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I've got a Dell Poweredge 2850 up and running as our production Web Server. Its got a RAID 1 array for the OS, and a RAID 5 for data. I would like to add an additional drive on it's own (not a member of an array), for backups.

My main question, is since they are hot swappable trays, can I just slap this hard drive in while the server is up, during production hours? Or is the best practice to wait until off hours...and would I need to bring the server down for any reason?

Thanks for any input!

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Really RAID 0, or did you mean RAID 1 (mirroring)? If RAID 0, you have a much larger problem on your hands than figuring out how to add another hard drive. – EEAA Jun 8 '11 at 16:47
Yeah I always switch those two out for some stupid reason. Thanks, I'll edit the question. – Albert Jun 8 '11 at 19:26

Best practice is to not disturb a production system unless you can afford to have it down. Unintended consequences and all. That said, the hot swappable part implies you can do so without impact. There is always risk. You and your boss decide whether the risk is acceptable.

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Did you mean "without impact"? – Kyle Smith Jun 8 '11 at 17:15
Yes! Fixed my answer – uSlackr Jun 8 '11 at 17:16

Being able to do this while the server is up really depends on your RAID controller, and whether you have a utility to manage it from within Windows. Check up on the documentation and your management utility.

Once you add the drive, you'll have to use the controller's management software to initialize it as a single drive.

Then, in Windows' disk management utility, you can bring it online, initialize it with an MBR or GUID table, create a partition, and format it.

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I'd say best practice is do to during a maintenance window.

Being a web server it begs the question what amount of traffic goes it get, intranet of a small business is different then customer facing web site (of that same small business) used for e-commerce or other business critical functions.

Balancing risk/reward, I'd say do it during a low traffic period, like say 7pm on tuesday, or whatever your traffic patterns are.

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