Restore to RAID - windows server backup 2012

Posted on 2014-08-06
Last Modified: 2014-09-04
I have a Server 2012 R2 system which was running on 1 SSD. The server has become more important so I purchased an identical SSD to set up a SATA RAID 1 array from the UEFI BIOS.

I performed a bare-metal full system backup on the original SSD to an external USB drive using the Windows Server Backup tool and have successfully tested recovering the system to a single SSD using the method of booting from the Server 2012 DVD and choosing "Repair your computer" (before the "Install" option) and then picking the correct System Image Recovery - no problems with this procedure.

When I come to restore to my new RAID array I get no end of problems. Using the method described above, when I start the restore I get a message saying there is no suitable destination drive even though it's visible as "Disk 0" to select in the screen before hand.

If I try and install Server 2012 R2 afresh onto the RAID array, again it shows up correctly as "Disk 0" but then won't let format or partition it to continue with the install.

I eventually deleted the RAID array and re-created it using the legacy mode RAID (outside of the UEFI BIOS menu) and although I can't restore the image (I still get the "no suitable destination drive" message), I can now install Server 2012, but when I come to restore the full system using the Windows Server Backup tool it won't let me as it can see the source backup was installed from a UEFI system and the new RAID array was created from a BIOS and complains about compatibility issues!

I can't work out if this is a Server 2012 issue, a RAID / hardware issue, or a Windows Backup software issue, and no idea where to go from here! Any advice appreciated.
Question by:fred2k3
    LVL 31

    Expert Comment

    So, we need more info... Obviously Server 2012 supports RAID from both a hardware and software perspective.  On what model server are you trying to set  up your RAID?

    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    The problem possibly UEFI and RAID which is not detected by Windows as one disk properly.
    Have you erased the first disk before building the RAID? UEFI is feature which allows you only one Windows installed on one machine. And if there is somewhere information about already installed Windows you will get such kind of errors.
    And finally, if you are going to use hardware RAID with SSD drives then it is not a good idea. Especially if your drives are capable for TRIMM (automatic erase of pages marked for overwriting). This feature prolongs the lifespan of drive plus increases the speed later. And in hardware RAID this feature normally does not work. Thus it is recommended that you use software Mirror (dynamic disks in Windows set in mirror).

    Author Comment

    Sorry for the delay, and thanks for your responses...

    DrUltima - It's just a custom built server using a Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 motherboard which does the SATA RAID.

    noxcho - I thought that the disk would be wiped when I created the RAID array.. are you saying I should have formatted it prior to creating a RAID 1 array?

    Thanks for the tip about SSD trim and software mirroring, I will investigate this further. Off the top of your head do you know if it's possible to introduce a 2nd clean SSD and create a software RAID without damaging the data on the already active/live existing SSD?
    LVL 46

    Accepted Solution

    Disk is not wiped totally by RAID building. It erases start of the disk only.

    As for SSD and software mirroring - yes, you can uild software mirror without destroying data on existing SSD.
    Just convert SSD into dynamic drive, connect second SSD of the same size and convert it also into dynamic.
    Right click on partition and select - build mirror. Thats it.

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