Increase size of server hard drives

Have Dell T310 server running Windows server 2008 R2. It has a RAID 10 configuration with four 465GB hard drives partitioned into C (for OS) and D for data. It is down to 15 GB free on D drive and also very little space on the C drive. I know I have to get 4 new drives. What is the most reliable, best, easiest way to transfer the configuration to the new drives without having to reinstall everything which would be a nightmare? And of course I then want to be able to increase the size of the D drive space so that all applications continue to see that drive as the place to write their data.
Can I create an image (have Symantec System Recovery installed), replace the new drives and restore the image? Can I replace one new drive at a time and and let it rebuild the array? Would there then be a way to expand the size of the D drive to the available space on the new drives?
I am thankful for any advice suggestions.
dashmanAsked:
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
The easiest way would be to add the new drives, assuming you have the drive slots then just expand your current disks onto the new space.

Do you have empty drive slots available?
Benjamin VoglarIT ProCommented:
Yes. you can add a disk to the raid and expand the C or D in disk manager. Just simple riht click on the disk end select extend.
rindiCommented:
The easiest and best way is to take a full image backup, replace your current disks with the new ones and build your new arrays, then restore your backup. Good commercial backup tools should allow you to resize your restored data to fit the new available disk space during the restore.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
rindi has it right. You cannot expand a RAID 10 using Online Capacity Expansion/RAID Level Migration by either adding additional disks OR replacing one at a time with larger disks.
dashmanAuthor Commented:
Scottcha and Benjamin - I do not have any more slots to add drives. I would need to replace the ones that are there.
Rindi  - I hear what you are saying and will probably go this route. However I wonder if I can add a NAS externally (with RAID 5 config and extend the D partition onto it? I would then have plenty of room for the data that is quickly building up.
Poweredge - I am not familiar with the terms you used (Online Capacity Expansion/RAID Level Migration but is that what adding the NAS and extending the D drive would essentially be?
Thanks all for your replies. You can see that I am obviously somewhat of a novice with this and appreciate your comments and suggestions.
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
No.

Online Capacity Expansion would be expanding the size of the virtual disk by adding disks to it (4-disk RAID 5 to 5-disk RAID 5,  or a 500GB RAID 1 to a 1000GB RAID 1, for example), and RAID Level Migration is similar, allowing you to switch from, say, a 5-disk RAID 6 to a 5-disk RAID 5. One or both of these processes would be required to make your array bigger, either by adding drives to the VD (which you do not have space for) or by replacing drives with larger ones - replacing drives with larger ones gives you no way to expand the array to fill the disks.

Backup/restore to a larger array is your only option.

You can't span a partition across multiple storage devices (I.e. spanning a local D: to include NAS storage). If you want to expand your storage using a NAS, put your entire D: partition data on it; don't try to span storage across them.
Benjamin VoglarIT ProCommented:
I Agree with PowerEdgeTech. Backup and Restor is your only option.

I would recommend you to do backup and restor with Windows Backup. Do a "Bare Metal Backup and Restore". Here is a step by spet how to do this:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2011/05/12/bare-metal-restore.aspx

1. Backup
2. expand disk capacity
3. Restore

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rindiCommented:
You can use an external array, but don't, as has already been mentioned, extend it to the same drive letter as your internal arrays. Rather use a new drive letter for the external array.Merging external and internal storage into one large storage space and drive letter makes things more complicated to manage.
dashmanAuthor Commented:
I have read the referenced article and ordered 4 new drives. After making the backup I would then insert the new drives and create the array. The Dell server has a H200 PERC controller. I think I can figure out how to create the array and virtual disks. Then I would run the restore process and then be able to use the extra space on new drives as expanded D drive. I am going to try to do it this weekend. If something should go wrong, my client has to be back up and running Monday morning, will I be able to replace the old drives and retry the process at another time? I obviously do not have much experience with creating arrays and wonder if I have to reinstall the older drives will I be able to recreate the older array without wiping out the original drives?
rindiCommented:
If you shutdown the server, then remove all the old disks, you should be able to put them back in later should something go wrong, and have a working system.
dashmanAuthor Commented:
even if i have to create a new array with the new drives? Will I have to do that if reinstalling the old ones? or does it remember what was previously in there?
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
It will recognize the configuration on the drives and you would then IMPORT the foreign configuration (on the drives).
dashmanAuthor Commented:
Well thanks to you I have just completed a successful installation of 4 new larger drives and did  backup and restore and all is working perfectly. It was actually painless and quite easy.

One last question. Can one do a scheduled backup (say monthly) and be able to do a bare metal restore should something happen or does it have to be a backup once?

Once again. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
rindiCommented:
Backups should really be done more often, like daily. Most backup tools allow you to do incremental backups, so you only backup new or changed data between backup, and do Full backups on weekends. This reduces the total time and space needed for backups.
dashmanAuthor Commented:
I do use Symantec Backup Exec and do full backups daily on my client's servers. I was referring to the bare metal backup that I used to make the recovery so easy. I see in Microsoft backup that there is a way to schedule backups but can those be used for recovery of a system or does it have to be one time backup like what I did?
rindiCommented:
m$ OS builtin backup does the same thing as other backup software, It is normally just not as easy to use as 3rd party software. Symantec also does a full image based backup, just like Windows backup.
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Windows Server 2008

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