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Replace system drive in Domain controller

Posted on 2016-11-14
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I've got a client on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials domain. The have just the single domain controller and the onboard RAID is acting up. They have a RAID 1 and if both drives are plugged in the server runs extremely slow. If either of the drives is unplugged however, it runs normal. It is run off of the onboard Intel RAID controller. So my thought is rather than trying to add a RAID card and rebuild it with the two drives, what if instead I just install a single SSD? From what I understand they are much more reliable and they are frequently replacing RAID systems these days. So my first question is would that be a good idea? Offsite backups are maintained and there isn't much data on the computer anyway as it's a DC.

My second question (and I assume I would have to do this whether I replace the drives with an SSD or buy a new RAID card and set them back up) is how do I re-install an OS on a DC? Do I need to first remove all the PCs from the domain, reinstall, then add them back? There are only 11 client PCs so it's not a ton. Or is there some sort of backup and restore procedure that will maintain the domain structure correctly? I've always heard that it's not a good idea to image a DC so I assume I shouldn't clone the drives but if that's not true that seems like the easiest option for sure. And I understand I can't add a temporary server and promote it to a DC while I reinstall the original because of it being an Essentials domain instead of the full blown windows server.

Any guidance would be much appreciated!
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Question by:Kyle King
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:No More
ID: 41886545
SSD will do well for this, you are correct they are more reliable and for low setup like this will be good enough

Cloning will do and you will save time reinstalling
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by:No More
ID: 41886551
Whats the current size of hard drives ?
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Author Comment

by:Kyle King
ID: 41886576
The current drives are 2TB but they are using less than 140GB of space. So I was thinking of maybe putting in a 480 or 500GB SSD to make sure there is plenty of room for updates.
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No More earned 2000 total points
ID: 41886584
Good, just make sure that you use software for migration from HDD to SSD and that you disable pagefile

Also clear out temp folders etc before doing so
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Author Closing Comment

by:Kyle King
ID: 41886616
Thanks so much!
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41886738
Very much disagree - this is a SERVER.  ALL DRIVES WILL FAIL.  A server needs a some kind of redundancy - it's CHEAP.  It's absolutely foolish in my opinion, given the costs, NOT to have RAID on a server.

In my opinion, the best solution is to virtualize the existing OS (it should have been setup as a VM in the first place).  Temporarily move it off to another system, repair the RAID on this server, and then move it back.  Replace with SSDs if you like but MAKE SURE you use a RAID 1 (Mirror).  Even software RAID in Windows.
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Expert Comment

by:cmlbaete
ID: 41899103
I fully agree with Lee W and would stress that you must remove the single point of failure. Although SSD's have come and long way they still fail and as you only one DC this is even more vital.
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