Deleting a RAID Array

We have just found out that a server that a database product we must install can't be used with RAID 5 and we need to convert our 6 disk RAID array to some other configuration. Our server is Dell Poweredge 2600 running win2K. The controller is a PERC 4/Di.

1) Is there any way to take down RAID without destroying all the data on the disks?

2) If all data must be destroyed, can we simply back the entire server up, or will some settings that screw everything up be retained (i.e. Should we do a clean install? There is not much on this server yet)

3) What is the basic procedure for deleting a RAID array? Is the process done entirely from the setup utility that's accessible during boot time?

Thanks
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banerjekAsked:
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chicagoanCommented:
1) Is there any way to take down RAID without destroying all the data on the disks?
You're going to have to backup and restore unless you're adding disk for RAID10
A good opportunity to test your disaster recovery plan and time a bare-metal recovery.
Note as this involves a database, a simple full backup isn't adequate.
You'll either have to stop the database engine (stopping all listening services is better) and backup or use whatever 3rd party backup tool you have.


2) If all data must be destroyed, can we simply back the entire server up, or will some settings that screw everything >up be retained (i.e. Should we do a clean install? There is not much on this server yet)
The RAID configuration is on the RAID disks. The controller presents the array as if it were a single disk, the operating system doen't know what's on the other side of the controller.

>3) What is the basic procedure for deleting a RAID array?
> Is the process done entirely from the setup utility that's accessible during boot time?
Yes, delete the array and create the new on in the BIOS setup.

see also http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_20790157.html?query=raid+image&searchType=all




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banerjekAuthor Commented:
Quick stupid question -- When I delete the array in BIOS, is there anything I need to watch out for, or is this process pretty straightforward? The reason I ask is that there is no option to delete the array in the BIOS (though there are options to create them) and I don't want to do something that will screw up the controller or the drives. However, there is a choice labeled "clear current configuration". There is also an "initialize" option.

My plan was to shut down all services, back everything up, hit the "clear current configuration" and "initialize" options, format, then reinstall. Sounds like a bit of time is involved, but the process is easy. Am I reading this situation correctly?
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chicagoanCommented:
yup...
I'd do a dump of your sql databases and back that dump file up as well.
You can't screw up the controller or the drives from the raid controller.
A remote possibility would be a failed low level format of an individual drive, which you don;t need to do.
You should have ups on this machine, needless to say.
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