DRIVE FAILING IN A RAID 5 ENVIRONMENT

I have an Adaptec RAID 5 configuration with the following:

1 36GB Drive
3 18GB Drives
1 9GB Drive
No Hot Spare
Adaptec 2100S Controller
Windows 2003 Server

One of the 18GB drives is giving me level 3 errors and last week I momentarily lost 18GB of total drive space.

I would like to simply replace the failing drive but am apprehensive about consequences.

Do I have to replace the drive with an exact match?  Can I replace it with a larger drive?  Will this replacement have any impact on the RAID or the server in general.

btmtechAsked:
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ChrisSchumannConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You haven't specific if you have ANY RAID arrays configured, but I'm going to guess that the three 18GB drives are in a RAID 5 setup.

If that's so, then you should replace the failing drive ASAP. Running with a damaged drive is hurting your performance. If another drive fails (and I guess they are all the same age) you will lose your data.

Make a backup right now if you have a chance.

I have a 2100S. Just shut down the machine, swap in a new 18GB drive and power up. If it asks, let the 2100S re-build the drive. Once it starts that process, you can reboot. The re-build will continue until it is complete, but you can be running within minutes... with reduced performance until the re-build is done.

If you install a larger drive, the extra capacity will not be part of the array. You may be able to use the extra space as an additional partition. See Adaptec's site for the full manual. The quick guide that comes with the controller is not the most useful thing at times.
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btmtechAuthor Commented:
Thank You so much for much for the information, you get the points.

I have a RAID 5 array with all 5 drives in the array so my total space is 9GB x 4 drives = 36GB. No hot spare.

Can I ask one additional question?  If that original 9GB drive is limiting my ability to utilize more space can it be replaced without having to recreate the entire array?
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ChrisSchumannCommented:
OK. So you are using 9GB of each disk. Hmmm. Seems inefficient. :)

You can replace the 9GB drive, and not recreate the array, but then you'll still only be using 9GB.

I would go buy some new drives, back up the machine, turn it off and put in the new drives, create new larger arrays and restore from backup.

IIRC, you cannot use part of a drive in an array. It's either all used in an array, or it is a separate drive. You cannot designate partitions to be used in an array.
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