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mpatrynFlag for United States of America

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How to upgrade an Intel hardware RAID 1 to RAID 5 due to drive space issues

We have an Intel based server (S2500VB2) with the Intel onboard RAID controller in a RAID 1 array.  The Small Business Server 2003 uses mostly all the features including Exchange and is starting to run out of space, 5GB left.  I am figuring to increase space and performance perhaps we should go to RAID 5 using 5 drives since the hotswap SCSI cage is already in place, the existing drives are already hot swap.

How do I perform an upgrade, can I just do a full backup using Veritas and Restore?  Or do I add one of the new drives and copy the data?  I just have no idea how to even begin this?  
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I'm sort of hesitant by that only because the storage has to last 3-5 years and only 3 drives of smaller volume won't be that much.  Being a transit authority with limited funding it has to be extended as long as possible, and with the prices of SCSI I would think that the size/cost of 5 drives say 74GB would be more feasible than 160-200GB.  But I do like the idea.
dont forget that the price of a hard drive is relatively cheap and once you have created the intial Data Partition RAID 5 array (with a minimum of 3 disks), then you can keep adding more disks to the array as much as the server Chassis allows for physical drive space and thus creating as much extra disk space as you need. If price is an issue and you cant afford to purchase any more than one extra drive, then your only option is to back everything up with veritas, break/wipe the original array add the 3rd disk alongside the original two disks and then create a new Raid 5 array and rebuild SBS from scratch, then restoring all of your DATA - a lot of grief though and more possibility of something going wrong - plus much more downtime than my original suggestion.
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Being that I want a Hardware RAID 5 array, I could add another RAID controller onto the server and do the 3 drive option correct?  Then just create the Array and move the data to that array, leaving the OS in place?

How is the accessibility affected if at all to users?
You've hit the nail exactly on the head. You would indeed add the extra SCSI card, install the 3 new hot swap drives, create the hardware RAID 5 Array using the SCSI software, reboot to SBS, create the virtual partition through Windows Disk Management, format the disk to NTFS using the same tool, then simply move the data from the Mirrored partition over to the newly created Data partition.

The only downtime the users would suffer is the amount of time it takes you to shutdown the server, add the card,disks and create the array and reboot the server. From here, you could selectively move the data as you choose - pre-warning users not to use the relevant data folders that you are moving over until the move and new shares have been completed. You could then send a memo/email around stating that at lunch time - or close of business, the email will be down whilst you move the exchange databases.
Preferably though, you would probably do this after hours as there is normally some wise guy that doesn't listen or read your memo's and will then come looking for you wanting to know why his email or data folder is inaccessible!! At least you wont spend all night working on the rebuilld required by the other option and sorting out any problems that could - and inevitably WILL go wrong!!

In any case, no new server that we would sell /send out to our customers would have anything less than a RAID 1 and RAID 5 combination.

Hope this helps!
Kevin.
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