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If I have a RAID array and I switch out the controller to a newer controller, does this destroy the array?

E.g. I have 6 drives as 1 RAID0 array. If I upgrade the controller to a different one, but don't configure anything, should I be able to plug the old controller back in and the array would be unharmed?

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6 drives in RAID0 ?! ... i hope you have backup –  B14D3 Jan 12 '12 at 7:00

3 Answers 3

Depends on the controller.

Modern controllers should take over the RAID between models as they store the RAID config on disc and maintain a compatible metabase. Adaptec for example does it so.

Others can be handcoded to accept the old arrays.

Some can not.

RTFM - read the .... manual - is the only solution here. It is documented there. If not, ask the controllers manufacturer.

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The major enterprise-level vendors use a common metadata format across their own product lines - HP, Dell, Adaptec, 3ware, Areca, LSI, etc - but given the criticality, it doesn't hurt to confirm this with the vendor.

You will not find any compatibility if you cross brands, guaranteed.

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I remember being amazing when I pulled some drives from a dell perc volume and plugged them into a desktop with intel matrix raid and it picked the volumes up! However I wouldn't put much weight behind this at all. Unless you are going as described by BeeDee and going to a newer controller from the same major brand, I would take an image of the raid, destroy the raid via the controller, recreate on the new controller then restore the image. Infact I would probably do that anyway. –  Robin Gill Jan 12 '12 at 7:07
    
Hrm, that's very surprising! Dell has rebranded some LSI and other controllers as their own, but... –  BeeDee Jan 12 '12 at 21:24

Generally speaking: No, this will not work, but might work when you use a newer model from the same vendor. The reason is that the on-disk structure of a hardware RAID controller is proprietary.

When in doubt, contact vendors support.

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