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Clone and replace Server hard drive to extend storage capacity

Posted on 2012-09-14
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Last Modified: 2012-09-15
Hi,

Our organisation server is running out of storage space and there are no slots left in the server to add more drives. There are only 4 slots in the server and there are 4 physical hard drives are installed. Raid 1 is configured for data storage and processing so only 2 logical drives are in operation. Now I want to replace hard drive with another larger capacity hard drive.

I only want to replace one logical drive without operating system with raid 1. Can you please suggest me how can I clone the data on to new drive? How to clone these drives and in which order I need to replace and install drives and which software is recommended. Also I need your views, is it safe to do as we are only running one server in our organisation and all data is saved on this server.

Please help me with this. I shall appreciate it.

Regards

Umair
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Question by:UmairS
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rindi earned 1600 total points
ID: 38398608
Either install an imaging utility on your server if there isn't already one present, then use that to image your data partition to some other (probably external drive) place. Or boot your server with the free PartedMagic LiveCD and use CloneZilla which is included on it to image that partition. After that replace the 2 drives with the larger ones and create a new RAID array. After that use the same tool you used to create the image, but this time restore it:

http://partedmagic.com

Paragon has good, not too expensive imaging tools which can be installed to server OS's:

http://www.paragon-software.com/index.html
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by:UmairS
ID: 38398642
Thanks for your prompt reply. I know it's very silly of me but I am new to all this so I am bit reluctant to take this step. My question is when I will be cloning where would I keep the image of the drive? Do I need to remove one of the drives from the bay and replace it with new larger drive and create image on newer one and once it is done replace the one smaller drive with the second new drive and it will automatically mirror the data on the new one.

Is it what you mean? or do I need to keep the image on some other source may be external drive or somewhere else?

I am confused if new drive would not be in the bay how can I create an image on to that?

Regards
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 400 total points
ID: 38398679
You may be able to replace disks one at a time to get more capacity but you don't tell us what server you have nor whether it has a RAID card or what make it is. Of course sometimes this method fails due to a bad block on a disk but it's fairly safe with RAID 1 since you have a disk in hand with all the data on it and you also have made a backup.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 1600 total points
ID: 38398695
No, you need an extra disk for this, Like an HD attached to a USB port. Or space that you have on another server or NAS. Similar or the same that you use for your daily backups. I wouldn't try doing an online RAID resize, as that can fail. Also, using an external drive to write the image to, and then restoring it once you have created the new array, is faster. Apart from that you still have the original array should something fail.
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by:UmairS
ID: 38398696
Sorry I forgot to mention server details. It is Dell PowerEdge T605 Server running Windows Server 2008 standard version and has RAID card configured RAID 1.

What other methods can I use and also tell me which is the safest method to clone a hard drive. And sorry if I being silly.
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by:UmairS
ID: 38398715
Thanks again rindi. What I understand is that I will clone the drive to some other location may be NAS or some other external drive. I will then replace the drives from the bay and restore the image on to new drive but do I also need to reconfigure RAID on these ones? And is it easy to configure RAID on new drives ?
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by:rindi
rindi earned 1600 total points
ID: 38398758
Yes, you will need to create a new RAID array for the two new drives. Then when you restore the image to the new array, you can tell the imaging software to restore using the full space available (although that isn't necessary as you can also resize your partition using diskmanagement within your OS).

It also depends a bit on your RAID controller, is it true hardware RAID or is it a fake-raid controller. If it is true hardware RAID you can use the PartedMagic LiveCD I mentioned above, as it should properly recognize the RAID controller and should only see your two RAID arrays, not the 4 HD's that participate in it. If it sees 4 disks instead of the arrays you'll have to use cloning software installed within Windows (the Paragon Software). But that you'd have to buy as it isn't free.
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by:UmairS
ID: 38400108
Thanks Rindi ... Can't I configure RAID using DELL OpenManage after installing both drives when one drive already has full data cloned?
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by:rindi
ID: 38400203
I don't think so. Usually creating the array destroys the data.
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by:UmairS
ID: 38400348
Hmm... that's really helpful. You mean I will need to install the new drives and then configure RAID on them. After that I can clone the drives using image clone software to restore.

Can I use the same Dell OpenManage to configure RAID 1 on new drives? And is it any difficult to create new RAID on newly installed drives?
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by:rindi
rindi earned 1600 total points
ID: 38400503
Yes, you first setup the RAID, then restore the image. And yes you can use openmanage to create the array. It should be straight forward.
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by:UmairS
ID: 38400522
THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH ... I WILL NOW TRY IT.
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by:UmairS
ID: 38400557
One last important question... Removing previous physical drives from the server will also destroy the RAID ARRAY 1 configurations? I mean if I remove and then install them back again will they need any configuration settings or will they be ready to use again as they were before?

Removing 2 data drives with RAID Array 1 does not affect RAID on drives with operating system? I mean Physical Drive 1 has 2 partitions C and E whereas second physical drive has only D volume. If I remove drives with volume D will it affect RAID on other drive 1 with volumes C & E?

Reason of this question is, if something gets wrong with clone or new drives, will I still be able to use my older drives by simply installing them without any new settings?

Thanks.
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by:rindi
ID: 38401166
No, the RAID info is kept in the meta data on the disks (or usually it is). So removing the disks won't destroy the array.
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