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clifford_m71Flag for United States of America

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Increase storage on windows 2008 server running Exchange 2010

I am going to increase the storage on two servers. The first is simple. The C drive is on one array that I am not touching. The D drive is on a different array and simply stores data. I am going to back up everything then break the array that the D drive is on, install new drives, recreate the array and the D drive and restore data.

The second server is where I have a question. Same scenario except Microsoft Exchange 2010 is installed on the D drive. Can I still just backup the D drive then restore to the new larger array? My logic is the Registry is still on the C drive and doesn't that tell the operating system where everything is? Or am I completely wrong and if I did this I would have to re-install exchange?
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Tom Jacob Chirayil
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How are you going to take the backup? Do you have any third party backup solutions? Does the backup solution backs up the ACL as well? If yes, then you should be good in restoring the data which is backed up from the current D drive to the larger array. Ensure that you give the same drive label (D:\) after increasing the size or creating the new array and restore.
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Lee W, MVP
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Buy an external HDD use Exchange Management console to move the database log file etc to the external drive.
You can then safely trash the array recreate with your larger disks and then move the data back.
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We use a third party for our backups (Unitrends). Both local and cloud. I will do a bare metal backup before I try this and do a basic backup of just the D drive. Is ACL the access control list? I don't know if that gets backed up too but I assume so. I was looking for some reassurance and you gave it to me. I'll post the results when I do it. Won't be for a couple of weeks. Thanks.
Lee, I would give your slower suggestion some thought but the current array is RAID-5 and when I swap in the new hard drives I want to make it RAID-10 so I can't do it.
If you're looking to improve performance, I would suggest RAM, not DISK.  Exchange loads everything it can into RAM and will use as much RAM as possible.  I doubt you'd see all that much of an improvement switching the disk subsystem from RAID 5 to RAID 10.

I'd also add than an External disk doesn't make sense here - if you're concerned about disk performance, the last thing you want to do is move the Exchange databases on to a SINGLE USB external hard drive.  (Most servers don't have eSATA or USB3).  If... If... If... then an external disk makes sense - but there's a lot of IFs before I'd recommend that route.
The external drive is purely a tmp location, while you rebuild the array. I wasn't suggesting you make it live.
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I think the idea is to move it back afterwards Lee.

As you say though Exchange 2007 and 2010 aren't nearly as IOPS hungry as 2003 was and it should work well on slow disks even with RAID 5 so long as the controller's got a reasonable amount of write cache.
I would use a third party tool like Acronis Server to take a backup and then restore to newer disks/RAID. This will require a substantial downtime as everything will have to be done offline with Exchange server neatly shutdown.

To help with downtime, you can move all important mailboxes to the first server.

For live Solutions: If you have a SAN (iscsi san) which the Server can connect to, then you can move Exchange Data to new Drive (SAN / External Storage), which will not require too much downtime. Once the current drive is empty then go for your hard drive upgrade which can be done live/online.
First, I apologize for taking so long to get to this. I was waiting for a good time to take everything down.

Having never done this before I was looking for reassurance and Leigh was the first to give me that so that is why I chose his solution, but thanks to everyone for there input. Leigh also reminded me to stop and disable all exchange processes, which was a tip I probably would have overlooked.

In the end, I shutdown and disabled the exchange services. I mad a full backup of the server and I also simply copied and pasted all contents of the  D: drive (where the exchange mailboxes are stored) to a USB. I removed the old drives, put in the new ones, built the RAID-10 array, named it D:, copied everything back over and restarted all services I disabled. All is good!!

Thanks again for the help.