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jamietallman

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Swap larger hard drives in Dell Perc 3/Di RAID

We have a Dell server with a Perc 3/Di RAID Controller.  It has two RAID arrays.  Array 0 is a mirrored 18 gb array for the C: drive.  Array 1 is a RAID 5 array with three 147 gb drives and is E:.  We are running very short on HD space on E so I've bought three 300 gig drives.

We have a short time frame that we can work on this server.  I need some ideas on how to setup these new disks with the shortest downtime.

We have Veritas and will do a full backup which we have a baseline of about 12 hours to do that part.  

What I don't understand is how long the RAID configuration aspect will take.  Is there any way with the Perc controller to setup the new disks then put the old disks back in so that the new array is ready to go?

Ideally, we could take the server down, put in the new hard drives, configure the new array (how long will that take?), boot the server back up, format the new drives.  At this point they'll be ready.  Is there any way to put the old drives back in at this point and use them with the new array or can you keep the existing array and switch back in the Perc controller?

I just have no experience with the Perc controller and only a little experience setting up RAID arrays.  I'd just like to know how long it will take to build the new array with three 300 gig drives and if there is any way to put the 147 gig drives back in after building the new array.

Thanks!
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jojuez
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Unfortunately once you remove and  configure the array using the new disks your old array will be gone and you won't be able to put them back to access the data. You will have to restore the data from backup. Taking the server down and reconfiguring the array will not take too long, the longest part will be the restore. The most important thing is to TEST YOUR BACKUP before doing this. Time and time again I have seen it where colleagues will try something similar only to find that their backup is no good.
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jamietallman

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In the case that the backup was no good and you have reconfigured the raid controller for the new drives, what would be the recovery steps?  Would you have to put the old drives back in and configure a new array with the old drives?  Would have risk losing the data on the drives?  

What is the safest steps to ensure that we can get the old drives back in if something goes wrong?  We'll make sure the backups are good, but what if the drives or some other issues comes up?
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jojuez
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