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Best option for Upgrading RAID hard drives on Dell PE T110 server

Posted on 2015-02-22
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell PE T110 Server running Windows 2008 which has a mirrored RAID 1 system with 2 500GB hard drives.  The drives are at about 88% capacity and need to migrated to larger drives.  I'm looking for best option to migrate to larger drives.  The RAID is hardware RAID and in Windows its partitioned into C: and D: drives.

First, option I was thinking of was to use a hard drive copier I have  to copy  each drive to a larger drive and then expand in Windows.  I've done this plenty of times on a single drive desktops, but, never tried this with RAID drives and I'm not sure if this will corrupt the RAID since the drives will be different from the original drives.

2nd option I was thinking about was to just image the system to an image file, put in the new drives, build the RAID in the controller, and then, restore the image to the new drives.   My concern with this option is the amount of time it would take.  The drive to be imaged contains about 430GB.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Question by:jcrdsl77
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40624129
the normal procedure is to replace 1 drive, rebuild, replace 2nd drive, rebuild, then extend the drives
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Larry Struckmeyer MVP earned 400 total points
ID: 40624160
Or, you could add the two new drives, create a second RAID1, move all the data from the second partition to the new RAID1 set, change the drive letters, then expand the existing to use all the space.  This gives you the advantage of removing your data from the same set of spindles as Windows.  It gives the disadvantage of leaving older drives in the system, but drives are inexpensive and you could replace them as needed.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 100 total points
ID: 40624163
In my point of view the best option is your 2nd one. It is straight forward, you have 2 backups if anything goes wrong (one, your original RAID, the 2nd, your image). Besides that, it shouldn't take that long to create the image and restore it. Do it at a weekend when users don't use your server, and make sure that if there are any users that work at weekends, they are notified that the server will not be available. Disconnect your server from the LAN while doing this.

You can then also do other maintenance tasks that should be done regularly, like clean out dust from the server etc...
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Author Comment

by:jcrdsl77
ID: 40632619
Thanks for replies.  I'm going to be scheduling this upgrade this weekend on Saturday and will respond back.
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Author Comment

by:jcrdsl77
ID: 40644027
Used EaseUs "Todo Backup Technician 8.0" to create the image from the RAID.  After about 1 minute into the image creation process, the EaseUs software stated that there was "an error" (no explanation) and the program would switch to "sector by sector" mode.  The software was able to create the image on a backup USB drive.   It took 4.5 hours to create the image.

When I installed the new drives (WD 10000rpm VelociRaptors) I had to use Windows "DiskPart" to create and format the volume before EaseUS would even see the new drives.  Started the recovery and it ran for 18 hours and only got to 50% and the estimated completion time was showing as 41 hours!    We had to stop it due to the fact my clients business would be affected.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40644085
I've never used easus. CloneZilla is the best free tool, or those from Paragon the best payed ones.

With CloneZilla you just boot the CD or USB stick, then make or restore the image. If the disks have errors, or the file-system is corrupt, the process will of course take much longer. So at least a chkdsk /f /r on all the drive letters before imaging is a good thing to do.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jcrdsl77
ID: 40677355
I was never able to restore the image to the new WD Velociraptor hard drives after creating the image.   It would start the restore process but never complete the restore to the new drives.   In the middle of this whole process my client remembered that he had purchased a 3 yr warranty on his server and it was still in warranty.   After talking with Dell server support, they told me that the WD Velociraptor drive  we were trying to use were not a supported drive for this RAID controller as far as Dell was concerned.  

In any case, I decided best course of action was to create a 2nd RAID1 by plugging the 2 WD Velociraptors on the SATA ports on the motherboard and creating the 2nd RAID1 in Windows SBS2011.  Then, moved all data to the 2nd RAID1 and expanded out the original RAID1.   This solved the clients original problem of running out of space and also gave him more space.
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