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I need to migrate 400gb of data to a new set of hdd's... help!

Posted on 2009-04-01
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I have a file server with a secondary raid 5 array with a total capacity of 408GB with 389gigs being used.  I really need to swap in a set of 400gb drives replacing the existing 147gb's.  

However I do not have another network location with enough free space to temporarily house this data plus I really need to keep the current folder level security settings.

I'm of the opinion that my only solution is to do a standard backup/restore using Symantec Backup Exec to a local LTO3 tape drive.  However my worry is that the downtime window is going to exceed 12 hours.

I'm looking for opinions here on any possible faster ways of handling this task.

Thanks!
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Question by:Ben Hart
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by:Nik
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Do you have a room to place second set of disks and create a RAID array?
I would use Acronis True Image to copy array to array. Works perfectly for me with Citrix cloning.
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by:Ben Hart
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I left that part out.. no this is a Proliant DL360.. all of my drive slots are full.  there's the primary mirrored set for the OS, then the secondary raid 5 with all the data.
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IngoW earned 100 total points
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I don't know if imaging will really run any faster than an LTO especially if you're only way to image would be across the wire to a shared workstation drive big enough to handle the job or worse via USB to an external drive.  what's your normal backup window on the LTO for just the data array?
Does your server RAID allow transporting the Array to another system and with that in mind, do you have another server with the same RAID controller with some open slots?  My thought being if you could transport the RAID to another server and it had space for both the old and new arryas, you could do a disk to disk which would probably be the fastest way.  It's a stretch, but just throwing out some ideas.
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by:Nik
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How about cloning to USB disk drive. 150 Gigs isn't too much. That way you'd still preserve folder security settings.
I'd say that's a better and faster solution than using a tape.
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by:Ben Hart
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I have tried going the usb/cloning route.  I never let it finish.  the initiate clone according to ghost, was set to take roughly 9 hours.

And I have other dl360's... but I cant begin to know where to look to determine if the cage could be transported to another server.

I am going to run a full backup job tonight on this box using it's own LTO 3 drive and report back how long it takes.  The differentials backing up about 11GB have been taking half an hour.
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by:IngoW
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My apologies, I shouldbe using the terminology, Migration and not Transport.  
Depending on the RAID controller, during the boot process you can go into the RAID configuration and there are options to migrate RAID.  There's this article: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/RAID-MIGRATION-ADVENTURE,1640.html  that talks about the joys and pitfalls of raid migration.
However I think this article offers a great idea and may fit the bill:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Servers/Q_23643980.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+10+migrat+raid
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by:sublifer
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How about this:

Take the system down and install and eSATA card and a large SATA drive (be useful for future needs) or hang the large SATA drive out of the case for temp solution.  

Bring the system back up.  Copy, or ghost or whatever your preferred method is, your data to the SATA drive.  Take the system back down and swap your drives. Bring it up, create your RAID array, and restore your data.

I'd avoid a tape drive if possible...
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by:Ben Hart
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Wow thats a good idea, I hadn't thought about using eSATA but so far it's the easiest and cheapest idea yet.  Plus I'd end up with a nice enclosure afterwards.. BONUS.

Seriously yes I am going to give this a try.. anything will be better than a 19 hour process using Ghost and a USB 1 drive.
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by:Ben Hart
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IngoW: I like your idea as well, however sadly this is the only DL380 G4 we've got.  the next closest thing is a G2 which from my reading has different Raid controllers.  I'm not sure how that difference would affect things but I'm guessing not well.

I had actually wondered about doing the replace one drive, rebuild, replace second drive, rebuild, rinse and repeat.  But being a raid 5 there again and no experience with this specific sort of issue I'm quite frankly scared.
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by:IngoW
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I feel your fear and understand completely.   I like sublifer's idea too.  Good luck and I hope it works out perfectly.
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by:sublifer
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Glad you like my idea.  

As for the take one drive out at a time and rebuild idea, I just wanted to note that it won't allow you to use the full capacity of the new drives.  It will replace it as an equivalent to the old which would defeat the purpose.  There are newer more dynamic raid controllers that might be able to handle something like that but I think you still need a spare slot to start the upgrading.  Either way, I'm quite certain the controller in your DL380 G4 won't be able to do it.  Just wanted you to be as informed as possible.

Good luck!
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by:sublifer
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Ahh... just read about about expanding the array to the unused space... makes sense.  Wish there was an edit button...
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by:Ben Hart
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So I guess in theory individually swapping drives out while the array rebuilds itself "could" be an option.  Then expand the partition...
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by:Korbus
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I agree
If you want to use larger disks in your raid array, you will need to recreate it.  Each disk in a raid5 will only use the size of the smallest disk in the array.  I belive this size will not change even if ALL disks in the array are expanded.

I'd clone the RAID to the SATA drive your getting, remove the raid array, replace all disks, clone it back to the new RAID.

Tape thoughts:  just before array rebuild do a differental backup, rather than a full backup.  Make sure you have the last full backup tape also: you would need both to restore.  This would mean you'd only need to spend a long time on the restore.

One other thought:
If this is not a system volume, but only contains user files, you do NOT need to clone.
http://www.xxcopy.com/index.htm would work, and is free.  Paragon and Acronis are generaly not.


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by:Ben Hart
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wow xxcopy looks amazing.  Ok so I've got two really good looking options: 1)Clone the drive or 2)xxcopy it since it is not a system volume.  My only question now would be..I wonder which is faster?
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by:Korbus
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I'd bet advanced clone software is faster.  Do you already have a copy (not cheap)?
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by:qualchoice-it
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Robocopy is another good one, plus its free
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by:Nik
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Agreed with qualchoice-it.
Robocopy is excellent 'cause you can retain your security prefferences with /SEC switch and all attributes with /COPYALL switch.
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by:sublifer
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I had a little more thought on the remove a drive at a time idea... Unless you can find it documented that someone has done it before with the same raid controller you have you may not know until you're almost finished whether it will work or not.... meaning that the controller may not support the expansion of the raid volume to the unused portion of the hard drives after you've swapped all the drives.

As for which is faster, between xxcopy and cloning, I'd say cloning is faster.  Its a bit for bit copy which means its written exactly as its read, there are no questions on whether file ownership or security permissions stayed the same, and there is no thinking (computation) with the transfer.  With a file copy of any sort, there are checks against the copy function and with almost 400GB of data are really going to add up time-wise.

So I would install the SATA drive, clone your volume to it after you've done your backup, swap your drives and build the new array, then clone back to the new volume.
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by:Ben Hart
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Definataly you guys are a wealth of information.  No I had mentioned the drive swap idea just for argument's sake.  With a task of this size I'd def want to go with a more documented approach.  The materials are on order to complete the esata idea.  I'll post back with how it runs. Thanks again.
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by:andyalder
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Why not get a MSA30 plus SA6400, you could transfer the current disks to it and then expand the array.

Also assuming it's a DL380 G4 (you say in one post it's a DL360) then you can replace the existing 147GB disks with 300GB ones, on at a time, and then expand the logical disk.
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by:Ben Hart
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That's a good idea Andy however I'm sure it'd take far more $'s than mgmt want's to spend.
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by:sublifer
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Just wanted to add a post so we'll know at a glance the next time you update.

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by:Ben Hart
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I am planning on attempting this  during the upcoming weekend.  Thanks so much for your help.
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by:Ben Hart
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Ok so the esata method has been the best so far, it's throughput using Norton Ghost was between 850-960 MB/m after it settled.  Ghost time about 7 hours.

But we've had a slight change in our setup here.  I was givent he go ahead to purchase a 6TB Dell NAS the other day... it should arrive before this weekend so that will provide a much better temp housing for this file server data.

thanks to all that helped!
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