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I'm looking for recommendations or advice on what enterprise class drives to replace our desktop drives with, and how best to do it. This is a supermicro, 2U, 8 3.5" drives bay machine running linux Centos 6.2, with an LSI Raid Card.

I have this server I inherited, it pretty much holds all our company's critical data. It's a RAID 6 array, but the guy who put it together used... desktop drives, 3.5" 2TB SATA WD Caviar Green's to be exact. We had some problems, but I was able to get it running again.

Now I want to get some real enterprise class drives and replace each drive one by one while the system stays online.

I know I have a LSI hardware raid card with a 2108 controller in it. Also I'm not an IT guy just the guy stuck with making this better.

I'm thinking SATA since the old ones are SATA, but not sure what will happen if I plug in a different enterprise SATA drive to this array.

Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you

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You mentioned it is a hardware RAID controller, but is the RAID volume setup using software, or hardware? If he used desktop drives it would have made more sense to do it in software, since mdadm is more tolerant of some of the Green drive quirks. – Zoredache Jun 4 '12 at 16:54
No advice on hardware, though I would say if it ain't broke don't mess with it. Before you touch this system though you should MAKE A BACKUP and make sure you can restore from it to a working state. RAID rebuilds are disk-intensive, and you don't want to wind up with a bunch of rebuild-induced disk failures and no backup. – voretaq7 Jun 4 '12 at 17:30

You should be able to slowly (one by one) replace each drive. Pull the old drive, put the new one in and wait for the RAID to rebuild.

My reccomendation for a drive would be the WD RE4 or the WD RE SAS which are both enterprise grade drives.

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"Wait for the RAID to rebuild..." Be careful this can take a while with a large RAID partition, at times it could take upwards of a day per drive depending on the size of the array. – Brent Pabst Jun 4 '12 at 16:57

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