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Need to Change Out Raid Drives for Server

By gexamb ยท 6 replies
Jun 2, 2008
  1. At our office we have a Dell Poweredge 840 server that can handle 4 sata drives. There are two 160 gb internal harddrives hooked up to it. It is setup as raid 1.

    Then there is an external 160 gb hdd which creates a backup of the server or disk 0 using novastor.

    We want more hdd space. I am thinking of increasing the size to 500 gb of usable storage. That means that I need another 500gb hdd to for a raid backup and another for an external backup.

    What setup can i use so that the 2 internal 160 gb hdd's that we do have does not go to waste.

    Is this possible?: setting up the 2 internal 160gb hdds as raid 0. buying a 500gb hdd and setting up as raid 1 to mirror image the 2 160gb hdds. and then another 500gb as an external backup.

    but this would mean that i would have to reformat the drives which has all our info on it and it is time i cannot lose.

    How can i keep the 160 gb hdd that is being used on the server but add more hdd space and have it backed up with raid? if i add another hdd to the server, will this effect how Active Directory manages the users permissions as the added hdd will have more files on it which users will need access to. If i just set the added hdd as shared and give the specific rights to each user as it should be, will the server function properly this way?

    Any and all suggestions will be extremely appreciated. Thank you.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    hum; haven't actually done what I'm about to suggest, but think it over.

    First add the two 500gb and config as a new raid-1 (call this raid-B), get it formatted and then split
    (remove) one of the drives.

    Split the exist 160gb raid-1 (call this raid-A) by taking one drive off line. Move it to the new raid-B and
    rebuild using the this drive to fill the new 500gb. When done, remove the 160gb hd
    and reinsert the other 500gb and rebuild using the one already loaded.
    Effect is to bring the new 500gb raid-B to be fully loaded from the 160gb contents from raid-A

    do some homework here; Now you need to swap the definitions so that Raid-B takes
    the place of Raid-A.
  3. gexamb

    gexamb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    that is a possible solution.

    you think that it is worth it to continue to use the 2 160 gb hdd that we currently have in use if i swap the hdds for 500gb?

    another thought:

    since i will have to clone the server onto another drive anyway, is it possible to have both 160gb hdds in raid 0 giving me 320gb hdd space and then have that array cloned on a 500gb hdd as raid 1. would the 500gb have to be partitioned exactly as 320gb to be able to function as raid 1? is this setup possible?

    also i want to look into having some kind of backup server solution just in case of an emergency or something like that. what would you suggest?

    buying a new server is too much money right now. i was thinking is it possible to use another computer to act as a server if i just plugged in a hdd with a cloned copy of our current server? of course no raid setup would be possible, but just to act as a temporary server. if i took out a one of the cloned raid drives on the server and popped it into another computer with no raid, will it boot? or does it have to be configured as raid?


    is there software that exists that can backup the server over an ethernet connection? we have a small lan network. is there sofware that will maintain regular backups to another computer connected to the network in case of an onsite disaster? im looking around for such software, but if u know one i would appreciate it.

    thanks for your help
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    of course. the proposal noted above would actually do that as a side effect :)

    yea, but raid-0 is a BAD idea (from a recovery point; you lose it all or have to backup ALL and then restore ALL; heck, might as well install a new one!
    that's known as a raid-0/1 a mirror over stripes :( )

    backup of Data is reasonable and several solutions exist, even just a raw copy to
    another media. Backup of the System HD (in windows) is non-trivial imo, as you need
    a system to run the Restore but the system is not available and why you need the
    restore in the first place! True solutions are HD Cloning products like Ghost and Acronis,
    but the target media is the same size as the source HD (or raid) and takes
    a good amount of time. You're not going to do this nightly!!

    that's a pirated solution :(
    This is off-site or remote backup; several products available, just google for them.
    (btw: you need to reduce the data volumn being transported (eg data, not systems) or it
    will never complete :( )
  5. gexamb

    gexamb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    about cloning the server, how is it pirated?

    if the server fails, i need a backup. isnt using acronis to clone the drive essentially the same result? if the server is corrupted, that means it is no longer in use. if i have a back up clone, it is no longer a backup, it becomes the primary. i dont think that is a pirated option.

    anyway, i used acronis once to backup a 200 gb hdd, and it only took about 3-4 hours. i can backup the server nightly, because at this point it is not a lot of space being used. but can i use acronis of clone imaging software over the network? can i clone the image to a hdd sitting on a another computer over the network? i dont think thats possible since the destination hdd should be installed on the the same pc doing the cloning, correct?

    i guess what i essentially need is image cloned backups on a regular basis but need the destination to be somewhere away from the server as in case of an electrical fire, it defeats the purpose of using image cloning.

    another thought:

    if clone the current state of the server and keep it on another computer as a backup. if the primary server fails, i can restore the novastor backups onto the temporaray server, correct? since i have a backup cloned image of the server with an OS and the novastor installed on that clone, i can just restore the backup of primary server that is saved on our external drive onto the backup cloned hdd correct?

    your help has been much appreciated, thank you for your help.
  6. gexamb

    gexamb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

  7. gexamb

    gexamb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    Lets start fresh....

    What would anyone suggest me doing for this scenario:

    I need about 500gb storage for the server that is to be used by almost 20 stations.

    1. I would like to have 2 500gb hdd for the server as RAID1 in case one drive fails, i can easily and quickly boot from the second drive.

    2. I currently use Novastor NovaBackup 8 on our current server. It makes scheduled backups to an external drive. This external drive sits in the server case with the server. In case of fire, all that "backing up" becomes utterly useless. The external rive will burn and so will the internals.

    What options do I have in case of a disaster like a fire?

    I'm ruling out online backups, because our storage is too big to be backed up online. There is currently 120gb out of 160gb used already, but it will grow very fast, and it will not be quickly accessible when needed.

    My suggestion:

    I would like to have scheduled cloned/mirrored images of the server drive to be ripped onto another station holding another 500gb drive. What software allows me to do this?

    3. I can continue using the external drive for local file restores. Until the external runs out of space to hold the backups, then we can upgrade as well.

    4. Hypothetical option:

    The server creates backups with the destination on a local workstation that is far away from the server in case of fire. This workstation will have enough space to hold the backups. There will also be another (2nd) drive on this same workstation. This 2nd drive will hold an clone image of the server OS and files using acronis. This 2nd drive will never be booted unless necessary. My thought is, i can boot into drive 2 and restore the NovaBackup files held on drive 1 to drive 2 holding the most current data, if the primary server completely is destroyed.


    I can use the external to hold the backups, and if needed, will plug the external to the workstation with the Server OS and open up NovaBackup and restore the most current data from the external drive's backup files.

    Are there any flaws that i might run into if I run any of these setups? Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks to all who read and respond. Your help is much appreciated.
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