raid on an old no raid server


is it possible to add raid to a working server, which doesn't have it?

I know I'd need the extra hdds, and perhaps a controller card, given that, do they have to be the same (make/size) of the one that is there?

If yes, do I have to open another question, or can you tell me how to in this one?

Thank you
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To add to what Brugh had to say;

If you are using a Windows Server OS, you can create a 'soft' mirror of the existing drive. To do this, you'll need to add a drive that is at least as large as the existing drive. The Magament Console will allow you to set the disk type and create the mirror.

As an alternate, and since you will probably be shutting down the server to add the RAID card --

Do as Brugh says, but look at drive cloning/imaging software, too.

Install the RAID card and the drives (all the drives in the RAID should be same make, model and capacity - I suggest at least 4 drives, remember you will 'lose' the equivalent capacity of one drive if you are creating a RAID that includes fault tolerance).
Start up the machine and use the RAID card's BIOS setup to create the RAID array. Once this is done, the RAID array will appear as a single drive to any operating system that you might run.
Now, use drive cloning software (Ghost, Acronis TrueImage, etc) to copy your original drive to the RAID Array. Tell the software to use the whole new drive and not just create a partition that's the same size as the one you're copying. When that's done, you will have a new 'drive' that contains EVERYTHING that was one your old drive. But, it will probably be MUCH bigger and it will have fault tolerance.
The next step is to shut down the computer and remove the original drive. DO NOT format it or wipe it out until you are sure that the upgrade is working properly.
When you turn the computer back on, go into the BIOS setup and set your new 'drive' as the boot drive. I don't know every BIOS, so I can't give you specific directions on this. You may have to read your MOBO documentation for this.
When the mahine restarts after you've changed the settings, you will probably find that the boot process takes a bit longer than before -- RAID systems have to do some work to write data a parity information across all of the drives. Other than that and, probably, a much bigger drive size, you shouldn't see any difference in how your OS works.

500GB drives are getting to be really cheap, and most cards will support 4 of them. You'll wind up with a drive of about 1.3TB. OTOH, 750GB drives are coming down in price, too... (hmmm almost a full 2TB...)

If you are creating a new raid, only the drives in the Array "need' to be the same size.

You should just be able to purchase a controller, slap on the drives, configure and be set.  It's going to depend on your current MOBO and other hardware... can it support the SCSI/SATA card that you want to use?

 - Brugh

kenesoAuthor Commented:
Thank you both.

Please bare with me, and let me see if I got it right:

hdd_01 - the current drive with the os (win2k server) 18GB (eighteen), I think scsi, but I have to check it.

When I put up the controller, I should get 3 or 4 new ATA drive with more than 18GB, then copy the hdd_01 on the array, which does not include the current hdd_01, then take out the hdd_01, and use the ones left in the case?

Which means I can't use my current drive (hdd_01) in the array, as it is a different disc.

Did I get it right?
You may be able to continue using the HDD_01, but I would try to use it for backup rather than production precisely since it is not part of a RAID and is therefore a single point of failure.

I would boot from the RAID, and use the 18 GB drive as a backup.

Also, you can not mix ATA and SCSI on a RAID controller, but it should still be usable for storage.

I hope this helps !

kenesoAuthor Commented:
Thank you all.

All precious info.
Points upped for a better split.
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