Migrating to new server drive

In this post I’ll show how to add space to a RAID array and migrate data to an iSCSI volume so that the RAID array can be deleted and created.  On a really small scale you could just ad an external hard drive as the swing space, but in my case I didn’t have an external drive that large.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Create an iSCSI volume on a SAN
  2. configure an iSCSI initiator on the server to connect to the SAN
  3. add the volume as a disk on the server
  4. copy all the data to the SAN
  5. share the iSCSI volume to the users
  6. physically add another hard drive
  7. reconfigure the RAID array
  8. copy the data back to the local drives
  9. share the local volume to the users

If you were doing this with an external hard drive, you would just skip the iSCSI and SAN items.

Here is a look at the drive configuration in side the HP Proliant DL120 G6.  The built in controller only supports 2 logical drives and to expand a RAID 0 array, you have to delete the logical drive and create a new one.  I’m starting with a single 2TB drive and want to add a second 2TB drive in a RAID 0 configuration so that I’ll have a new 4TB volume.


First you need to create a volume on the SAN.  I’m using a Dell Equallogic SAN.  Simply create the volume as big as you need.



After that it’s important to set access to the volume so that your iSCSI initiator can get to it and nothing else.  I’m using the IP address for simplicity sake.  If this were going to be for something more long term, I would use CHAP.



With the volume on the SAN created, it’s time to connect to it from the server.  Launch the iSCSI initiator.  The tabs are note really set up in the order that you use them.  First go to the discovery tab and add the IP address of the SAN.



Then go to the target tab, highlight the connection and click the connect button.



Then you can go over to the Volumes and Devices Tab and add it as a drive.


You can close the iSCSI initiator and open up Computer Management and go to Disk Management under Storage.  You’ll see the drive, but it will be offline.  Just right click it to bring it online.  From there, initialize it, and format it.


With the drive formatted, it’s ready for data to be copied.  I used a robocopy command for this.
echo Copying projects from drive to drive
rem /E for copying sub directories, even empty ones
rem /COPY:DATSOU (copyflags : D=Data, A=Attributes, T=Timestamps (S=Security=NTFS ACLs, O=Owner info, U=aUditing info).
rem /R:1 retry once
rem /W:30 wait 30 seconds between retries
rem /NP don't display percentage copied

robocopy b:\vol2 d:\vol2 /E /COPY:DATSOU /R:1 /W:30 /NP /log:C:\temp\robocopy-b2d.log

The advantage of using robocopy like this is that it will copy the files with permissions from one volume to the next. If the file is already there, it won’t copy it again. This doesn’t matter the first time it’s run, but you can make a second pass that will check all the files and only copy the ones it missed or new files. On the 2TB volume I was working on, it took 12 hours for the first copy. It only took 30 minutes for the second pass to run and verify everything.

After a second pass of the batch file to make sure all the files were copied (check the log file to do this) the next step was to stop sharing the original volume, and share the new one.   Check the permissions on the share and make sure the users mapped drives aren’t having any problems connecting.  Once you have double and triple checked that, it’s time to delete the logical drive from the server’s controller.  In the HP Array Manager, find the logical drive and click delete.



Next you can power down the server and physically add the new drive.  You could actually do this step first if you started out onside and were going to do the rest remotely.  When the server boots back up, go in to the array manager and you’ll see your new drive as unassigned.







HP does this backwards from how the typical Dell controllers do things.  First you create the array as above, and then you create the logical drives.



AFTER you create the logical drives, you set the RAID level.   On most other controllers, you select the RAID level you would like and it makes you pick the drives you want to add to the array and disables the RAID levels that are not possible with the drives you have.  On this controller, your only options are RAID 0 and RAID 1.  This particular server is an archive server with data that doesn’t change much and is backed up regularly, but cheap storage space is needed, so RAID 0  is what I’m selecting.  Please note, if this were a server that need a recovery time objective of less than 24 hours, RAID 0 would be a very bad idea.




With the logical drive created, I can now see my drive in the HP Array manager.


The same way we brought the iSCSI drive online, initialized, and formatted above, we do that for the new logical drive.




Since this drive is now over 2TB, the GPT partition style has to be selected.



Assign it a drive letter to finish that step.


At this point you can use the robocopy batch file with the drive letters reversed to copy your data back.  Once that is done, you’ll have to stop sharing the iSCSI volume and share the logical volume as above.  When that process is complete, the only thing left is to remove the iSCSI disk and initiator settings.



Next, set it offline.



Then go over to the iSCSI initiator, and disconnect from the SAN.



Then remove the target.



Once that is done you can go over to your SAN and delete the volume there and you’re done.

2013 Big Events in IT

It’s that time of year when everyone takes a look back at the last year and starts thinking about the next year.  Here’s a look at what I think the top three IT events were for small businesses.

1. The Cryptolocker virus

2. Microsoft announced Windows XP support will end April 2014

3. The Target credit card breach

What made these big events of 2013?

The Cryptolocker virus was a game changer because for the first time we saw a virus that holds your files ransom. (more details: https://extramile-tech.com/warning-cryptolocker-virus-make-sure-you-have-good-backups/) In addition to encrypting files on your local computer, it will also search out external hard drives and network drives.  For this reason alone, businesses should consider an alternate media for backup such as tape or online backup.

Originally Microsoft was supposed to end support for Windows XP April 14th of 2009, but push back from businesses forced Microsoft to extend support for years.  This year Microsoft said the end of support date of April 8th, 2014 will not be extended.  Early in 2013 more than half of businesses still had Windows XP deployed, so it was a big year for migrations.

The Target credit card breach made headlines due to the number of people involved.  What most people don’t realize is that restaurants are the number one choice for criminals to steal credit card numbers.  The surprising thing is that it’s not the sketchy looking waiter that is the criminal.  Hackers focus on restaurants because they are easy targets.  They have lots of credit transactions and typically have weak security surrounding their computer system. Small businesses are the number two choice for hackers.

If you want to discuss the health of your network and your 2014 plans, please give me a call.

WARNING – cryptolocker virus – make sure you have good backups

There have been lots of false computer virus warnings (hoaxes) through the years, so whenever a friend forwards you a warning it’s a good idea to check it out.  snopes.com does a great job of this. In this case the virus warning is real and you can verify that here:



In this case, the virus is real and is bad enough that I’m warning everyone so you can try to be more careful on your home computers.  If you have a business, you should also make sure your backup system is working, but there are other things we can do to protect your network.  For more information, please contact me.


What the cryptolocker virus does is encrypts all your files. (photos, documents, etc.) Then it asks you to pay about $300 for the password to decrypt them.  You have 36 hours to do it or they walk away.  What makes this virus different than other viruses, is even professionals can’t get the files back without cleaning up after the virus and then restoring your files from backup.


With that said, I strongly recommend an online backup for home users.   One is: http://www.carbonite.com/online-backup   If you are backing up to a USB hard drive, this virus searches for drives and even network drives and encrypts those files as well.


This virus infects computers by tricking users to open an attachment to an email.  They trick you by sending you an email that says something like there was a suspicious charge made to your credit card and if you would like to dispute the charge, you should open the attachment.  Don’t open attachments in emails that you weren’t expecting.  If you have any doubts, please don’t open it.


The second way this virus has been infecting computers is through what’s called a “drive by download.”  Basically the virus writers will buy ad space on legitimate websites (Syracuse.com had this problem some years ago) and when your computer goes there it will search for an old version of java.  So even if you have the latest version of java installed, if you left an old version behind, it will look for the old one with the vulnerability and try to infect your machine.  I would recommend going to control panel -> programs and features look for java and uninstall any version older than Version 7 update 45. (as of 10/24/2013 this is the current version.)  If you’re unsure just uninstall all versions of java.

Edit: You can now go to java.com and check to see if you have java installed AND check for old versions.  Just go to:


When that page loads, click on the button that says “Verify Java version”


You may be prompted with a confirmation to run Java.  This is expected, so click “Run.”


If you have the current version, you will get a message like the one below.  Don’t stop there.  Click the link that says “checking for old versions of Java and removing them using the Java uninstall tool.”


Hopefully you’ll get a message like the one below saying that everything is current.  If there are old versions, follow the instructions on removing them.


Between keeping your system up to date, and making sure you have a good backup of your system, you should have a reasonable amount of protection and safety from losing your important files to this virus.


Mike Davis
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