How to clone a disk to a hardware RAID1 disk ?

We have a  Windows 2012R2 hyper V host. I was shock to find out my predecessor didn't set up RAID on it even it is equipped with a hardware RAID controller. Currently the OS is running on a single disk without any RAID. My plan is to clone the single disk to network drive and then put in two new hard disks to build a hardware RAID1. Then clone the disk from network to the RAID1 disk. Would it work?
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It depends on the controller.  Some let you turn a non-RAID into a RAID1 in-place, while system is booted.

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CastlewoodAuthor Commented:
Thanks David. The controller is Intel C600 and the box is from Supermicro. How to tell if it support in-place conversion?
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Intel C600 series is chipset based RAID meaning software.

If the VMs are not too big then export them to a network location, set up the RAID 1, re-install the OS and set up the Hyper-V Role as before. Import the VMs back in and go. OS install via USB fob (my blog post on the matter) is quick and setup is simple via PowerShell.
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CastlewoodAuthor Commented:
Thanks Philip but re-installing OS is the last resort. Want to see if it is possible to in-place convert the non-RAID to RAID1.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Not without tweaking the boot configuration database via BCDEdit plus a couple of other steps.

As soon as the RAID setup is introduced the boot configuration will not work.

Intel RSTe has the ability to set up a second disk using the in-Windows RAID utility. Perhaps the direction to go in though it has been a long time since I've seen or done it and it was on a desktop machine. Depending on the board, the RAID option in the BIOS may be RSTe and/or LSI*. Our preference is for the LSI* since we can drop a hardware RAID controller in and it will pick up the existing array and import them. The catch is, RSTe is not something we'd use on a server.
Most software on a chip raid is not the direction you want to go in.

Its performance when compared to a hardware caching raid controller is quite inferior ,especially on VM's.

With that being said ,you can use the Widows 2012 server raid utility to create a software raid that is superior to the on chip raid stuff from Intel.
You really do not have a hardware RAID controller.   You have a $2.00 firmware RAID controller.   The work is done in software.  You don't even get read load balancing.

Bottom line, you have something unsuitable.  What you need to do is get a decent RAID1 controller that is natively supported by the hypervisor with appropriate drivers.   Then build a mirror on two drives, and migrate to them.
I wouldn't do a RAID in this case.  You should get a real hardware RAID if you want to do RAID.  You need to consider what you're trying to accomplish with RAID.

I would just have configurations backed up, or the entire OS backed up, in this case, and keep it as a single non-RAID boot disk.  Hopefully, the VMs are not also stored on the boot disk, or on a partition on the boot disk.
CastlewoodAuthor Commented:
Thank you all. You guys made my heart heavy. Ok, even it is kind of a software 'RAID', what would happen? Is it going to be just not working or what? This proposed 'RAID1' with two disks is going to be with OS only as all VMs are on a real hardware raid -- LSI 2208 controller. What I really need out of this Intel raid is hd hot swappable feature. Please help me understand what issues it really has. Thanks.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
The software chipset based RAID (LSI* or RSTe <-- I think) offers hot swap so long as the drives are located in a hot swap drive bay.
CastlewoodAuthor Commented:
"You really do not have a hardware RAID controller.   You have a $2.00 firmware RAID controller.   The work is done in software.  You don't even get read load balancing."

So the issue on Intel C600 is about performance instead of being defective, correct?
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
There are a number of key differences between chipset C600 series or other such setups and a hardware RAID controller:

Disk Failure Handling: Most times in a disk failure situation the software RAID will lock up the host OS while a hardware RAID controller can handle the failure and rework the data streams.

Performance: The hardware RAID controller has a built-in engine for working the RAID data. There's no comparison for parity (RAID 5/6) performance when the hardware RAID controller has non-volatile cache RAM and a chipset parity RAID setup.

A simple mirror won't make much of a difference either way since a typical disk is 120MB/Second mean throughput and ~200 IOPS depending on the disk type.

Use the software RAID setup or purchase an inexpensive LSI/Avago or Intel RAID controller that is Entry-Level for RAID 1.
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