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Adding drives to a RAID 5 array in Dell PowerEdge 1800

Simplified version of my situation.

I have two Dell PowerEdge 1800 servers, each with three, 80 GB hard drives in a RAID 5 array. The motherboard gets fried in a lightening strike on one of the PowerEdge machines so I'm down to one. The PowerEdge 1800 has room for six hard drives.

Question: What happens if I add the 3 hard drives from the dead server into the drive bay of the good server? Will the 3 added drives be formatted and assimilated into a single RAID 5 array, or will I have an opportunity to create a second RAID 5 array without losing the data on the 3 additional drives.

Ultimately, I need to access the existing data on the 3 orphaned hard drives and have the drives available for additional storage.

Suggestions?
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Tom Beck
Asked:
Tom Beck
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1 Solution
 
Gary ColtharpSr. Systems EngineerCommented:
The RAID config should be read from the drives and the data will likely be accessible assuming they didnt get damaged in the strike.

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Tom BeckAuthor Commented:
>>The RAID config should be read from the drives

The RAID configuration was identical on both machines. Are you saying that the new host machine will recognize the added three drives as belonging to their own RAID array and keep them separate? Do I need to do anything except power down, add the drives, and power up (they are not hot swap).

>>assuming they didn't get damaged in the strike

Actually, I moved the drives from the damaged machine to the good machine because its services were more mission critical. The three orphaned drives were originally in the undamaged machine, so they should be fine.
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Gary ColtharpSr. Systems EngineerCommented:
Given that their positions will have changed on the controller, it is not guaranteed. But if you attach them in the same order as they were originally, there is a good chance they will be configured into a second array. Given that this a Dell PE1800, your RAID adapter is likely a PERC and are fairly adaptive.

If you absolutely need to get data from the drives, your best option is to power down, remove the current drives (always number!) and put the old drives back in their original positions. Recover your data to a USB drive or the like. Then put your more critical config back in to position. You can then add the additional drives and if the system converts them to JBOD, create a new array and either add it as a new disk or mount the array as a folder on an existing drive where it is most needed.

Remember always to backup before jacking around with disks!!! Hope this helps!

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Tom BeckAuthor Commented:
Ok, I'm feeling more confident. I just need to wait until the services provided by the running server will not be sorely missed.

I'll give your suggestions a try and let you know what happens. Thanks.
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Gary ColtharpSr. Systems EngineerCommented:
No problem.
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Tom BeckAuthor Commented:
Managed to move the data on the three drives to a hard drive on a workstation as a backup then decided not to try to install the three drives into the working server just yet. In a week or two I will have another Dell PowerEdge 1800 freed up because we are moving to a hosted email solution. With that I can restore the services lost when the hard drives were orphaned.

Thanks for your help.
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Tom BeckAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your suggestions.
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