Upgrade single volume to RAID 5

Posted on 2005-05-04
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I inherited a server that is striped across three dives as a single volume (with two logical drives).  I want to implement RAID 5 by replacing the current drives with larger capacity drives and setting up an appropriate RAID configuration.

My issue is that this box is my back-up server (in addition to too many other things – I work for a non-profit).  If I wanted to do this to another box I could create a backup, do a basic build and then restore.

I’m OK with restoring the second partition (file storage) from tape; I need a way to get the system partition over to the new RAID.  This box is so overloaded it isn’t even bordering on funny, but that makes it even more important to get it moved successfully.  Ghost doesn’t support striped disks, and old XCOPY :) is too unreliable.

This box functions as:
File share
Printer share
SQL Server
Terminal Server
Back-up Server

Any suggestions would be helpful.  Good suggestions that work will get you the points.  :)
Question by:bvinson
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    Get yourself some new disks.

    Mark the old ones so you always know what order they are in the system and what controller.

    Backup - using Windows Backup - to file EVERYTHING, including and especially the System State.

    Remove the old drives.

    Then put in the new drives.  (Assuming you're all ATA - these being cheap, shouldn't be a problem to replace, even for a non-profit).

    Install Windows.

    Restore Windows.


    Anything goes wrong, put the old drives back.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    Are there other tools, other methods?  Sure.  But to me, this is the safest.
    LVL 6

    Author Comment

    When I do the back, where do I back it up to?  Also, will it maintain the intergrity of my MS-SQL database?

    Please forgive these extra questions, but this just sounds WAY too easy. :)

    Thanks again,
    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    Of course, be safe.  Stop any SQL, Exchange, and 3rd party services you have added.  That way the files won't be in use and the backups will be successful.  Like I said, note the order of the existing disks and what controllers they are attached to.  Then remove them.  If the backup doesn't work, put the stuff back.  But I've restored servers before using System State restores and backups like this and I have databases I've attached from SEVERAL different SQL Server installs.

    Backup to tape if you can, AND - IMPORTANT - AND backup to disk - use a network drive with sufficient space.

    Consider this a recovery test.  What would happen if, 10 minutes from now, you lost a disk?  Well, this will test your recovery plan - while accomplishing your desired result and having the original disks available in case of some unforseen circumstance.
    LVL 6

    Author Comment


    See I inherited this server from a sysadmin who admittedly did not know how to change the ink cartridge in a printer when she came to work here...thus the single volume on the server in the first place.  There has also been no actual recovery plan in place.  Going to RAID 5 for the server is just one of the first steps I want to take to give us a little data integrity.

    I am currently working on a recovery plan and when I saw the setup of this server I knew that it could not wait until the plan could be completed and approved.

    As you say, what would happen if, 10 minutes from now, I lost a disk.  The answer is that we would replace the disk and restore as much as we can.  That thought keeps me up at night.

    Thank you for your assistance.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    A quick note on system state restores if you've never used them.  You must install Windows to the same drive letter using the same path you currently have.  If your current system is installed to C:\WIN2K - then you need to install a fresh copy of Windows to C:\WIN2K - the System state can only be restored to that folder.

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