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I have a Dell R610 server with a PERC 6/i raid controller sitting on the shelf and was hoping to repurpose the server. Here is what I want to do and the questions I have:

What I want to do: I have 4 600 GB hard drives laying around that I would like to put into the server and use to install Server 2012 R2

Questions:

  1. If I install the new hard drives and want to keep the old hard drives around for testing, can I do this? Is there a way to export the RAID configuration so I can reinstall the drives later?
  2. How do I format the newly installed hard drives so I can install 2012 r2?

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This question/answer set makes it sound like it's totally possible:

Swap entire disk set between Dell poweredge servers

Just read about moving an array between servers, because that's essentially what you're doing (even if it's the same machine). People do this all the time (upgrade, server dies, etc...).

However, get a backup of the existing drives if the data matters to you, just in case. Cause stuff happens.

As for formatting the new drives, I'm not sure what you mean. Set them up with you're desired raid level and then install Windows, which will format them with NTFS (or are there options now?). 4 drives could be used for RAID 0, 10, 5, 6... and more. You pick. My personal default choice might be RAID 10, but that choice would be made based on a number of factors.

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