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Changing Drive Sizes in an Existing Array

Posted on 2007-04-05
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I have a Dell CERC ATA100/4-channel RAID Controller(LSI Logic) in a server.  The OS is Win 2003 SBS.  There were two 80-gig drives in a RAID 1 configuration; one drive failed and was removed.  I now only have the single 80 gig drive.  I plan to install 3- 160 gig drives for a new RAID 5 array with a 4th as a hot spare.  Is it possible to create the new array without re-installing the OS?  And, if so, how would one go about that - the documentation I have read has not addressed this circumstance, at least in a way that is clear to me.  I thought that I could add 3 of the new drives and the array could be rebuilt with all 4 drives (that's 1 80 and 3-160 gigs).  Then pull the 80 and let the array rebuild itself as a 3 drive RAID 5.  Then add the hot spare.   Any guidance and help would be appreciated, I don't have much experience with RAID configuration.  Thanks Brent
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Question by:brentokc
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by:SysExpert
ID: 18862166
I do not think it will work that way.

You can not convert a single or RAID 1 to RAID5 in most controllers.

You can certainly try, but make sure that you have a full backup of the 80 GB drive ( preferably on TAPE and perhaps also a spare Imaged drive that has been tested ).

I hope this helps !
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Hedley Phillips earned 2000 total points
ID: 18862871
You can't change the Raid type on the fly. If it is Raid 1 it has to stay Raid 1 unless you start from scratch.

The other point to note is that if you put a 160 gb drive into an array with an 80gb drive. The array will only use 80gb of it. That is, the array always uses the smaller size & speed of drives. So you would effectively have all 80gb drives in there, even if you let it all rebuild and then pulled the 80gb. Waste of space.

I would buy something like Norton Ghost, ghost the entire system onto a back up drive (if you don't have one check out the Western Digital MyBooks) then rebuild the array from scratch using just the 3 160gb drives (plus the hot spare) and then put the OS back on from the ghost image.
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by:Comply
ID: 18870401
You will have to back-up then reinstall the OS.

You will have to chose which RAID you want 0, 0+1, 3 or 5 once its built install the OS then recover your backup.

All these work best if all the drives are the same Size, Type, and Mfg for best performance.
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