Can I convert a server with RAID0 to RAID5?

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?
frankbustosAsked:
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PowerEdgeTechConnect With a Mentor IT ConsultantCommented:
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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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
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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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
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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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
All the PERC's can, which is most likely what is in his Dell server.
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
I see.  Virtual disks, not physical disks.  Neat!
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frankbustosAuthor Commented:
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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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
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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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
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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andyalderCommented:
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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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
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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frankbustosAuthor Commented:
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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frankbustosAuthor Commented:
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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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
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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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
"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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frankbustosAuthor Commented:
ok, thanks for all your information and help. I understand it now and I think can move forward. thanks again.
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frankbustosAuthor Commented:
great help, was patient and clear on instructions. thanks!
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