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Upgrading existing WS2012E RAID?


Jason
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I have (2) RAID5 arrays in my WS2012E box running off an Adaptec 5805 hardware RAID card.

 

- Array 1 - 4 x 1.5 TB HDDs (7200 rpm)

- Array 2 - 4 x 2 TB HDDs (5400 rpm)

 

Am going to upgrade 'Array 1' to 4 x 3 TB HDD (WD Red drives). What is the best way to go about this?

 

Should I copy all the data from shares on Array 1 to an external HDD then remove the 4 x 1.5 TB HDDs and create a new RAID5 with the WD Red drives? Not quite sure how to preserve the \serverfolder structure on my Array 1 with existing user permissions to each share.

 

Has anyone done this before? What's the cleanest way to do it?

 

Thanks for any insight.

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Hmmmm, I wonder if a partition management program might be a good tool in this case. The only thing is you would have to be able to have the old array and the new one online at the same time. Then, perhaps a program like EaseUS Partition Master could be used to completely copy the old partition to the new array and extend the partition to use up the whole array.

 

Just a quick thought....

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Your plan is pretty much what I would do, but I would use some syncing software. I would kill the permissions copy the data, and recreate when you are done. Painful but it will work.

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Your plan is pretty much what I would do, but I would use some syncing software. I would kill the permissions copy the data, and recreate when you are done. Painful but it will work.

 

Thanks pcdoc. I am preparing to go this route. However wanted to get your thoughts before I pull trigger. As I mentioned, I currently have (2) RAID 5 arrays running off of my Adaptec 5805 hardware RAID controller. Each array consisting of (4) HDDs each.

 

Array 1 - 4 x 1.5 TB HDDs (older seagate 7200 rpm) - run hot. plagued by failures.

Array 2 - 4 x 2 TB HDD (Samsung F4s 5900 rpm) - run cool. had good success.

 

My plan was to:

 

1.) copy (sync) all data from Array 1 to an external HDD

2.) retire all (4) seagate HDDs. they're old, run hot and I have wanted them gone for some time.

3.) create new RAID 5 based on 4 x 3 TB WD Red 5400 drives (new) as 'Array 1'

4.) copy (sync) all data back from external HDD to 'Array 1' (WD Reds)

 

Questions:

- if it were you, would you create the new Array 1 as RAID 6 instead of 5? (has crossed my mind)

- if the Adaptec 5805 RAID card can handle (8) HDDs directly attached (which I currently have, only they're split across 2 Arrays), would you still keep as (2) separate arrays OR get 4 more WD Red drives and create 1 RAID array now and increase size by adding additional drives?

 

Sorry, I know that's a lot, but I've been leaning towards getting 8-10 WD Reds anyway but, if so, wanted to do it in phases (4 now, then add 4 later as prices drop).

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...snip...

 

Questions:

- if it were you, would you create the new Array 1 as RAID 6 instead of 5? (has crossed my mind)

- if the Adaptec 5805 RAID card can handle (8) HDDs directly attached (which I currently have, only they're split across 2 Arrays), would you still keep as (2) separate arrays OR get 4 more WD Red drives and create 1 RAID array now and increase size by adding additional drives?

 

Sorry, I know that's a lot, but I've been leaning towards getting 8-10 WD Reds anyway but, if so, wanted to do it in phases (4 now, then add 4 later as prices drop).

 

OK then advantage of RAID-6 over 5 is that you can afford to loose two disks and still keep all of your data as opposed to just one in RAID -5. However the added overhead of calculating the parity means that RAID-6 will certainly be slower at writing data, it might be fractionally faster at reading but that's dependant on how well the raid controller handles things. In the event of a disk failure and replacement, the rebuild is faster with RAID-6 than 5. You are also loosing the capacity of another disk.

 

The best thing would be to first sit down with a piece of paper and plan out how you want to structure your data, how big each folder is likely to grow in the next few years and how many disks you have to play with.

 

Bear in mind that RAID-1 mirroring is always faster than RAID-5 but you loose 50% of your capacity

 

In your case for example you have 4 x 1.5 Gbyte disks in raid-5 giving you 4.5 Gbytes of storage (you loose one drive for parity), replace them all with 3 TB drives would give you 9 TBytes in RAID-5 or 6 TBytes in RAID-6 (but you would be better off with a mirrored strip or RAID-10 which would give you that same capacity-roughly but be much quicker).

 

Expanding an existing array is always a bit hit-and-miss, you really are in the hands of the gods here, I have seen systems where the controller faithfully claims to be able to add an additional disk to an array and then promptly eats all the data and metaphorically shrugs its shoulders as if it say 'well it's your fault for not having a good backup anyway'

 

Personally I'd keep two separate RAID-5 arrays for the data, or if you can afford it a single RAID-10 for best performance at the expense of capacity though. Really though there is no best answer, it depends on how much data you have, how it is structured and how much trade off between performance and capacity you are willing to tolerate.

 

It has just occurred to me that I have no idea if you card supports RAID-10 so most of the above might be moot anyway.

 

John

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Just to touch on jem101's comment about backup. Anyone who loses data in a situation such as yours has no one but themselves to blame for the data loss. A robust backup solution is a must-have AFAIC, I personally have 4 to 5 copies of every piece of data, 1 of them always offsite. That may seem like overkill, but I haven't lost data in over 2 decades so........

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I would definitely make it two RAID 5 arrays as I do not like the thought of one large array. With one array, if something goes wrong everything is affected.

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Appreciate everyone's insight. For starters, I'm not relying on my current RAID 5 arrays as a backup scheme. Rather a way to maximize data availability and system uptime. Faster read/write performance hasn't been much of a consideration since playback of HD content via gigabit LAN hasn't been hampered by RAID 5 disk performance. Any critical data on the RAID is being backed up to both a local, external HDD as well as the cloud (with the exception of HD movie rips). Also, I've steered away from RAID 6 so far to reduce the amount of available storage space lost to parity. Also, I've separated my 8 drives into 2 arrays (4 and 4) so that I can encode and do other I/O intensive tasks on one array without negatively impacting HD playback from my second array (on my HTPC).

 

Furthermore, RAID 5 has proven effective for me in 2 cases that I can recall where I was able to swap out a drive and rebuild within a relatively short window of time.

 

I would definitely make it two RAID 5 arrays as I do not like the thought of one large array. With one array, if something goes wrong everything is affected.

 

Thanks for the recommendation. I agree w/ you here. This is another reason why I've divided my drives into multiple arrays so far. One array primarily hosts large HD content (BD rips, ISOs, etc.). Whereas the second array is for general use (file shares, frequently accessed data, apps, photos, etc).

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How do you determine the appropriate stripe size for a Raid 5 array? My adapted 5805 card defaults to 256 KB. I've left it on this default even for my Raid 5 array housing larger movie files. Such as 8 GB MKV bluray rips and larger full BD rips. Wasn't sure how noticeable an impact stripe size has?

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