Move OS drive to larger Disks on Intel RAID Controller SRCS16

Lionel MM
Lionel MM used Ask the Experts™
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Hi

I have a server with 4 Western Digital 500GB drives; 3 used for RAID5 and one hot spare. I want to transfer the OS and data on these drives to 4 1TB drives. I have never done a live drive swap before so I am bit leery so I will use this procedure instead, unless anyone can give me a better way--thank you
1. Add a larger drives to the raid controller
2. Boot from USB and boot into clonezilla live edition
3. Clone current drive(s) to the new single installed drive
4. Remove the 4 old drives
5. Boot up the server from the cloned drive to make sure it transferred OK
6. Then setup new RAID for the new 4 drives (RAID 5 and hot-spare)
7. Boot from USB again and clone single drive to new RAID.

Do you see any problems with this approach and/or is there a better way. Thanks. Again the RAID controller is a Intel RAID Controller SRCS16
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Top Expert 2016

Commented:
You realize that this is an obsolete fake-raid controller chip?  Windows built in software raid is a better option that or get a real raid controller. Also remember that raid does not replace a regular backup policy. Personally I'd go with raid 6 over raid 5 but that is your choice.
Hello,

if your raid controler cannot do online resizing, it is best approach.
You do not have to test the image because you will never overwrite source disks.

1- clone existing LUN  (to whatever support, scsi disk, USB drive, etc.)
2 -Replace disk and create your new logical disk
3 - Clone back

Regards
Two things come to mind,can that controller recognize 4tb drives and if so,how are you going to partition?

From what I've read,those drives probably won't work with that controller.

MBR will only boot 2.2 tb drive sizes and if you go gpt> 2.2 tb ,it will not boot unless you have a UEFI boot in the system BIOS.
4 disks in RAID 5 with one spare will offer 2 TB of available space and will not need GPT...
Ah.misread thought it was 4x4tb.

The 2 cent question would then be ,are these enterprise drives?
Lionel MMSmall Business IT Consultant

Author

Commented:
Intel says this is a RAID controller--can't imagine that Windows 2003 software RAID would be a better choice.. This is a small nuts and bolts company that has minimal needs. Mostly a storage and file and print server. I am unfamiliar with this controller myself so not sure if it can do online resizing. I had a look at the web interface for the controller and did not see anything that would tell me if this was something it could do or not.
What are the make and models of the drives?

If they are anything but RAID certified (WD RE or Seagate ES),not a real good idea to say the least.
Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
When a controller supports resizing as was mentioned earlier, the process is to replace a drive at a time until in your case you would replace the hot swap first as it has no impact on the functionality. You then would fail/replace one.  
Just know that a RAID 5 sees a hit on performance when the RAID is degraded.  It also takes quite a bit of time for the RAID 5 to rebuild. IMHO, the OS should be in a RAID 1 configuration which sees no decrease in performance when the RAID degrades and rebuilds faster.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT Consultant

Author

Commented:
This is for a client who called me out of the blue, a friend actually that I am helping because he is too afraid to do it himself. I did not make the choice of drives, raid card, or raid level. Just helping to transfer current server, boot drive (which is also its data drive) to a larger size. Drives are purchased already so not part of this particular discussion; in this case all I have control over is how I do the conversion. I do agree about the RAID1 for OS--that's how my PC and my customers are setup. Thanks for all the advice and suggestions.
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
Go to RAID 10 rather than RAID 5.

Which OS? Backup/restore. The difficulty is with whether pulling the current drives while the system is off, replacing clearing the config and building the new array and restoring,
If there is an issue, whether the old drives can be returned with the controller reading the config from the drives to restore functionality.

How long can the server be down? How old is the system?

There are too many variables and the risk is rather high.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT Consultant

Author

Commented:
RAID10 would require 5 drives then 4 and a spare. As indicated above these decisions have been made already. I am JUST HELPING TRANSFER TO LARGER DRIVES; they don't want my help on anything else--when I started asking about drives bought and all that my "friend" said whatever was on sale. This is not s situation I have total control over and am only asking about whether in my suggested course of action there is place for better actions, or another way. I have done this many times in the past but not with this particular controller. As far as all the concern about backups and all that, I did indicate that clone will be made before anything else is done which can then be used to "restore" to the new and to the old drives.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT Consultant

Author

Commented:
Well what do you know--just out of the blue he is now asking for help with a different controller (maybe he could tell I was uncomfortable with that RAID controller?). Any suggestions for me? LSI is one I am most familiar with but have used it only connecting a hot-swap plane and to individual drives--thoughts? Thanks.
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
Maintaing in a spinning spare means the spare ages at the same pace as the functional ones and given the failure rate it is possible that the spare fail within the same Time frame.  RAID 10 provide a fault tolerance of two devices as well as provide for no declie in performance while reducing the rebuild time.

From my point of view, the difficulty is the risk given you are working on the single server and a fluctuation will have disastrous results.  Any option to setup a second server for purposes of transition?
RAID 10,you're asking for trouble with those sized disks and RAID 5 with spare.
You can take a 2 disk failure scenario that you can't take with 5.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT Consultant

Author

Commented:
I was asking for ways to transfer to larger drives and most comments were not about that but other items/issues like what RAID is best, thus the C. No-one addressed my actual question, whether what I was proposing would work and if not what else to do
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
Your current Setup RAID 5 with a hot spare is a high risk setup for a drive by drive switch/rebuild without knowing whether the controller you use supports in place resize of an array. RAID 5 rebuild takes a longer time while the system suffers a significant performance hit in degraded mode.

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