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Whats the best way to convert this server to using raid?

Posted on 2013-12-17
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Ive got a small business that has one 500 gig main drive but its been in service for YEARS. And of course they have no backups.

Whats the best way and cheapest way to put in an external small raid array. Maybe 2 or 4 DRIVES and be able to boot from this external array. Id also need to move the data thats on the drive to the array. And no I cant reinstall windows.

I need recommendations on software to image the existing drive and what external array to use. I thought of maybe using drobo?

Thanks
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Question by:ITCaveMan
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David earned 1000 total points
ID: 39724779
What O/S are you running?  If it is a server O/S, or any unix variant, then why not just do an in-place conversion to RAID1 using host (software-based RAID1).  

1. Shut down computer.
2. Add another HDD >= 500GB (make sure it is not 4K sectored, and an appropriate server class HDD) & power up.
3. If windows .. convert the existing HDD to dynamic drive through disk admin;  do same for the new drive; select both drives and convert in-place to RAID1.  Make sure you carefully choose the source and destination disks.

4. Then when finished, put the new disk in the boot path.

Problem solved.
You'll get twice the read performance in perfect world due to native load balancing, and write performance will be no worse off.
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by:WalkaboutTigger
ID: 39724783
What version of Windows?

Is this a domain controller or a Small Business Server edition of Windows?

Need those questions answered before I can make further recommendations.
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by:David
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P.S.  if you also need more capacity then you could buy a pair of 2 x 2TB drives, for example.  Mirror the 500GB to a 2TB.  Then remove the 500GB from the mirror.   Then mirror the 2TB to the existing 2TB. Then expand the filesystem/partition to use the extra 1500GB.  

All can be done hot without rebooting, and no need to spend thousands of dollars for a decent RAID controller and external enclosure, and software RAID1 will likely outperform the 4-disk RAID5 anyway unless you spend the big bucks for a beefy controller with lots of cache.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 39724847
The first thing to do before even thinking of anything else is to start making backups.

After you have the first backups, and have done some restores and checked you can use those files you restored, move on.

What is the task of this "server"? Is it simply to store files, or does it also provide mail/groupware services, or some other server based applications?

If it is simply to store files, then why not buy a NAS that has at least 4 bays for drives. A NAS is usually the least costly option for those needs. You don't need to boot anything externally, the NAS boots off it's firmware and you can get going.
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