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Changing RAID Setup w/o reinstalling OS/Apps

  • Hard Drives
  • NAS / RAID
  • Partition
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
January 4, 2011 3:51:40 AM

Hello everyone -

I am not sure there is an "easy" way to do this so I'm looking for a little guidance here.

I currently have 6 640GB WD SATA drives on a Intel controller in RAID 5 on a Windows 7 box

I am not really happy with the performance of the setup and want to move it to a RAID 0+1 setup

The current distribution is as follows of the RAID is as follows -

Windows Disk Manager:

All partitions NTFS

Disk 0 - Boot Disk D: (System, Active, Primary Partition) - 400GB

Disk 1 - App Disk E: (Active, Primary Partition) - 390GB Media Disk C: (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump) - 401GB

Disk 2 - Media/Apps K: - (Primary Partition) 909GB - BackupRAID F: - 878GB (Primary Partition)

The setup was done like this partily to not have to reinstall everything when I installed Windows 7 and partly because I didnt know what I was doing at the time.... probrably a little more of the latter :) 

So heres the deal, I have 2 external drives, 1 1.5TB and 1, 1GB. which looks to be enough to cover all of the data across my drives as they currently sit.

Is there a way to copy my existing RAID setup to the externals in order to backup the data so I can reformat my current raid and set it up to RAID 0 + 1 and then copy the data back to that newly created RAID from the external drives and everything be happy as if it never happend? If necessary, I can borrow another friends drive so as to have 1 physical drive per "Disk" in windows if that makes it easier.

Any help is greatly appreciated - thank you!!

More about : changing raid setup reinstalling apps

a b G Storage
January 4, 2011 3:34:08 PM

You could use something like Ghost or Acronis to make images of your current disks and save them to the external drives, then rebuild your RAID how you want it, partition it out, and restore the images back to the drives. It will take some work, but it's completely in the realm of doable. Now, taking those 6 disks from a RAID 5 to a RAID 0+1 will decrease your total usable space from 3.2tb to 1.9tb. Depending on your total data size, this may or may now be acceptable.
January 4, 2011 10:54:46 PM

Chances are that if you dont like the preformance of the controller you have with RAID 5 you might not like it with 0+1 either. Right now you basically have 6 spindles working for you for throughput. With 0+1 you will effectively have 3 spindles. So while 0+1 may sound better on paper in this application it might even be worse with throughput. Your writes may be a tiny bit faster but I bet its not by much again taking into account the number of spindles. Access times will be about the same comparing RAID 0+1 to RAID 5 for numbers. The biggest hit will be overhead you will lose 2 more drives worth of space going from RAID 5 to 0+1. Do some reading before you change. You might be much worse off than you think if you switch.

If you could spring for it, the best solution would be to do a boot Mirror on 2 drives and a RAID 5 on a third party controller (hardware based). Possibly use 4 drives to keep the cost of the controller down.