Adding capacity to RAID5, all ports full

Hey all,

I have a question that I could not find an answer to after a bunch of searching, so please forgive me if the answer is staring me in the face.

I built a file server a while back for all my movies/music and file backups below is a list of the hardware:

Abit MATX motherboard
36Gb WD Raptor HDD (for OS only)
four WD 750GB HDD's (in RAID 5)
Highpoint Rocketraid 2310 RAID controller (4-SATAII ports, PCI-e 4x)
500W Silverstone PSU

The Rocketraid RAID controller I have has four SATA ports, and each port is attached to a 750Gb HDD. In the RAID5 array, this gives me a total capacity of 2TB. A year + after building it, it is now 85% full. I want to increase the capacity.
I researched OCE (which this card does support) both in the user manual and online, but it seems that this function is for adding capacity only by adding disks to unused ports. Since the server does not have the physical space for more drives, and all of the ports are being used on the card, would I be able to replace all the drives with 2TB HDD's? I think it should be possible to:

Remove drive 0, replace with new 2TB HDD, rebuild array.
Remove drive 1, replace with new 2TB HDD, rebuild array.
Remove drive 2, replace with new 2TB HDD, rebuild array.
Remove drive 3, replace with new 2TB HDD, rebuild array.
Once array is rebuilt with new disks, increase partition size to 5.5TB.

Am I way off base? Please let me know if there is any other way to increase capacity other than building a whole new server and transferring the data. Thanks in advance!
3 answers Last reply
More about adding capacity raid5 ports full
  1. Best way is to borrow some extra storage.
    In theory you can be a "smart ass" and and manage with what you got but i dont recommend i don't even want to suggest it.
    64 bit OS with that array is the way to know that right?
    If you still want to take a chance, let me know.
  2. Hey guy, You are right. The OCE for adding capacity can be only by adding disks to unused ports. Therefore your way is not feasible.
    I suggest some way for you. First you must use some extra storage to backup your data. After you can:
    If you use:
    1. Windows 2003 with sp1 and later
    2. Windows Vista. (all version)
    3. Windows XP(64bit)
    Then you can direct create a new RAID 5 in WebGUI.
    If you use:
    1. Windows XP(32BIT)
    2. Windows 2K
    3. Windows 2003 without sp1
    Then you need to set RAID sector size to 4K VSS (Variable Sector Size) to create new RAID 5 in WebGUI.
    (How to Setup and Configuration of VSS with HighPoint Web GUI in below:
    The Variable Sector Size only designed for Data RAID Array or non-bootable RAID array.
    Variable Sector Size Manual in below:
    Finally you must transferring your data to new RAID 5.
  3. unfortunately i have done this process many times. i started my raid5 array with 80gb drives on a 4 port card, moved to 200's, then to 400's, then to 750's and now finally i have 8x1.5tb drives on my 8 port card. in all those times i have tried to migrate, tried to manipulate, tried to cajole and trick my way into making it do what i wanted. but finally the truth IS that you just need to copy all the data from your existing drives to another and then create the new array and move your files to it. in practice since you're moving to a much larger drive size, you can use a single one of your new 2tb drives hooked to your motherboard directly or though another standard controler card (non raid or otherwise, no matter) or even hook it up with a USB adaptor for a short time just for this process. copy all your files to teh single drive. setup your 3x2tb drives in your new raid5 array and copy the data from the single 2tb drive to your new array. THEN finally you can hook that drive up to your raid card and expand your new array to include that 4th 2tb drive without needing to move any data.

    if you are using a non Server OS you need a 64bit operating system in order to utilize a 2.2TB or larger drive. remember to format the new large HD with the GUID filesystem and not NTFS in order to see more than 2.2TB
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