Rebuild a RAID 10 array with larger disks for an Exchange Server

Hello Experts:

My Exchange 2010 Server (Dell R710 Windows Server 2008 R2) is running out of disk space. I’m preparing to add larger drives to one of the Virtual Disk arrays by swapping out the old 146 GB drives for 300 GB drives and then rebuilding the RAID 10 array where the Exchange Databases (EDB files) are located.  I would like to keep the OS RAID 1 array untouched since Exchange is already installed on that Virtual Disk. First Question: Is this possible?

Next, after the RAID 10 array is rebuilt with the larger disks, I would like to restore the backups of the EDB files to the new Virtual Disk and then remount them to Exchange 2010. But I’m not sure how to go about the backup and restore process. Can just copy the EDB files to a drive or to tape, or do I need to run a special backup? I’m currently using Symantec BE 2014. Second Question: How do I backup and restore the Exchange databases.

Third Question: If the above tasks are possible, how long do you think it will take to complete from start to finish.  The EDB files are about 390 GB, total.

Thanks in advance!

Alicia
Alicia PerilloAsked:
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Raymond van den BedumCommented:
Hi,

In case of the raid 10  array. I have good experience with expanding the raid size by swapping the disk one by one. After swapping one disk for an bigger one wait until the raid array is rebuilds. And check the raid array before swapping the second disk. In this order you can swap all disk.

I strongly advise to make a good backup of the data and check carefully if it is usable. Once a disk is swapped there is no way by replacing it for the old one.

We have done this on and standby DB server, while swapping the disk the machine was not offline and was able to handle request if needed.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
It depends on how you built it.  Does the RAID controller see a single LUN  that you partitioned elsewhere?  If so,  then you are screwed, because there really isn't a separate O/S RAID1.  You have a RAID10 that is partitioned.   Conversely, if you built a RAID1 with 2 of the disks, and built a RAID10 with the rest, you can do anything you want to with the RAID10 as it won't affect the RAID1.

NO matter what, however, if you create a decent bare-metal backup, then you are free to blow away all the RAID devices and built it any way you like.  You will, however, need to make sure your software properly resizes the partitions or you will just end up with LUNs that are the exact same size as when you started, but there is free space on the resized disks.
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Here is my suggestion. If you have any other server, install Exchange on that server, create dBs and move the mailboxes. Then perform the hardware change on this server. Later move mailboxes back to this server and decom temp server.
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Alicia PerilloAuthor Commented:
dlethe,

I built the RAID 1 with 2 disks for the OS and the data (EDB files) are on the RAID 10.
What about Exchange 2010? Is it difficult to backup/restore the EDB files?

Alicia
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Just boot the system to a USB drive with linux on it, and take a binary image the RAID10 (it will either be /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, or /dev/sdc.

you would then copy the image to a network drive somewhere mounted on another server. It will be a single file.   Then replace the4  disks with larger drives, and build the RAID10 to initialize it.    Reboot the stick and copy from the network mount back onto the device.

there are plenty of freebie linux partition cloners that will resize the filesystem on the new RAID10.
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Alicia PerilloAuthor Commented:
dlethe,

Thanks for the comment concerning the Linux USB boot, but I'm not willing to go that route.  I want to do this in the most "Windows centric" manner, just using the standard Microsoft tools and not really interested in creating image files.  Do you have any other more conventional workarounds?

Alicia
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andyalderCommented:
Dell PERCs do not like replacing smaller disks with larger and then assigning the remaining space, I would ask Raymond van den Bedum to qualify what controller they have successfully done that on. This may be an H700 of course although I don't think that likes that method much either.
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Alicia PerilloAuthor Commented:
Experts,

From what I've heard you can't expand a RAID 10.

So, from what I gather from the above comments no one can tell me how to backup the EDB files and then how to restore them aside from booting form a USB Linux build and then imaging the drives?

Any other solutions?  

Alicia
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Re-read ID: #40809266.    Go to pendrive.com and make a bootable linux usb stick.   Make a share on your network with plenty of space on it to hold the imaged RAID10.   Boot the stick and then use the software manager to download the partition magic software.   Run that, and take an image copy of your RAID10 to a file on the network that you mount.

shut system down, replace the drives and build a new empty RAID10 with the RAID BIOS.   Boot stick and then run the partition magic and create the destination on the RAID.  Resize partition with it.  

Granted there are more steps but you should probably log another question for somebody to type in every single thing you type in. Your original question about resizing your RAID10 has been answered ... you can't do it on your controller.
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Alicia PerilloAuthor Commented:
dlethe,

I'll accept your answer for resizing the RAID10.  Thanks for your input.

Alicia
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Sal MejicoCommented:
Alicia saw your original post, inherited network we are in the same exact position you described in your original post, what did you end up doing and how did it go?
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Alicia PerilloAuthor Commented:
note:

I ended up "biting the bullet" and ordering larger disks and then bringing the server down and swapping all the disks (after backing up the data).  After the server came back up I reconfigured the RAID for the larger array and then proceeded with the data restore.
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