RAID 5 -Upgrade to bigger disks?

burningdan

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Oct 9, 2008
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I'm running WinXP on a RAID5 with 3 250G SATA drives.
I'd like to replace them with 3 1TB SATA drives.
windows is installed on the RAID -- there's no other system disk (and there's room for only 3 drives in the computer)
it's an intel matrix raid controller.

Is there a way of going about this without copying all data to an external drive, installing windows and all apps on the new RAID, then putting data on new RAID?

can I replace one of the drives and it'll just automatically rebuild the missing drive onto the new bigger drive? then repeat that process twice more?

would there be a problem when I replaced whichever drive has the MBR for the OS? How would I tell which one that is? How can I work around that problem?

If all that works, I'd end up wtih a RAID5 of 250G on the 1TB disks and a bunch of unallocated space, right? how do I go about expanding the raid volume from 250G to fill the disk?

is there some freeware that'll do all of this? or different freeware that'll do different parts? if not, is there some payware I should use?

thanks!
dan
 

chookman

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Mar 23, 2007
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You wont be able to expand your array by adding 1tb hard drives and letting the array rebuild

Your best option would be to plug the 3 1tb hdd's in your system setup the array then use something like ghost or acronis to clone the 250gb drive array to the 1tb array. Then you can power down the 3x250gb array boot the machine to windows with the 3x1tb array and expand the volume using diskpart http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590 for your info. By the before you go an do this id be backing up your data if you dont want to loose it (which i assume is the whole idea of doing this.)
 

vmardegan

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I think you can't do this (replace on the fly). Once the array is rebuilt the new hard drive will have the same "space allocated" of the remaining drives. In other words, a 1tb drive will become a 250gb in the array.

But to be very honest with you, I'm not 100% sure on this.
 

rockbyter

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you could add another controller, raid 5 the new drives, use the first set as primary, and the new drives as secondary storage. OR do the same thing, and norton ghost the partition off 1 raid into the other.
 

jamesgoddard

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I have done this in the past - replace one disk at a time to expand an array - but it was on an HP server with a proper SCSI array controller - no idea if it will work on the Intel chipset one...
 

malveaux

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Heya,

Check this out, or something similar:

http://www.snapfiles.com/get/hdclonefree.html

Free.

Cheers,
 

rozar

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Do you have a backup device like an external drive you could back up to?

I would use acronis and Image the RAID 5 array you have to an external device like a USB hard drive. Then remove the 3 - 250GB drives and install the 3 - 1TB drives and create a RAID 5 array there and the restore the image again using acronis. This way if anything goes wrong your original array is untouched.
 

bifbakpattywak

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hey jamesgoddarc....i have the same setup...hp server with scsi array controller...can you shed some light as to what you did to complete this one disk at a time...??..thx..!!
 

Translucency

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This should work with any RAID engine, software or hardware:

1) take out one disk of the original array, and replace it with a clean 1TB drive that has been zero-written to (to avoid stale config to ruin your day).
2) rebuild the array
3) repeat until all small disks have been replaced by the 1TB drives.
4. Powerdown, boot again and it should see only 1TB disks and thus configures the capacity with 1TB disks. Now you can partition and access the other space.
 

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