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Windows Thread, Transferring W2k3 drive to Raid in Technical; I've got a small W2k3 server with one drive plugged into motherboard and I've bought a hardware raid card and ...
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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Transferring W2k3 drive to Raid

    I've got a small W2k3 server with one drive plugged into motherboard and I've bought a hardware raid card and an extra drive and I'd like to use the raid card to mirror the existing main drive.

    Whats the best way to go about this?

    Never played with Raid before

    regards

    Simon

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    Michael's Avatar
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    There's only one way to do this realistically. Copy any critical files to a memory stick or external hard drive.

    Install the RAID card, and install both hard drives into the card. Follow the documentation how to get into the RAID BIOS. Create your RAID1 array, but to do this will erase all existing data on your hard drive!!!

    Once you've created the RAID1 array, proceed to boot off a Windows CD and install Windows as normal. You may need to provide RAID drivers, as Windows may/may not be able to see the array.
    Once you're in Windows 2003, be sure to install any RAID software as it can provide up-to-date information on the state of your array and also allows you to diagnose any problems.

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    once you have installed the raid cards drivers in windows and let it build the array (dont bother setting up the drives in windows) you could use ghost to clone it from the old drive to the new array (just be aware in my experience ghosting to from an array can be slow)

    edit dddnt see you only had 2 drives total but you could ghost it off to an external drive/network location then back onto the raid array when its built

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    Ive got 2 sata drives plugged into one of my servers and use 2003's disk management to mirror them .... its easy to setup and if you want to add an extra drive to an original single drive the system simply mirrors the new one to the old one .. if you see what I mean. Ive not noticed any performance hit. You might if you have a lot of heavy disc use though ..

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Ive got 2 sata drives plugged into one of my servers and use 2003's disk management to mirror them .... its easy to setup and if you want to add an extra drive to an original single drive the system simply mirrors the new one to the old one .. if you see what I mean. Ive not noticed any performance hit. You might if you have a lot of heavy disc use though ..
    What you're talking about is software RAID, whereas Simon's bought a hardware RAID card, which usually gives much better performance.

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    Yes I understand that ... The performance of hardware raid is always better than software raid... to what degree you would actually notice however will depend on the type of usage of the server and hard drives ... whether you would notice the difference in speed on a server that just has home directories and print services is debatable. My server runs metro electro only and is an old Pentium 3 ... the time in a class of 30 clicking the icon to getting the program is under 2 seconds ... its good enough for our needs ...

    In Simons case I don't know but going the software raid route would be quicker to setup with no ghosting etc.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Just for info, when I bought the server (HP) I was advised not to use the on-board raid as it wasn't considered reliable so I bought a separate card.

    @Michael - I don't fancy rebuilding the server OS

    @sted - I imagine my old copy of ghost would not see the new array when I tried to do the restore

    @brpilot - Well since my objective is to just increase reliability - I'll give it go just using software mirroring.

    What happens with software mirrowing in a fault situtation?

    regards

    Simon

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    Michael's Avatar
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    What happens with software mirrowing in a fault situtation?
    Essentially the same as hardware RAID, you'd receive some notification of a failure I'd presume. I don't know as I've never seen a software RAID array fail.

    to what degree you would actually notice however will depend on the type of usage of the server and hard drives
    That's very true, but it also depends what applications you're using, the amount of memory available and how much load the server's under.
    Comparing software RAID to hardware RAID is very much like onboard graphics and a dedicated Nvidia or ATI graphics card. Onboard graphics uses system memory and is extremely limited especially when you increase the resolution of a game. A dedicated graphics card has its own memory, processor and set of instructions which is more than capable of playing games at high resolutions.

    Essentially basic games you'd get away with onboard graphics, but if you were to install Call of Duty, you'd need something dedicated. So for a home server, software RAID would be fine, but in a proper domain environment serving many users, hardware RAID would be recommended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    @sted - I imagine my old copy of ghost would not see the new array when I tried to do the restore

    regards

    Simon
    generally speaking ghost dosent care much about raid controllers it just gets on and does its thing. Some of teh newer ahci ones can be a bit of a pain but even then i only remember having problems when using win-pe rather than dos

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    @sted

    I might give it a try by just taking an image of orig drive, install 2nd drive on raid card and try restoring to that then - ta

    If that works, then I could give it a go with both of them installed

    regards

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    Out of interest Si, what model HP Server have you bought - not the ML115 by any chance?!

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    HP ML110 AFAIR

    regards

    Simon

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    Im not up on my RAID stuff as never went to RAID lesson 101 so correct me if I am wrong....

    Could you not make an image of the servers main hard drive ( purchase another hard drive ) that way you have 2 blank hard drives exactly the same and then after you have setup the raid image the mirrored raid hard drives with the previously created image of the server hard drive ?

    Also by purchasing an extra hdd gives you a spare one for later on ?

    Not sure how that would work in terms of fsmo roles , dhcp, dns etc but just a thought - if not maybe if you have another computer you can use temporarily and pass those roles onto another machine whilst you are setting up raid on the server.

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    Could you not make an image of the servers main hard drive ( purchase another hard drive ) that way you have 2 blank hard drives exactly the same and then after you have setup the raid image the mirrored raid hard drives with the previously created image of the server hard drive ?
    My only worry in doing this would be that the image cannot boot (due to a lack of a RAID driver), however one solution would be to install the RAID card (with no hard drives plugged in), boot Windows as normal then install the driver (so it appears in Device Manager).

    Now take an image of the hard drive, create the RAID1 array, and then restore the image. The image should boot (in theory) as Windows will have the driver it needs.

    Alternatively my preference would be to do what mac_shinobi suggested. Setup a temporary second server, promote it to a domain controller, migrate all FSMO roles, migrate data, create the RAID1 array, then migrate all FSMO roles back to the newly RAIDed server.

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