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Server Upgrade From Non-RAID to RAID0? Dell Poweredge 1850 PERC4/i

We have a production server, Dell PE 1850 with the PERC4i integrated RAID controller.

Currently it just has 1 73 GB SCSI hot swap HD.

What i would like to do, is install two larger SCSI drives, and set them up in RAID0.

While i am familiar with how to do this normally, i want to minimize downtime, and will be working out of the data center so want to do it as quickly as possible.

It does not have a DRAC card on there, so i have no way to access the PERC controller without being on site.

Is it possible to:
-Create an image of the production server, over RDP or some other protocol, while the server is running without a DRAC card?

-Configure the new drives for the raid array so i can just head over to the data center, install them, configure the raid container on the controller locally, and then boot the OS?

If none of this is feasible, what would be the best way to do something like this while minimizing downtime?
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HADDADD3
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HADDADD3
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1 Solution
 
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
How would I do this.
-Get a copy of Paragon Drive Backup 10 Server www.drive-backup.com
-Create backup of HDD, will be done without reboot
-Turn off server and configure RAID as you need
-Boot the  server from WinPE Recovery CD for DB10SE
-Load drivers for RAID controller if needed so your RAID would be detected properly
-Restore from image located on network share or second standalone drive (this will provide best speed)
-Apply Adjust OS from the same WinPE - install RAID drivers - apply changes. Restart to Windows. Install missing driver.

The easiest and safest way. Downtime 1-2 hours depending on how long your RAID will build.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
I hate to put on my "mommy hat", but unless your problem is that you need > 73GB usable on C:, then there isn't much upside in doing this.  You double the odds of 100% data loss in event of a drive failure;  overall system performance will probably decrease (but copying files will improve);  If disk drives are not qualified for the controller then you risk lockups (a non-RAID configuration doesn't need to worry about these things).  

Noxcho gives good advice.  Let me add that you need to carefully consider the appropriate RAID0 stripe size and make appropriate NTFS changes like aligning the partition and selecting a matching allocation size so one NTFS 4KB write doesn't translate into 64KB being written on the RAID side.  
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HADDADD3Author Commented:
Sorry i meant it will be configured in RAID1, my mistake.

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HADDADD3Author Commented:
I'm wondering if i will need to install additional RAID drivers.

I would think the OS is currently talking to the PERC controller, I just can't remember if RAID drivers were installed with the original OS install, i would think they would have had to have been installed, regardless of the original HD configuration?
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Is the current drive attached to the RAID controller currently, configured in a single-disk RAID 0?  If so ... you want to convert this to a two-disk RAID 0?

If this is what you want to do, it is a very easy operation.  Take the necessary precautions, sure, but it is a feature built-in to the PERC's.

You will use OpenManage Server Administrator.  Go to Storage>Virtual Disks>Reconfigure (from the dropdown menu of available tasks for the Virtual Disk in question).  This will start a wizard which will recognize your new, second disk and ask you what you want to do.  Choose the drive and RAID 0 (or whatever RAID level you want), and it will reconfigure the array accordingly.  This will take a couple of hours to complete, but you can monitor its progress from OpenManage.

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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
My suggestion will also work to convert to RAID 1.  No drivers needed.  It will reconfigure with no server downtime.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Yes you will need to do the F6 thing to install drivers.   Get them ready on a floppy (make sure if you don't have a floppy that USB floppy will work).  Take opportunity now to upgrade BIOS & RAID controller firmware. Best practices are always to backup before doing such things, and be sure to perform a full power-off boot before beginning. This clears out any memory leaks that may be lurking somewhere in firmware.  It is a low probability that such things exist, but they also aren't advertised in release notes usually
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
With RAID1 the task is easier than with RAID0. In most cases you need simply install the RAID controller driver and configure the RAID. If mirrored correct way you will simply mirror existing drive to another drive.
But again backup backup and backup.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
If these drives were connected to the RAID controller to start with, you have done it the hard way.  Just sayin.
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