So here's my situation. I have three 1TB disks that I want to set up as RAID 5. One of these three disks has all my data on it and the other two are uninitialized.

I have a hot swap disk that has backups of the 1TB disk with the data on it, and I'm trying to figure out the following: Once I have the three 1TB disks set up as RAID 5, will a full system restore from my backup disk safely bring my system back into working order? What about a bare-metal restore? What's the best way to restore my data onto my fresh RAID 5 setup?

EDIT: I'm using software RAID, not hardware.

Thanks for your help.

  • 1
    Is not using software RAID an option? Because that's what I'd pick. – HopelessN00b Mar 7 '13 at 15:36
  1. Save an image (or backup all data) of your system using whatever baremetal backup/restore application you prefer.

  2. Create RAID5 array on the 3 disks, which will destroy all data on them.

  3. Restore image (or reinstall OS and restore data) to new array.

  4. Purchase hot spare for array.

This is a bare metal procedure.

If this is a server, please do not use software RAID.

  • Will this still work if the RAID is software, not hardware? – bstamour Mar 7 '13 at 15:33
  • Windows Server 2008, as far as I can remember, cannot boot from a software RAID5 volume. – tombull89 Mar 7 '13 at 15:40
  • @tombull89, i believe you are correct, how can it boot from a RAID5 that doesn't exist, and cannot be created without destroying all data on the array to create, kind of a cart before the horse thing. You can only setup a software RAID 5 as a data partition. – DanBig Mar 7 '13 at 15:47
  • I decided to just go with a hardware RAID setup. – bstamour Mar 7 '13 at 16:40

You cannot boot from a software RAID5 volume in Server 2008. What I have on my Server 2008 Fileserver is three disks in RAID5 and then a 320GB boot disk. The RAID5 can be transferred between servers (indeed, I did successfuly when moving from a bargain rackmount case to a Microserver chassis).

You, also, cannot add disks to a RAID volume in Server 2008. You need to backup the data you have, create the RAID5 volume, and then restore to the newly-created RAID5 volume.

What I would do is buy another disk and use that as a boot volume, then use the other disks as your data store. Or look at buying a hardware RAID card that supports RAID5.

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