Adding Drives to RAID 5 - IBM System x3650

Posted on 2012-08-23
Last Modified: 2012-08-23
I have an x3650 with mirrored drives for the OS and HyperV host and a RAID 5 of 4 drives for my VHDs.  I have two extra drives.  What would be a best/recommended practice ?

1. Add the drives to the RAID 5 through the ServerRAID Manager (gui) ?  I've got about 30GB of VHDs, so that would take several hours to build up the new RAID 5.
2. Save the VHDs, blow away the existing RAID 5, create a new one with the two extra drives, and copy the VHDs back ?
3. Set up the new drives as hot spares ?

The RAID 5 presently has 4 drives. I'm assuming I'll get a bit of performance gain adding two more drives to the RAID 5.  A RAID 10 is also possible, but I'm more interested in performance than the best redundancy at this time.

Thanks much.
Question by:lapavoni
    LVL 53

    Accepted Solution

    Adding 2 more RAID5 drives to the existing RAID will give you best performance. If you simply add the 2 extra drives to the current raid5 it will have to rebuild and performance will be degraded slightly but there is no downtime from a production stand-point.

    If you backup the current VHD's blow away the RAID5, re-create the RAID5 the move the VHD's back, this really depends on your company and if downtime would be acceptable. Also you have to take into account for moving the VHD's back over to the new RAID set.

    Hope this helps!

    Author Comment

    The VMs are not in production yet, so I think I'm good there. I wonder if I copy them off then delete them, then add the drives, then build up the RAID with the two new drives, then copy them back ... if that would be feasible.  Thoughts ?
    LVL 116

    Assisted Solution

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    if you want maximum performance, create a RAID 10 array with all your disks.

    if you want to stick with RAID 5, it's quicker to destroy the current RAID 5, and create a new, than add disks, and Expand.
    LVL 53

    Expert Comment

    by:Will Szymkowski
    Sorry for the confusion. RAID 10 will provide over all better performance.
    See the breakdown here...

    Author Closing Comment

    I decided to go with the RAID 5 with additional disks.  With 6 disks, I'll lose about 15% raw space.  With a RAID 10, I'd lose half.  I'll most likely snapshot my VHDs and back them up to another disk.  Thanks both for the useful information and links.
    LVL 53

    Expert Comment

    by:Will Szymkowski
    Do the following...
    - Move the VHD's to another location
    - Destroy the current RAID5
    - Add new disks
    - Create RAID10
    - Move the VHD's back

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