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Migrating to RAID-1 from 2 existing drives

Posted on 2004-10-05
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Last Modified: 2010-07-27
Hey folks,

I need some information regarding the feasibility of implementing a RAID-1 solution into my existing setup.  I have a couple of old Maxtor hdds in my current rig, one mainly as a system drive and one as a storage/installation drive, both of which are only 5400rpm drives.  I want to migrate to a RAID-1 configuration and set up 2 arrays, one for each drive, replacing them with some new Maxtor 200gb 7200rpm DiamondMax 9 drives.

Since these drives are cheap and have reasonable performance, and since I already have an onboard RAID/ATA controller, I was thinking that migrating to a RAID a config would be a simple way to go.  Going with RAID-1 also provides my need for a viable and inexpensive backup solution since if one drive should fail, there's practically no downtime while I get that drive replaced.  (I've heard numerous reports of DiamondMax 9 drives failing within the first few months of using them, but being fine after having them replaced.  Obviously long-term reliability is unknown since this line is fairly new.)

Anyway, would I be able to clone my existing drive images to the new drives and still be able to use them in a pair of drive arrays?  (I want to make this work, so please spare me from offering alternative setups.)  Thanks.
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Question by:DpDevil16
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by:Jared Luker
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It sounds like all you need to do is get you OS set up on the new DaimondMax drives in a RAID 1 config, then plug your old drives into the system one at a time and copy the data that you want from the old drives to the new ones.

If you are talking about wanting to keep your OS exactly the way that it is now, then It's possible that you could use ghost or some other imaging program to dump your OS drive to an external drive.  Then after you are done setting up the RAID 1 in the RAID Controller setup, you should be able to just put the image back onto the new "virtual" drive.  If it's true hardware RAID, then the operating system should only see that there is one drive there and the controller does all the mirroring work.

Jared
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by:DpDevil16
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Well since I have the hardware RAID controller, there's no sense in trying to use the OS's software RAID and eat up precious CPU cycles.  If I were to use hardware RAID, would the images work fine, or would I have problems since now the system drive will be running off a RAID controller and no longer the standard ATA controller?
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samccarthy earned 75 total points
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Yes, this is an easy thing to do.  If this is going on the existing system then I would just make sure the the RAID drivers are loaded before you do this.  Use Ghost, Drive Image, etc., to ghost the drive over to the first drive of Array 1.  Then do the same for the second drive, ghosting it over to the first drive of Array 2.  
 I have an Asus K8V-Se motherobard I've done this on.

Anyway, put the new drives in for the first array and when it comes up, go into the utility for that controller.  Create the array and use the first drive that you just dumped the image on as the source drive.  It will mirror that one to the other new one.  Array 1 in a mirror is complete.  Then, do the same for the second array.  You'll now have your 2 mirrored arrays.

Steve
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by:DpDevil16
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The procedure itself I'm pretty square on.  Actually, I just realized my onboard RAID controller is on my server and not my main rig, therefore requiring me to use an PCI RAID controller (which I have) if I wanted to set up my arrays.  Therefore wouldn't installing the card by itself prior to setting up the RAID be even easier in theory?  Perhaps running all 4 drives off the same PCI slot would be a major bottleneck, though.  :(
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by:Jared Luker
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If you are going to use a card that the OS has not seen before, it probably won't work after you push the image back after making the array.

You can try loading the drivers for that particular RAID card before you image and cross your fingers.
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by:Cyber-Dude
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You can do RAID via the 'diskpart' utility within Windows (run => cmd => diskpart => enter)...

:)

Cyber
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by:samccarthy
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Yes, you can setup the card prior to the array.  The system will load the driver and when you ghost the drives everything will be in place to work correctly.
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