Does Win2k8 natively handle hot-swapping of a hard drive?

I have an existing server with 2 hard drives in it that are currently setup in a hardware RAID-1 configuration; they are each hot-swappable. I would like to switch them from being hardware to software RAID-1. If Windows Server 2008 were to handle the RAID-1 for these 2 drives, would Windows handle the hot-swapping just like the hardware solution does right now? (No rebooting, no fancy scripts, etc.)

ADDENDUM: The situation is that I've got a Dell PE 2950 with 6 3.5" SAS drives; there are currently 3 RAID-1 volumes managed by the RAID card. I would like to replace the drives in one of those volumes with SSDs. It appears the consensus is that, even for RAID-1, TRIM isn't supported by most RAID cards. So the next thought was, "what if the OS handled the RAID-1? then it could pass TRIM through". Unfortunately, the next obvious question was whether or not the OS could handle the hot-swapping. And, of course, beyond even that is the possibility that the RAID card won't support both SAS and SATA drives at the same time. ...but these are independent questions, only one of which was asked up above.


Hot-swapping is typically supported in the hardware and drivers; if the controller isn't set to do it, you're asking for problems yanking and inserting drives.

Software RAID normally requires a shutdown and switching of the drives.

  • Sorry, but I'm uncertain how that answers anything. It was already established in the question that the hardware "layer" supports it, and the last sentence reads like, "Maybe. I don't know.", or perhaps a "Maybe. It depends." If the latter, what does it depend on in Win2k8?.
    – Granger
    Sep 6 '11 at 14:27
  • Okay, since you're not going to have the controller doing it, it Probably won't support it. Why are you disabling your hardware-controlled RAID but keeping the card? Sep 6 '11 at 15:21
  • 2
    I couched it in probably because I've seen hardware situations that, depending on vendor and implementation, works when it shouldn't and vice-versa. There isn't a hard and fast rule for it. But if you're not going to run this through the card it's not a good idea to yoink the drive from under Windows, not for a production system. Sep 6 '11 at 15:22
  • Your best bet is to test it under non-production use. It might work. It might not. Entirely dependent on how the drivers and hardware interact, and what works with one vendor and config may not work for another, so I'm not going to tell you to trust your production data with this and then have it fry on you. Sep 6 '11 at 15:35
  • 2
    This is one factor in the cost of pricey enterprise hard drive gear. They take all the uncertainty, responsibility, and accountability out of the situation by providing a known-to-work solution (oft referred to as a "kit"). The alternative, you have to determine what hardware/software combinations work; take responsibility for that solution should it fail, and be accountable for remedying any failures (assuming you've still got a job at that point). It's a mostly simple cost-benefit judgment. For that and more, the best you'll get out of a responsible sysadmin is "maybe" and/or "probably".
    – Chris S
    Sep 6 '11 at 15:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.