Our domain server/file server has a RAID 5 setup with (3) 450 GB drives configured as 900 GB disk, which is broken into two logical partitions a 25 GB boot partition and an 875 GB storage partition.

A while back we we reaching capacity so I added a 1.4 TB drive in the 4th drive slot for storing archival data that we don't need read/write access to. It was a good stop-gap but were are approaching capacity again. I would like to replace the 450 GB drives with 1.5 TB drives. We use DriveXML for backing up our desktops. Can I use that to back up the server, swaps the disks and then recover to the new array? Then can I re-size the storage partition to use all the remaining blank space?

We are running Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, the RAID array is hardware RAID running off an Intel motherboard with the Intel Matrix Storage Console for managing.

Is there a simpler method? Should I consider replacing the whole server at this point?

  1. If your test restores have been successful, building and restoring to a new array using larger disks should work fine.

  2. RAID 5 is not recommended for such large disks. The chance of an unrecoverable read error during rebuild is high. You may wish to consider using RAID 6 or RAID 1+0 across 4 disks.

  3. Integrated Intel Matrix RAID is not enterprise-grade and I do not recommend it for anything other than RAID 1, and then only in small business applications. If you do not decide to replace the entire server, please at least consider getting a controller.

  4. Windows Server 2003 is no longer in mainstream support. Unless you have a legacy application that does not play well with Server 2008 R2, this is a good opportunity to upgrade at least the OS and probably the server hardware as well.

  5. It sounds like you are constrained by the limited number of drive bays in your server. This is causing you to make unusual decisions like adding non-RAID capacity to a server and contemplating stripping out your system RAID volume to make room for larger drives. You clearly need to consider a new server as an option that could reduce risk and eliminate wasted time and effort.

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