Server Dell R410, Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Replace hard drives & upgrade RAID0 to RAID10

I am looking for advice just to make sure I consider all avenues.

I have a Dell PowerEdge R410 server with Server 2008 R2 SP1. This server hosts two Hyper-V VMs and runs excellently.

For many reasons that I will not go into here, the server is configured in a RAID0 with four 300GB drives making 1TB of space (more or less).

I am going to replace the four drives (SAS, hot swap) with four 900GB drives (bought from Dell).

I am then going to set up a RAID10 configuration (I will lose two drives' worth of space).

I have made sure the firmware on the PERC 6/i is up to date, and I know that it will support RAID10. Server Admin gives me green checks across the board.

My plan is to image the server - I bought a one-time use of Acronis. Then swap out the drives. Then deploy the image back to the server.

I've done this sort of thing before, but I don't do it a lot, so I want all your geek brains to throw stuff at me - what should I consider, what should I watch ot for, etc.

Thanks all -

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That's the only way you can do this if you move from RAID 0 to another RAID system. Backup. Change disk. Create the new array. Restore.
This should be fairly risk-free as you will not be changing anything on the original drives.  That is, you will make the image, remove the old drives, install the new ones, then restore the image.  If anything goes wrong you can swap out the drives and get back to where you started.

Though not common, there may be programs that don't like the disk change.  I've seen that with QuickBooks before, though it isn't too difficult to remedy.  This would only apply to the non-VM part of the server.

I would have used Windows Server Backup instead of Acronis only because it is not an additional cost.  WIth Server 2008 you'd have to be careful about what you used as a destination for WSB as it doesn't work with standard 4k sector drives.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Don''t forget you are going to have to back it up somewhere. When last did you test your disaster recovery and restore from a backup?
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SECC_ITAuthor Commented:
Hi - sorry - here is what I did:

First, I tried to use Acronis (one-time license) and it was not compatible with my RAID controller - PERC 6/i. What I ended up doing was running a full Windows Server Backup (included bare metal) to my NAS. When it was complete, I swapped the drives, rebooted, used CTR-R to configure the drives in a RAID10, then it took pretty much overnight to initialize the four 900GB drives.

The next day I put in the Server 2008 DVD, and chose to repair. I navigated to the image. It took about 15 hours to apply the image.

When all was done, it was perfect. I am a huge Windows Server Backup convert now.
WSB can do a fine job (as it did here) and the price is certainly right!  My biggest objection to it is the lack of support (in Server 2008 and before) for Advanced Format drives.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
The lack of support for 4K Sectors with Advanced Format drives and the 2TB vhd limit made things a bit difficult..  Especially one one replaced a drive with what one thought was an identical drive and the replacement drive used 4K sectors.
SECC_ITAuthor Commented:
I accomplished this. Here is what I do NOT recommend: Do NOT use Acronis. What a nightmare. Their software does not support PERC 6/i RAID controllers - I spent hours with their tech support, who were not very knowledgable about the product. So, unless you want the hassle of creating a Win PE/AIK disk, don't bother.

DO use Windows Server Backup. After losing almost two days trying to use Acronis, I switched over to Windows Server Backup. I know it has issues with 4K drives, so I did not use USB - I sent the backup straight to a NAS after going through extreme measures to quiet down the network so that I could have all the bandwidth.

This worked like a charm and everything is up and running smoothly.

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SECC_ITAuthor Commented:
If you are going to image your server, check very carefully that all of your hardware, RAID controllers, etc., is supported by that software. In order to successfully re-image the server, the software has to have the drivers included. Even if the software company says they do, RESEARCH on your own first. This would have saved me SO much time and wee-hours frustration.

If you use the Windows Server Backup method, DO use a Network Attached Storage device, or make sure your USB drive is not 4K (use an older drive).

Make sure you have DATA backups as well, just in case the image fails.
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