The question is simple but so far I couldn't find a single solution.
One of my computers is a data server (photos, movies, music, etc). It has 5 hdds, one is a basic disk is for windows 7 and the other 4 are dynamic disk for data. They are all different kind (small, big, sata, ide) and work fine as a single drive (M: ) as they are spanned Dynamic disks.
Unfortunately, one of these disks is failing, I believe it will fail completely soon. As there are enough free space, I'd like to redistribute the files among the other good disks.
So, the question is: Is there a software able to move data among several dynamic disks (of a same group, of course. in this case, M: ) isolating the damaged hdd?
Once empty, I could change the hdd by a new one.
"Solutions" so far are not applicable. They are moving all data to other hdds or moving all hdds to another computer to check if the bad hdd stay stable.
I could move all data from the bad hdd to a new one with help of some software, but to do this the hdd must be converted to non-dynamic disk.. I'm not sure if this conversion is a simple and safe task. My computer don't has another available sata ou ide connector either.
I've been reading about raids and dynamic disks and I'm really confused. So, as I said, my computer has a Dynamic Disk Raid, a JBOD. I still need replace the failing disk and rescue its data, without destroying all the raid. Or at least save the data on the other disks.
Lots of questions raised:
- What do happens to the raid if I remove the bad disk? Is this procedure allowed? Will it work and only the data on that disk will disappear ? Or it will become offline waiting for the removed disk return? And about the removed disk, can it be mounted again in another computer, to be duplicated to another good disk? This new copy can be returned to the original array, replacing the old disk?
- How could I know what is recorded in that specific disk? Could I choose this data to be copied to another disk? Would be a file in a Raid fragmented among several disks? Or Windows raid is smart enough to keep a file in only one disk, so disk removal could be safe?
- After fixing or replacing the disk, is it possible convert this JBOD array to a Dynamic Disk Raid 5 array, to improve data safety? Was told that DD Raid 5 is a resource hog and I know JBOD is very light to my computer. I have concerns if my athlonXP is strong enough to sustain a Dynamic Disk Raid 5 array.
Besides my computer uses 2 Raid controllers (an on board controller and another pci board) I want stick with Dynamic Disks, for this reason: If I had used Hardware Raid and my motherboard or one of the raid controllers dies, I would need find the same motherboard to replace the dead one, or at least a dedicate pci raid controller with the same chip to get my disk array working again. A new raid controller, with different chip (model or brand) would NOT recognize the old array originally formatted by other controller brand. It would probably say the array was corrupted and would suggest formatting it, erasing all data!
Another reason is: I would need 4 connectors Raid controller to make use of the 4 disks my array is composed up to date. If I decide add more disks, it will be necessary upgrade the raid controller by another one with more connectors. As far I know, is not possible build a single Hardware Raid with independent controllers.
In a spanned or striped volume, if you remove a drive all data is lost. Pretty much makes the other questions irrelevant.
As far as fault tolerance is concerned, your setup is about the worst (IMHO). No offense, but I would never do software RAID of any sort, and if I was doing hardware striping/spanning I would ensure that it was mirrored. It's a lot easier to replace a single RAID controller (discrete or onboard) than terabytes of spanned data. Of course the likelyhood of a controller failure versus a drive failure is miniscule.