Monday, April 25, 2011

Non-destructive Drive Expansion in the StorCenter

If you can't tell from the series of posts I've already published, I'm having some fun playing with the iomega ix2-200 that I received from Chad Sakac of EMC. In reviewing those posts, I realized that I didn't publish anything on the trick to expanding the storage on the ix2 (which should also apply to all the models in the StorCenter series) without destroying your data.

This technique is fairly straightforward, and while it takes time and a bit of work at the command line via "Support mode", you will also be best served if all your data is still backed up. Note: to get at the support page on a "Cloud Edition" unit, the URL is /diagnostics.html


  1. Upgrade your drives with bigger models.
    1. It's not strictly required, but I suggest you upgrade starting at the highest labelled drive, working your way to the lowest labelled drive
    2. In order to make full use of each drive's capacity, they should all be identical.
    3. Shut down your unit each time you swap a drive (unless you're using a model that is explicitly hot-swappable).
    4. Allow the unit to fully redistribute the protected data before swapping the next spindle
  2. Enable SSH access to your unit.
    1. There's an unlinked page on the system called support.html; access it by putting the address directly into your browser's address bar.
    2. Check Allow remote access for support (SSH and SFTP) and click Apply
  3. Use an SSH client to logon to your unit
    • username: root
    • default password: soho
    • If you have security enabled, you will need to append the primary administrator's password to the default password. For example, if your primary user's password is ducksauce, the SSH password is sohoducksauce.

Magic Time!

The devices can be expanded because of the storage subsystem being used in the Linux kernel. The process is straightforward: expand the "outer" container before expanding the inner container(s).
  1. Dismount the user storage volume:
    root@ix2-200d:/# umount -l /mnt/soho_storage
  2. Expand the RAID pseudo-device:
    root@ix2-200d:/# mdadm --grow /dev/md1 --size=max
  3. Expand the LVM physical volume:
    root@ix2-200d:/# pvresize /dev/md1
  4. Determine the free space in the LVM volume group:
    root@ix2-200d:/# vgdisplay
    --- Volume group ---
      VG Name               md1_vg
      Free  PE / Size       476930 / 931.50 GB
  5. Expand the LVM logical volume by the amount of free blocks:
    root@ix2-200d:/# lvextend -l +476930 /dev/md1_vg/md1vol1
  6. Mount the expanded volume:
    root@ix2-200d:/# mount -t xfs -o noatime /dev/mapper/md1_vg-md1vol1 /mnt/soho_storage
  7. Expand the xfs file system:
    root@ix2-200d:/# xfs_growfs /dev/md1_vg/md1vol1
  8. Reboot the system (so the web management tools will recognize the expansion):
    root@ix2-200d:/# telinit 6
Your device will reboot and (if you have email notifications correctly configured) it will notify you that "data protection is being reconstructed", a side effect of expanding the outermost RAID container.


  1. Only trouble I'm running into is I can't find xfs_growfs??

  2. xfs_growfs is in /mnt/apps/usr/sbin

  3. Jim - Thanks for the instructions so simple even this monkey could follow and execute.

    I am now, assuming unit reboots, the proud owner of 2 TB mirror for my VMware backup to fill up. The new drives, FYI, came out of some Seagate "Expansion" external desktop drives from Target ~ 99/each which was $20 less then NewEgg for bare drive.

    Thanks again.

  4. Jim - My disk space was > 95% full before upgrade and now is not, but I still have the warning up. I went back and checked the steps but everything is "fixed" for the larger size. Been digging into what might need to be changed but thought I would ask for any ideas?


    1. Are you sure that you got the LVM expansion done correctly? Is the GUI interface showing the right capacity (forget the % used for now)?

  5. this works perfectly!

  6. Thank you for your post. I changed the original Seagate drives (one of them had died past week) and I'd installed two 2TB WD Caviar Green. The process worked perfectly on my Iomega ix2-200. Now, I have a 2TB RAID-1. Good job!