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RAID 1 Hard Drive swap-a-roo

Hi All,
I recently setup a Dell Precision Tower Workstation with 2 X 4TB conventional hard drives RAID 1 managed by an Avago RAID controller. After 1 week of use, My client is not satisfied with the speed and wants SSDs and willing to pay for 2 x 4TB SSDs.

My thought to change to the SSDs on the Workstation is:
1. Clone the OS using Macrium, Acronis etc to a single 4TB SSD
2. Remove the conventional Hard Drives
3. Install the cloned 4TB SSD and the 2nd blank 4TB SSD
4. Boot the PC and let the RAID rebuild itself

Will this process work? Any foreseeable issues?
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PAMurillo
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PAMurillo
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1 Solution
 
Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
For this kind of thing I prefer to use like a onboard raid manager. HP Elitedesk machines usually have this.
Your plan sounds fine, personally I prefer a clean rebuild as Acronis etc does not always work with this kind of thing it can be hit and miss.

Overall I like your plan. Just take a Acronis backup image before any steps. #1
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andyalderCommented:
If the SSDs have the same or higher capacity then you can probably just take one hard disk out and replace with a SSD, wait for RAID rebuild to complete and then swap the other one. Will involve two site visits though as rebuild will take quite a while.

Note that consumer SSDs may not perform well on RAID controllers as there is no support for TRIM so the SSDs have to do garbage collection in background and they don't know what is meant to be free space.
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
2tb ssd in a desktop without a on-board raid. too expensive. run a raid1 with 2 x ssd for the OS only. then run your 4TB raid 1 for extra storage as a different drive in windows
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KimputerCommented:
The correct way to clone RAID arrays is not as you described.
Use a good image app (Acronis is the best), while the server is OFFLINE (i.e. boot USB/DVD), Clone current array to IMAGE (means you need a working external USB or similar with enough free space).
Remove old hdd's, insert all new HDD's, setup correct RAID already. No, again, OFFLINE, restore the image.
You assume that cloning disk to disk suddenly makes the RAID works properly. By using image as an intermediary step, you are now 100% the RAID is properly setup.
During this whole procedure, rebuilding isn't relevant, as you set up the clean RAID1 environment with all the disks in place, and when you restore the image, it's already using the RAID1 properly.
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
* a clean rebuild of the OS is what I meant to clarify. Taking time considerations out of the equation it is the best way to go. You can still run into problems firing images around with Acronis as good as it is. Deep level issues too.
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PAMurilloAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your initial comments
@andyalder
No issue with the RAID rebuild considering one drive is a conventional type and the other is SSD?
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andyalderCommented:
I can't guarantee it will work but assuming you have an image/backup in case you need it then I would try that method first. Controllers restrict mixing SAS with SATA but don't normally restrict replacing a hard disk with a SSD. Assuming you shut down before removing the first disk you've even got that disk as a full backup should you need it. Certainly downtime is a lot less than backup/restore.
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PAMurilloAuthor Commented:
Currently scheduling a time to try the one-at-a-time HD/SSD swap to see if that works. Will update ASAP
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PAMurilloAuthor Commented:
So I have direct access to the computer this weekend. I installed the SSD into slot 1. I think I need to designate it as a hot spare, then remove 1 of the 2 RAID hard drives, and tell Avago to use the hot spare.

I cannot find where to initiate or designate the SSD as a spare. Does anyone know?
Avago MegaRaid
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andyalderCommented:
Click on the SSD under unconfigured drives and a drive assignment menu should pop up where you can assign it as a global spare.

Page 209 of http://pleiades.ucsc.edu/doc/lsi/MegaRAID_SAS_Software_User_Guide.pdf

Damn, look at page 20, looks like you can mix SAS HDDs and SSDs but not SATA HDDs and SSDs. If so you'll get a message when assigning global spare saying it cannot spare all drive groups. Hopefully that doesn't apply to your particular card.
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PAMurilloAuthor Commented:
@andyalder
Unfortunately nothing comes up when I click on the SSD. When I right click there is only two options. 1. Start locating Drive ND 2. Stop locating Drive which merely blinks the LED identifying the drive in the chassis.

It's looking like I may need to rebuild the system using SSDs  as the RAID
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andyalderCommented:
You can verify by following section 5.6.1.3 Replacing a Drive to confirm it won't use the SATA SSD in place of SATA HDD.
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PAMurilloAuthor Commented:
andyalder is correct, you cannot replace a SSD in a RAID array using Avago RAID controller.

I am re-building the computer from scratch by setting up 2 x Samsung 4TB SSDs as a RAID 1 and installing Windows from there.

Thank you for your help!
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andyalderCommented:
Pity they weren't SAS but there again SAS cost a lot more.
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