Expanding a RAID5 array without losing data

One of my remote offices was getting a little low on drive space on their data partition, so it was time to upgrade the existing drives to large capacity drives. This particular server is a Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard SP2 on a Dell PowerEdge 2950 with six 146GB SCSI drives and a PERC 5/i integrated controller. Drives 0 & 1 are configured RAID0 for the system partition and drives 2-5 are configured RAID5 for the data partition. Six internal drives are all the server is capable of, so I have no empty slots for additional drives to expand the RAID5. So replacing the 146GB drives with 300GB drives is the route I took to add additional space to the array. Here are the steps:

1. As always, make sure you have a good backup of the server in case things go wrong.
2. Remove drive 2 and replace it with one of the new 300GB drives.
3. Wait for the array rebuild to complete by watching it in Dell OpenManage Server Administrator.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for the remaining 3 drives.
5. Once the four drives are replaced, restart the server and hit Ctrl-R when prompted to enter the BIOS of the PERC5/i.
6. Write down all of the settings for the existing RAID5 configuration, i.e. stripe size, read ahead cialis generique pas cher.
7. Deleted the RAID5 virtual disk and then recreated it with the new 300 GB drives, making sure to match the settings of the old virtual disk and be extra sure that the option to initialize the disk is NOT selected. If the disk is initialized, you will lose all of the data and will have to restore from your backup.
8. Reboot the server and allow Windows to load. Once the OS comes up, login and verify that all of the data is still intact.
9. From a command prompt type diskpart.
10. At DISKPART> type list volumes and locate the Volume # of the volume that you want to add the additional free space to. In my case it was volume 1.
11. At DISKPART> type select volume 1.
12. At DISKPART> Type extend.
13. At DISKPART> Type exit and close the command window.

Your RAID5 should be expanded with all data intact.

One thought on “Expanding a RAID5 array without losing data

  1. I followed the instructions and replaced a RAID 5 consisting of 4 750GB drives with 4 2TB drives on my Dell 2950 running Server 2008. It took almost a day for each of the drives to rebuild. It worked as perfectly!! Thank you so much.

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