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I have a Dell Server with 6 1TB Drives in it. Currently the drives are configured into two RAID groups:

Existing

Group 1: 2 x 1TB in RAID 1 (1TB Usable) C: Drive (Windows 2008 r2 Boot Partition NTFS)

Group 2: 4 x 1TB in RAID 10 (2TB Usable) E: Drive (NTFS)

I would like to change the RAID Configuration to

After

Group 1: 6 x 1TB in RAID 5 (5TB Usable) with 2 NTFS partitions on it.

What is the best way to do this?

I am currently thinking of this:

  1. Use clonezilla to image each of the partitions separately.
  2. Reconfigure the RAID
  3. Use GParted to create the partitions
  4. Use Clonezilla to restore the partitions

Is this the best way? Or is there an easier way?

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That is hardware RAID Right? You cannot Windows on a software RAID other then RAID1. Also I would be somewhat worried about using RAID5 on 1TB drives. The error rate may mean that when you lose one drive, that another will fail before it is replaced and a resync is complete. zdnet.com/blog/storage/why-raid-5-stops-working-in-2009/162 –  Zoredache Aug 24 '11 at 19:13
    
Good point. I think my RAID card will support RAID 6-- So I will go with that if I can. –  SLY Aug 24 '11 at 19:46

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Using 3rd party tools to write NTFS filesystems scares me, personally.

I'd copy the contents of the RAID-10 partition to another machine (probably two machines, actually) using something like ROBOCOPY or XCOPY to preserve the permissions and metadata. I'd also make sure I had a good backup.

Then I'd take two backups of the RAID-1 boot volume using the built-in Windows Backup. I'd probably test restore one of the backups to another machine (using the restore functionality built into the W2K8 installation media) just to make sure it's good.

Then I'd reconfigure the RAID on the server and restore the Windows Backup of the boot volume (partitioning as I'd see fit... personally I wouldn't make two partitions but you can do what you want).

Finally, I'd copy back over the data from the backup copy I made of the RAID-10 volume using the same tools to preserve the permissions and metadata.

That can all be accomplished using Microsoft tools only and doesn't use any unsupported NTFS implementations. Call me paranoid if you will.

As an aside: I'd create a RAID-6 volume on those disks but not a RAID-5. That's just too big to trust to RAID-5 and bit-error rates.

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Thanks. But I have some programs like symantec backup exec and WSUS that are installed on the RAID 10 partition. Do you think the system would become unstable if I tried to restore one partition without the other? –  SLY Aug 24 '11 at 19:49
    
@SLY: If you've got apps that need paths under that partition then you'll be stuck either maintaining the partition to keep the paths intact or fighting with the apps. I'd probably maintain the partition, though you always run the risk that, at some later date, your "C:" partition will be too small and you'll be stuck in a backup-resize-restore scenario. –  Evan Anderson Aug 24 '11 at 20:37

If this is a hardware-level RAID reconfiguration (going into the PERC config and rebuilding the RAID volume) as opposed to just a partition resizing, you are going to have to rebuild the server with the RAID-5 config. Doing what you said in steps 1 and 4 will help this go faster though since you can back up the data per-partition and restore it on the new partitions. The OS doesn't know or care what the underlying RAID config is, it just knows about the partitions available to it.

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