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Server drive size upgrade

I have a server with 6 18gb drives in a raid array. The space is getting full and I have 6 73gb drives to replace them with. I know that if I just install the larger drives one at a time the raid will use only 18gb of the 73gb drives. What happens when I gat all six installed? Can I increase the partition space to include the additional. I have a feeling I will have to remove the six, replace them, and reload everything from scratch. I sure hate to do that because of time and backup issues. Surely there has to be an upgrade path to the larger size drives. Any help would be appreciated. I am running windows 2000 server.
1 Solution
You can either 1) do a full backup, replace all the drives with larger ones, and restore from the backup, or 2) replace each drive, let the array rebuild, and use a partition manager like Partion Magic to resize the array.   Option 1 seems simpler and less time consuming.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You don't say what kind of system you have.  Some systems (Dell, HP, probably others) have software tools that can expand the RAID volumes.  However, I personally don't trust these (no good reason, just healthy paranoia), and would EITHER, swap out the drives one at a time as Callandor said and try creating a SECOND RAID 5 array with the 55 or so extra GB on each of the drives, thus giving me one partition of 90 GB and one partition of 275 GB.  Then move things around.  Put some files on one partition, some on the other.  (If you have user home directories and a shared group folder, then split them up so one drive is users, the other groups).  Or, again, I'd take callandor's advice and do a complete backup, then recreate the RAID with the new drives, then do a restore.  This has the added potential benefit of keeping the 18GB set of disks RAID in tact in the event something goes wrong.
Danny ChildIT ManagerCommented:
I'd go with the Backup/Restore option, over a weekend.  I've seen servers take a full WEEK to add a disk to an array - and this was on a recent Compaq Proliant.  Having the original 18's sat on a shelf behind you is a good feeling!

If your restore procedure is too slow to cope with this, then perhaps it's too slow to be used for Real!!

PartitionMagic can do the job on workstations, but there are more specialist tools around - ServerMagic is a name from the past (just an expensive version, as PM wouldn't run on Servers....)
I'd replace the disks 1 by 1 (allways wait for the array to rebuild before replacing the next), then use array controller software to expand it. That normally is no problem. With some compaq array controllers it is necessary to make sure the array controller's firmware is uptodate. It make sure of that with any controller, anyway. Before you do anything allways make sure your current backup also works.

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