Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

  • Dave

    As we migrated from V1 to WHS 2011, many of us have turned to RAID in one form or another to handle our storage needs.  Specifically we have implemented various forms of RAID 0, 1, and 5 in our systems.  Depending on the controller you are using, many of these RAID configurations can be expanded and some can even be reduced.  The big question is what is involved, how does it work, and most importantly, was it successful.


    As most of you already know, I have chosen to use Highpoint controller cards in my builds.  It is not so much that they are the best in the business, but rather fit the price/performance that fits the average budget.  My experience with various motherboard controllers was not great so I leave that for standard mirror configurations.  For a RAID 5 I find it safer, faster, and more portable to use a controller card.


    That being said, we are back to the burning question, how do I do it?  For starters, and this is very important, make a backup of all your critical data before you attempt this.  Doing anything like this always contains a certain amount of risk and you need to protect you critical data in case something goes wrong.  The video below will walk you through the basics using a Highpoint 2680 card and will expand a 4 drive (6T) RAID 5 array to 8T by adding one 2T drive.  I learned a lot from this experience so please review the video as well as the lessons learned section before trying this on your own system.  RAID 5 is very easy to create and setup, but expanding it was a bit more unnerving so please remember to backup before you attempt this.  With a bit of prep and a bit of understanding, it turns out to be a very robust process and like anything else, after you do it the first time it becomes a pretty painless process.  Hope you enjoy and as always, post your comments and questions in the forums.

    Expanding Your Raid 5 Array



    Key Points and Lessons Learned

    • Make sure that you test the hard drive that you want to use before you attempt to expand your array.  In my first round with this, I found that after my expansion was complete that the drive I had just added showed critical due to the number of errors.  Had I tested the drive first, I would have saved numerous hours and a lot of grief.  Put the drive you want to use in a stand alone system and test the drive before committing it to the array.  Look closely at the SMART data and make sure the drive is functioning correctly.  This is also good advice if you plan on having a drive around for a spare as well.  You want to make sure that your spare is in good working condition.
    • The expansion process is a background process and can take significant time to complete depending of the size of the new array and of course  the controller you are using.  You should be able to use the system and copy files around while this is happening but performance will be degraded until the process is complete.
    • It appears (unverified) the sector size is created automatically based on the drives native format.  Unlike the choice you have when you create a new array, you can not choose the sector size when you are expanding/migrating (at least on the Highpoint controllers).  If your array get changed from a 4K to a 512 byte, the time can be 2-3 times longer than if it retains the same size.  My initial array using EADS drives was originally created with 4K sectors (the drive is 512 native).  When I expanded the array, their software automatically converted the array to a 512 byte sector size and it took nearly 90 hours to complete vs the 28 hours on an array with no sector conversion.  Although not a real issue, had I know this when I created the original array I would have save a lot of time in the expansion process.  Now that it is the correct size, it should be much smoother to expand the array further.



    On my first attempt to expand the array, the performance of the array had degraded significantly form the original benchmark I had taken prior to the expansion.  At first I thought it was the expansion process itself or possibly a fragmentation issue, however it turned out to be simply a bad drive.  If you review the bench mark below, you will see a huge degradation of performance especially on the write performance which was attributed to a defective drive.  The drive I added turned out to have thousands errors and according to SMART was corrected, but in the end it still showed that it exceeded the number of recommend errors.  Note that despite this degradation, the data was still intact.  Because it is a RAID 5 I could have pulled the bad drive out and replaced it with a new one, and the array would have rebuilt automatically.


    ATTO  on RAID after rebuild  Bench after raid expansion




    On my second attempt with the correct sector size and using a good drive, the results were much better and performance was on par with the original array which is what you should expect.  After the learning experience of the first couple of times, this last round was much easier and faster.


    ATTO  on RAID after rebuild  Bench after raid expansion-Good Drive


    When is comes down to it, if you do a bit of planning upfront and test your drive before you attempt this process, expanding your array seems to be somewhat straightforward.  As with anything new, there is always some hesitancy and fear but in the end, if you have good drives you will be happy the result.  Now that I have done it a few times I can say that I found the process to be pretty robust despite running into some initial problems.  The expansion process did a great job in keeping the data intact and I feel better knowing that I can expand my array if I need more space….


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Do you have any suggestions how to test the drive for functionality before adding it to the array? Repeated surface scans for a day or two or is there maybe a smarter way?
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    In my case, just putting it in, partition and format and read the smart data is it would have taken. You are looking for gross issues. You can further if you want but mine was bad out of the box.
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Actually it is but it is the wrong word in this case. Thanks for pointing it out. Voice dictation is not 100%.
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Is this possible using an Adaptec 5805 card? How many drives can you put in a RAID 5 array? I currently have 4 x 1.5 TB in a single RAID 5.
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Absolutely however the process is quite different. This is a high end card and has many more features than the Highpoint that I showed. The capability is in the card but you will have to get a better understanding of their storage manager software.
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Hi PCDoc, Nice write up, I am also using a HighPoint RocketRaid 2760 what I was wondering is did you make any changes in device manager for the Write-Caching Policy for the hard drives? Do you have both boxes checked or only one. Please let me know the setting in disc property. I not seeing the speed you are seeing in the bench mark using ATTO. Thanks for your time, Ray
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I did not make any changes to the defaults. Only the first box is checked on. I try not to tune to much to represent a typical install. What are you seeing for benchmarks and how long have you had the array?
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    nice video. i had the 2720sgl with 8x 2TB in a RAID6. i ended up returning the card after experiencing problems. 2 notable ones are - the drives sometimes don't get detected when i reboot and the second, the onboard sata ports had to be set to IDE. i couldn't use AHCI. it's the first time i've used highpoint and it didn't leave a good impression. i ended up ordering a new card from supermicro but it's only software raid support. i wish i saw your video before ordering it, i would've reconsidered the hardware raid specially with the number of drives i have. i'll give the supermicro and software raid a try but i'll go back to hardware raid if i don't like what i see. not sure if i'll get another highpoint card, but i do like their price point and features. just didn't like my first experience with them.
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Great video. One quick question: I like you have a highpoint card and 4x2tb in raid 5. I am thinking of changing the drives to bigger ones (ie - rather than adding a number of new drives, replace a 2tb drive with a 4tb one). Do you know if the process in your video is the same? Is there a software method for disabling the 2tb drive, then removing it, then adding the new drive and rebuilding the array? Thanks!
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Please sign in to comment

    You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

    Sign In Now

  • Our picks

    • RT6600ax tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router   Provide ultrafast and secure wireless connectivity to your home or office with support for the expanded 5.9 GHz spectrum,* combined wireless throughput of 6.6 Gbps, and a secure network infrastructure backed by the intuitive Synology Router Manager (SRM).
        • Like
      • 6 replies
    • I throw this out every once in a while.  Is anyone interested in writing up "semi-formal" reviews here on the forums?  I say semi-formal because they don't have to be pro level, just a good attempt at telling the story about the gear.  Something you have purchased lately.  You don't have to go buy stuff, just incorporate what you have already have purchased.  Hit me up with any questions.  You never know where it will lead!
        • Like
      • 5 replies
    • D-Link has dropped a couple of new products and additions to their lineup of smart home gear.  Hold on because there is a lot of gear!
      Let's start with cameras.  D-Link has new Wi-Fi cameras, the Full HD Pan and Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8302LH) and Full HD Indoor and Outdoor Pro Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8526LH).  These are not just new, and good looking cams, they can now perform people detection and glass break detection.  The new cameras also feature expanded ways for customers to save video, including ONVIF Profile S, which enables custom storage and streaming options to personal NAS devices, built-in storage microSD capacity up to 256 GB, as well as free and paid cloud storage options. 

      This year's camera models include both an indoor and an outdoor model. The outdoor model features a spotlight and siren that can be triggered when motion is detected, deterring potential intruders. The indoor model pans around to give a full 360-degree view of any room and tracks motion. Both include two-way audio. 
      Full HD Pan and Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera is the model (DCS-8302LH), available in Q2, 2020, and retail pricing will be $99.99.
      Full HD Indoor and Outdoor Pro Wi-Fi Camera is the model (DCS-8526LH), available in Q3, 2020, and retail pricing will be $119.99.
      One of my favorite products is Wi-Fi.  D-Link has a whole lot of new products coming including Wi-Fi 6, Mesh, Alexa and Google Assistant integration, IFTTT, Parental Controls, and more!

      There are so many new SKU's that I can't make heads or tails of them!  I'm going to be speaking with D-Link more this week and will sort all of these out. I do want you to see all they are offering and what the release date and projected retail pricing will be.

      AC1900 Scalable Mesh Wi-Fi Router (COVR-1900-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1750-US), Q1 2020, $99.99
      AC1900 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1950-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1755-US), Q1 2020, $99.99
      AC1950 Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1955-US), Q1 2020, $109.99
      Smart AX1500 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X1560-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      Smart AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X1870-US), Q2 2020, $139.99
      Smart AX2400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X2460-US), Q3 2020, $159.99
      Smart AX5400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X5460-US), Q1 2020, $279.99
      AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Range Extender (DAP-X1870-US), Q2 2020, $129.99
      AX1800 Whole Home Mesh System (COVR-X1872-US), QX22020, $269.99
        • Like
      • 0 replies
    • RESET Merch Shop
      Get ya Merch here!  I've created a T-Shirt shop with the famous RESET paperclip. I've pasted that clip on just about everything so you can wear it around town!  Cable bags, Coffee Mugs, T-Shirts, and more. 
      or you can get it it via
      Here is the main design.

      Below is a part of the order that I put in!  

      The Heather Grey above is the Extra Soft version and it is awesome.  I highly recommend the softness!    The "Chili Red" is the Tri-Blend and probably my favorite feel and color.

      This is the Zip-Up Hoody, Heather Indigo, Sponge Fleece, Men's, Large.  In my podcast I couldn't remember what style it was but it is Sponge Fleece. It's REALLY soft on the inside. Soft outside as well. The only problem is with the zip up hoody the logo is on the back. Regular hoody, it will be on the front.
      or you can get it it via
      Thank you for supporting this community. Everything you purchase will help keep the lights on the hard drives spinning.
      • 0 replies
    • OneDrive Personal Vault and expandable storage
      Microsoft's OneDrive has a few new features and options worth pointing out.  Personal Vault and Expandable Storage.
      Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive that can only be accessed with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS. 
      Personal Vault gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files, photos, and videos—for example, copies of documents such as your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information—should someone gain access to your account or device.
      Plus, this added security won’t slow you down. You can quickly access your important documents, photos, and files with confidence wherever you are, on your PC, OneDrive.com, or your mobile device.

      Beyond a second layer of identity verification, Personal Vault also includes the following security measures:
      Scan and shoot—Using the OneDrive app, you can scan documents or shoot photos directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device, like your camera roll.
      Automatic locking—No need to worry about whether you left your Personal Vault or your files open—both will close and lock automatically after a period of inactivity.
      BitLocker encryption—On Windows 10 PCs, OneDrive automatically syncs your Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive.
      Restricted sharing—To prevent accidental sharing, files in Personal Vault and shared items moved into Personal Vault cannot be shared.
      Taken together, these security measures help ensure that Personal Vault files are not stored unprotected on your PC, and your files have additional protection, even if your Windows 10 PC or mobile device is lost, stolen, or someone gains access to it or to your account.
      Expandable Storage
      If you are and Office 365 Subscriber you get 1 TB of OneDrive storage space with all the other Office goodies like Word, Excel, etc.  I know personally that I have gone over the 1TB limit and have always wanted to be able to add additional storage to my account.  Now you can!

      Pick and option and keep on hoarding, errr, I mean saving! Cancel anytime, upgrade at any moment.
      • 2 replies
  • Create New...