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Changing RAID Drives

Posted on 2013-05-22
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Last Modified: 2013-06-09
What are some of the best approaches when changing out ALL drives or changing the RAID format?

For one instance when having six 500GB HDDs in a RAID 50 with Server2008 R2 installed and changing all 500GB drives out for 2TB drives.

Another instance I am wondering about is if you have five 1TB HDDs in a RAID5 and then want to upgrade to six 1TB HDDs in a RAID 50.  This instance has Windows 7 Pro installed, it is merely a file server.
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Question by:ingeniious
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39189673
This depends entirely on your RAID controller.  Some can convert between RAID levels on the fly, but some can't convert to/from nested RAID levels (10/50/60); most can add disks on the fly to expand the array size (5-disk RAID 5 to 7-disk RAID 5, for example); some can expand the size of the array by swapping disks for larger ones, others cannot.

If swapping 6x500GB disks for 6x2TB disks in a RAID 50, you must also consider the MBR vs. GPT question ... 2008R2 can boot to a "disk" that size ONLY if installed on the disk already converted to GPT AND installed in UEFI mode (as opposed to BIOS).

So, what server do you have?  What RAID controller do you have.  Everything depends on the specifics.
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by:ingeniious
ID: 39189689
http://www.lsi.com/products/storagecomponents/Pages/3ware9650SE-8LPML.aspx

That is the RAID card. I will call them tomorrow and ask them about it.

I was thinking along the lines of doing a bare metal recovery server backup, installing the new 2TB drives, creating the RAID50, and then restoring from the backup.
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39189727
"I was thinking along the lines of doing a bare metal recovery server backup, installing the new 2TB drives, creating the RAID50, and then restoring from the backup. "

This will be the preferred method on most controllers.  I only am familiar with Dell PERC controllers, which are based on LSI, but while some things will be similar, some functions are different, so I won't conjecture too much :)
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David earned 2000 total points
ID: 39189729
Best practice is a Bare metal backup / restore.  The reason is that for this single-hdd-replace to work then you have to be lucky enough not to have any unreadable blocks during all that I/O.  If you do the math, it is statistically unlikely to be successful.

(Based purely on the # of ECC bits and the total number of bytes that will be read and written by the time this has been done.).  If you factor in the age of the remaining surviving disks, you could very well have a drive failure, and then you would have 100% data loss.

A full backup/disk replacement has added benefit of protecting your data even if the backup tapes fail .. because your original data is still on the other disk drives.

Finally, to put nail in the coffin of even thinking about individual drive replacements .. such a thing would ultimately take more time on the clock.
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by:Robert Saylor
ID: 39191020
The LSI might not be able to expand an array but I know the IBM ServeRAID adapters do. I agree do a complete backup, recreate the array with the larger drives then restore data.
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by:pgm554
ID: 39191088
You are going to use server grade drives ,right?
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