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Swap larger hard drives in Dell Perc 3/Di RAID

Last Modified: 2008-07-22
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.

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