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Can I convert a server with RAID0 to RAID5?

Posted on 2010-11-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi Experts,

 I have a dell server that came with raid built in. This is now configured as raid0 with 4hard drives. Can I converted to RAID 5 and not lose any of the data and configuration? Is it possible?
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Question by:frankbustos
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34159339
It depends on your controller, but chances are, you will have to add a drive and reconstruct/reconfigure in order to convert from a RAID 0 to RAID 5.  What system/controller?
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Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 34159353
Chances are you'll have to build a RAID 5 array, then port your data to it from the RAID 0 array.

I've never heard of a controller that would let you change the array type on the fly.
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34159375
All the PERC's can, which is most likely what is in his Dell server.
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Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 34159460
I see.  Virtual disks, not physical disks.  Neat!
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Author Comment

by:frankbustos
ID: 34160371
I kind of figure that there is no way to do this now without losing some data, so I am not surprised.  The question is how much data can we keep?

Here are the drives:

#1  -\
#2    >  1 logical 2TB drive
#3  -/

#4

#5

Originally we had 3 drives with RAID 5, which came preconfigured from Dell because that was how we ordered it.

Later we added another 1TB drive which is #4, and recently we added another 1TB which is #5.  I am hoping that we can still keep the data on the logical 2TB drive by adding drive #4 and #5 to the logical drive joining RAID 5 to form one new logical 4TB drive.  Do you think this can be done?
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34160434
Why do you figure you cannot do this without data loss?  Yes, you can also reconfigure your array from a 3-disk RAID 5 to a 4 or 5-disk RAID 5.  This is done in OpenManage Server Administrator (Storage, PERC, Virtual Disks, Reconfigure).  You will first need to delete the logical drives (RAID 0's if seen as individual disks) that #4 and #5 are a part of so that they are showing as READY to the controller.  I'm assuming this is a PERC 5 or 6.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34162468
If you backup the data and system, then reconfigure the RAID to RAID5 and restore from backup then you loose nothing. Have you thought about this option?
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 34163286
It's not possible using one logical drive; although the PERC will probably do it you've got the 2TB problem. As I see it you've currently got 3 disks in RAID 5, not RAID 0; to add another one you would cross the 2TB boundary which you can't do with the current basic disk.

You can probably add it to the container and make another logical drive for the data though while preserving RAID 5. PET will tell you how if you tell him which controller you've got.
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34170168
My bad ... I should have seen the 2TB limit.  This limit is not applicable to the RAID controller ... this is an MBR limitation.

- You can't boot to a partition that is larger than 2TB, unless using an EFI-enabled system (as opposed to BIOS-based).
- You can't have a partition larger than 2TB, unless it is a GPT disk.
- You can't boot to GPT, unless configured as described in the first bullet.

So, here is about your only options:

1) Add the drives to the RAID 5 (making it a 5-disk RAID 5), then create an additional 2TB partition, or
2) Create a new RAID 1 with drives 4,5), then create a 1TB partition using that space, or
3) Image/backup existing RAID 5, delete RAID 5, create RAID 1, image/restore to new RAID 1, create new 2TB RAID 5 for DATA.  Since you probably have space in the server for at least another drive (what system is this ... 2950?), you could convert the RAID 5 disk to GPT and add another 1TB drive down the road to make a 3TB RAID 5 array/partition (or as many 1TB drives as you have room for in the server).
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Author Comment

by:frankbustos
ID: 34176820
ok sorry for the delay but I had to turn off the server and look in the PERC to see the current config and here it is.

Controller 0
  Disk Group 0
     - Virtual Disk
     - Virtual Disk 0    - Raid 5 with 1tb drive
  Phisical Disk
   -00 - size 1tb
   -01 - size 1tb
   -02 -size 1tb

Space allocation
Virtual Disk 0 RAID 5 1.8TB

Disk Group 1
Raid 0 with 1tb drive

Disk Group 2
Raid 0 with 1tb drive

So, my question is can I add the  1tb disks in group 1 and 2 to be part of disk group 0 and have them all as RAID 5?

and its a poweredge 2900 system. PERC 6/i Integrated Bios config util 1.11.82.0473
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Accepted Solution

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PowerEdgeTech earned 500 total points
ID: 34176885
Yes, you can, but you must first delete VD's (Disk Groups) 1 and 2, as the controller cannot add a disk to an array that belongs to another.

You will "reconfigure" the array from a 3-disk RAID 5 to a 5-disk RAID 5, using OpenManage Server Administrator (as described previously) from Windows.  You must, however, delete VD's 1 and 2 first, and you will be limited to 2TB partitions.
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Author Comment

by:frankbustos
ID: 34177045
ok, but this server doesn't have windows. It boots off a usb drive that has vmware esx server 3.5. and if I delete the vd's 1 and 2 that will not delete the data correct?
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34177508
No, that won't delete the data.  Easiest way to do this then will be to boot to an OMSA Live! CD and initiate the reconfigure with the same instructions:

http://linux.dell.com/files/openmanage-contributions/omsa-54-live/omsa-54-040308.iso
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34177513
"No, that won't delete the data."  It won't delete the data that exists on your current RAID 5.  It will however, delete the data on your VD's 1,2, of course.
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Author Comment

by:frankbustos
ID: 34177523
ok, thanks for all your information and help. I understand it now and I think can move forward. thanks again.
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Author Closing Comment

by:frankbustos
ID: 34177527
great help, was patient and clear on instructions. thanks!
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