How to extend a Raid 5 Array

August 11, 2013 at 12:57:31
Specs: Windows Server 2003, AMD Athlon Dual Core
Hi all, I have a home server running Windows Server 2003, I have 3 1.5TB hard drives in a raid 5 array, I am about to buy a 4th HDD will I be able to just add the 4th drive to the array without having to save all the data onto a spare drive then reconfigure the array with the 4th drive, and copy everything back on it

Thanks


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#1
August 11, 2013 at 13:37:38
What is the make/model of the raid controller?

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#2
August 11, 2013 at 13:40:27
Hello it is just the on board raid controller on the motherboard its not a hardware raid, only software

message edited by Cyberfox24


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#3
August 11, 2013 at 13:44:27
If you have the capability I would suggest to image the server and setup a hardware raid. What is the model of motherboard or machine? Much more efficient and better at error checking/handling. Need to double check a few things on the software raid but will both back later if no one else has posted. I don't see off the top of my head why this wouldn't work for a software raid.

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#4
August 11, 2013 at 13:52:28
The Machine was built by me, it used to be my old PC before I got my Mac the motherboard doesn't support hardware raid, and to buy a proper Raid card is too expensive at the moment, The model of the motherboard is an Asus M2N4-SLI

message edited by Cyberfox24


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#5
August 12, 2013 at 00:51:03
Assuming that you have the appropriate controller on your m/b, you can expand the array: http://www.intel.com/support/chipse... . This will give you additional unallocated space on the disk. You will then have to use Windows tools to resize existing volumes on the drive or to create a new one.

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#6
August 12, 2013 at 07:33:00
FYI your motherboard supports hardware RAID: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M2...

"This motherboard supports next-generation SATA hard drives based on the new SATA 3Gb/s storage specification. The onboard NVIDIA nForce 500 SLI MCP allows RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5 and JBOD configurations for four SATA connectors."

I am assuming you are handling the software RAID 5 with server 2003 and dynamic disks? If so, you can add the drive but you are going to require software like partition magic as server 2003 will not let you extend your new drive into the existing volume if its the system partition. Now for data partitions, you shouldn't have an issue. Is the system partition part of the software raid 5?

http://www.partitionwizard.com/dyna...

I would suggest going hardware RAID if possible.

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#7
August 12, 2013 at 07:50:56
As the OP stated earlier, the onboard RAID on these m/bs is not true hardware RAID. I took it that he was using the onboard RAID (which several people describe as software RAID) rather than Windows software RAID.

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#8
August 12, 2013 at 08:10:03
Not trying to start anything here.. Normally nForce500 series let you configure hardware raid via the BIOS / NVIDIA RAID utility.

Anyways quick look at the motherboards user manual (section 5.4) from here shows that yes, it does support hardware raid: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M2...

Now you may need a firmware update, but it was my understanding the nforce 500 series (and prior nforce4) supported hardware raid out of the box. Its the OP's choice to utlize! GL!

www.standby-it.com


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#9
August 12, 2013 at 08:19:53
I'm with ijack on this one. I've yet to see this level of motherboard (ie: not a server mobo) that had anything but software RAID built onto it. While it works, software RAID is never as good as hardware.

I haven't tried to expand a RAID 5 on a software RAID controller. Your best bet at finding out if this one is capable is to contact the manufacturer and get the info straight from the horses mouth. I'd also ask for a procedure guide if it is possible.

Doing and image of your RAID (if possible) prior to attempting to expand it is also an excellent idea....just in case something goes wrong.

If it were me, I'd spend money on a NAS (I did) rather than going software RAID on an older computer. I have an older PC with an ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe mobio that also has a software RAID controller on it and I bought a NAS instead of using it. The NAS has a hardware RAID and is much more reliable.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#10
August 12, 2013 at 08:24:56
You can get very good performance, and redundancy, by forgetting conventional RAID and using ZFS. This means running Solaris, FreeBSD, FreeNAS, or nas4free (which is the one I chose). It also helps to have plenty of RAM.

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#11
August 12, 2013 at 12:25:18
I have looked in the bios and I do have a Nvidia raid utility but I didn't know that this motherboard would actually do hardware Raid, in connection with ijack I have got a freenas box running that is basically acting as a time machine for the Mac, and that drive is in ZFS the PC that I have my raid on does everything, it is my streaming media server, DHCP, DNS, and VPN server as well as Domain controller. I know I have put rather a bit to much on it's little shoulders but it has been running for a couple of years now and "touch wood" it is fine. I used to have everything on different machines but my elecric company tried to put my bill up as they thought I was a commercial building! but the raid is filling up quickly with Music and Videos,

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