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Is it possible to swap RAID cards?

I have a general question about RAID cards. Supposing I have a system with a 4 port RAID card with an array in RAID 5. Some time later that card dies or I decide to get a new one for whatever reason. Is it possible to simply replace the card (particularly a different model card) or does each manufacturer have their own implementation of the RAID levels that aren't compatible. If you can swap a card would it be possible to add say an 8 port card later if you decide you want more drives?
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wwfarch
Asked:
wwfarch
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2 Solutions
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If the replacement card is part of the same model line (like a 3ware 4 port card dies and it's replaced with an 8 port card from the same product line, it LIKELY will work.  But in general, you should not expect to be able to just swap cards that are not identical and expect them to work (indentical including firmware - at least the new card should be EQUAL to or GREATER than the existing card's firmware).
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Now you might be able to get new drives, setup the RAID, then use a licensed copy of RAID Reconstructor to rebuild your old RAID onto the new drive(s).
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PUNKYCommented:
If the card dies then your raid will also gone. You just can not simply replace the raid card to other. The main thing is daily backup data, no raid can help you with that in case corruption or disater happens.
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cvvoodCommented:
If you have the ability to save the RAID configuration to the Hard drive you can swap out like cards, quickly and efficiently.  But if you do not, then your gonna need what LEEW spoke of no matter what you get....

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wwfarchAuthor Commented:
cvvood:
What exactly do you mean when you say "save the RAID configuration to the Hard drive"? You mean like a configuration file that contains the drive order, block size, etc...? If so wouldn't the new card also need to be able to load such a configuration file?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Some RAID controllers write the configuration of the RAID on the hard disk (I would expect MOST that support RAID 5 would do this).  When the drives are attached to a different controller, the controller reads the drives and determines if it understands how the RAID was setup and if that setup matches what setup it thinks it should have.  If it doesn't, it tells you the config is different.  IF it does match, then it boots normally and you don't even know this check took place.

I would NOT expect this to work with different BRANDS of controllers and a 50/50 chance of working on the same brand with a Different product line (as illustrated in my earlier example).
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wwfarchAuthor Commented:
Alright, thanks for the help guys. I'm looking at building a home file server and was also planning to use it for backup as well. Realizing that the RAID controller then becomes a single point of failure I'd like to know that failure of this type is recoverable. How often is RAID Reconstructor successful at rescuing an array?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I've only had to use it once, but it worked flawlessly for me.  Well worth the $100.

I hope you're not looking at RAID as backup - RAID is NOT backup - RAID cannot protect you from accidental deletions, corruption, fire, theft, etc.  RAID is REDUNDANCY - purely to protect you against a single disk failing.
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cvvoodCommented:
LEEW, you took the words outta my mouth, I was typing that exact phrase when i received your comment....

wwfarch,  realize what he is saying because indeed a file server needs to be backed up for those EXACT reasons!!

Win2k3 has a basic backup and recovery system OOB, take a gander at that, it supports all kinds of media....

CvV
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wwfarchAuthor Commented:
I realize that RAID itself is not backup but I was planning on using the file server as a backup drive for my primary machine. That way if I delete/corrupt etc.. on my primary machine  I have a backup on the RAID. Most of the files on the file server will actually be taken from other sources (DVD images, audio, movies etc...) so I won't really need to back them up. Obviously it would be a big pain to get them back but then again doing a full recovery would likely be a big pain as well. Thanks for all your help
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I'm sorry - I hate it when people take things right out of my mouth - especially food... that REALLY irritates me!
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cvvoodCommented:
Leew,  com'on,  I gave you props there.  and look you got the points.  Wow whatta sore winner.....

Love you too leew...

Hope to see you soon....

CvV
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
huh?  Was annoyed or anything - just trying to make a joke - take food out of my mouth?  Oh well... no light-hearted deed goes unpunished.
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cvvoodCommented:
Leew, see how we can misconstrue the text infront of us.  And you are correct again, nolight hearted deed goes unpunished.....
NO MORE POINTS FOR YOU>>>>   2 YEARS......

LMAO!!!

cyou around leew.....

CvV
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