=13903


I advise you to take backups of the Windows system before you start.  
Of all drives / LVs / partitions. IMO the best way is just to dd all  
logical drives of=/mnt/whatever/file.img to a couple of external USB  
hard-drives. This requires overnight operations or long downtime, but  
GParted is not warrantied.


You may be able to shrink the P: partition from within Windows 2003,  
using Management > Disks &c. If you have this option I advise you to  
do so. If you need to move the start point of P: using GParted I  
advise you to do so and reboot into Windows before tacking the resize  
of the C: drive.

I believe the C: partition in Server 2003 presents some special  
difficulties. I believe that after making the enlargement using  
GParted (and after applying those changes), but *before rebooting to  
Windows* you need to then shrink it again to make Windows recognise  
the changes.

You only need to shrink it very slightly - i.e. enlarge from 10gig to  
20gig, then reduce the partition size by 100meg - but this is  
necessary to make GParted work correctly on Server 2003 C: drives.  
Otherwise the partition will be seen as larger in Computer Management  
 > Disk Management, but not in Windows Explorer, which will show it at  
its original size. There are lots of documented instances of this  
phenomenon all over the GParted forums and elsewhere. The two resizes  
need to be applied separately in such a way that separate actual  
operations are performed by GParted. I think that after you have made  
the two resizes and reboot to Windows, chkdsk will be triggered  
automatically at first boot.

So your comment - "seems a bit far fetched to me?" - no, not at all.  
The LVs are a standard feature on this RAID card, which is (surely)  
supported under Linux. NTFS and multiple partitions are both supported  
by GParted. The problem is that it's all a little bit fiddly, and one  
has to be cautious. This is certainly not as quick and easy as using  
Partition Magic on an XP Home PC.

I took multiple attempts performing this operation, imaged backups of  
the drives each step of the way, and it took me quite a lot of time.  
Valuing my time at £50 per hour (charged to the client) it would  
probably have been cheaper to buy a proprietary partitioning utility  
for Windows Server - I think there was one (the server version of  
Partition Magic?) that seemed like it would do the job for about £200.  
The C: partition on Server 2003 is a bit special, though, so I'm not  
sure that all proprietary partitioning utilities handle it.

My conclusion was that having multiple LVs on a single array is a bit  
shit - if you can afford that rackspace you're better of using extra  
drives, and IMO a separate array per partition (I just don't generally  
bother much with partitions). But that's tangental to your question.

Stroller.




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