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Combining 2 hard drives on a server

Tags:
  • Management
  • File Sharing
  • Hard Drives
  • Servers
  • Business Computing
Last response: in Business Computing
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March 7, 2012 2:18:40 PM

Hello,

I currently have a file sharing server. We use this server to store any files we need to store, all users have individual folders on this server that they have access to so they can store what ever they need.

I had a 1 TB hard drive installed on this computer, now after a year and a half it has gotten full. There is only 80 GB remaining on the drive. So I wanting to go in and add another hard drive and I've been reading about a "Raid 5". I was wanting to get everyones thoughts on this. From what I've read it combines 2 hard drives and makes it appear as 1 hard drive.

Do you think this will be my best route? If not what do you suggest?

Thanks,

Jacob G.

More about : combining hard drives server

March 7, 2012 2:25:00 PM


If speed is not an issue, simply purchase a large external drive and backup your critical data to it.

You need 3 or more HDDs for RAID5.

You may 'stripe' RAID0 2 HDDs to increase R/W performance.

March 7, 2012 2:35:50 PM

If your a company you need to have backups and some form of redundancy.
I would highly recommend you setup RAID 1 or higher, I would also avoid using RAID 0 (unnested) as it increases the chances of hardware failure and doesn't add any redundancy.
Related resources
March 7, 2012 2:52:49 PM

Jacob,

I would go with "stripe' Raid0 config for the R/W performance as Wise mentioned.

I don't know your System specs but if it can handle a drive larger than 1TB, I would just go larger and transfer your data to the new drive.
March 7, 2012 2:59:14 PM

joedastudd said:
If your a company you need to have backups and some form of redundancy.
I would highly recommend you setup RAID 1 or higher, I would also avoid using RAID 0 (unnested) as it increases the chances of hardware failure and doesn't add any redundancy.


Sorry Jacob, Joe is correct on avoiding the RAID 0.
March 7, 2012 2:59:35 PM

read the wiki on raid, you'll then have an understand as to what people are talking about, raid0 has risks, expect to lose your data.
March 7, 2012 3:00:47 PM

ziuus1 said:
Sorry Jacob, Joe is correct on avoiding the RAID 0.


unless you know what you are talking about, be prepared to watch and learn, you'll learn a lot more that way, and then when you do post something it'll be right.
March 7, 2012 3:01:05 PM

The question about using RAID0 for your data server is this: Are you OK with losing all of your data? Because if the array fails, which is much more likely to happen in a RAID 0 environment, then you will lose all the data on those drives.

If you're storing data for a file server purpose, I would look at going with RAID 1 or RAID 5. Purchase two new 2 TB hard drives and put them in RAID 1, or purchase three new 1 TB hard drives and put them in RAID 5. Even then, RAID is really not a backup mechanism. Yes, it can protect your information and help keep your computer running in the even that a single hard drive fails, but it definitely is not a complete backup solution in the case your entire computer dies.

You need to also be looking into some form of external drive for backup.
March 7, 2012 3:16:58 PM

+1 to choucove, even without raid, expect to lose your data, HDD's are not as robust as you would think and are a single point of irreplaceable failure, mobos, ram, cpus, psus etc. can all be replaced and the data maintained.

Eduacte yourself and then you'll be in a much beter position to understand why you need what you need, until you get it you won't sleep for fear of loss of data.
March 7, 2012 3:40:22 PM


As inexpensive (Yeah. I said it :lol:  ) and fast (even 5400rpm drives) as mechanical HDDs are these days, it's a no-brainer to back up to an external drive -- especially critical stuff you don't want to lose.

Store the external drive off-site, or in a good safe place. You can even 'ghost' your OS/Apps.

While the rewards in RAID can be beneficial depending upon your needs, the simple fact is there are a bunch of desktop drives that, while capable, aren't really meant to function in a RAID environment (and if you closely reads their specs, they will state as such).




March 7, 2012 3:46:57 PM

I had a pair of WD RE2's that were constantly rebuilding their arrays, oddly the Raid1's not 0's. although they never failed.

Can small business server use JBOD's which combined with backup may work well as the drives don't need to be raid capable.
March 7, 2012 4:53:59 PM

Hi :) 

Unless you understood EVERYTHING posted above about RAID...FORGET USING IT...

Its NOT for amateurs...

All the best Brett :) 
March 7, 2012 5:12:06 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

Unless you understood EVERYTHING posted above about RAID...FORGET USING IT...

Its NOT for amateurs...

All the best Brett :) 


+1, education is the best way to decide if you want to use RAID of any type. And it is absolutely not a replacement for a backup.
March 7, 2012 5:34:52 PM

the great randini said:
this will allow you to combine two hard drives to appear like one

how to extend a partition
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590
Basic Storage Versus Dynamic Storage (see the Convert a Basic Disk to a Dynamic Disk section)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314343


There are huge problems with restoring a backup to a dynamic disk, as the dynamic disk doesn't exist until the machine is running in effect. So again be very careful if you do that.
March 7, 2012 8:36:57 PM

I appreciate all the responses! After reading everything I've decided to just purchase a bigger hard drive and just back up all my files and put it on the new hard drive. I'm ordering a 3TB drive.

As far as me backing up my drive will it keep all my shared settings for all my folders?? I've never had to restore a whole drive.
March 8, 2012 5:43:36 AM

depends on how you do the backup, if you do a system and data backup and then restore everything onto the new disk you'll be fine, if you clone the disk you'll be fine. If you just backup the data you won't. The OS stores the shares, not the files and folders.

a good choice might be to keep the OS on the 1TB drive, and then keep the data on the 3TB drive, which would work well. Then an OS restore is just an OS restore and a data restore is just a data restore.

WARNING, make sure your system can cope with a 3TB drive, some systems will not boot of 3TB, but are fine with 3TB as a data drive.
March 8, 2012 8:26:34 AM

I would have just bought 3x1TB drives of same make if possible, create a raid-5, clone the data across to keep permissions and then once everyone was happy, add the old drive to the raid array for extra redundancy. If the data is also critical, invest in a proper backup solution of pay to sync to a cloud backup solution.
March 8, 2012 11:26:09 PM

@OP:

Well, sure, RAID5/6 is probably the way to go, but you'll need and want more than 2 drives to do that with. Of course, if you don't really know what you're doing, do *NOT* "just try" to get it working on their fileserver. The company you work for will undoubtedly be unimpressed if/when you blast away all their shared files in an attempt to add capacity.

My advice to you would be to just add another 1 TB drive, and tell them to use that for new files, for now. Then, pick up a cheap, used server (you can get decent old Dells for a few hundred bucks on eBay - check out used Poweredge 1950's), play around with setting up RAID on it, and once you're comfortable, purchase the high capacity drives to set up a RAID5 array on your current file server, and one weekend, robocopy the contents of your single drives onto your array.

Low risk and pretty cheap. As opposed to high risk and cheaper, but is all their data really worth the few hundred bucks in savings? (No, no it's not.)

Also, what everyone's saying about backups can't be overemphasized. If they don't have backups (and it's a good bet they don't, what with their fileserver being a single drive and all) they will lose all that data at some point, and it won't be coming back. You can pick up an LTO4 tape drive really cheap these days, and the tapes aren't that expensive either, and have real data security. It's rather foolish not to, really.
March 14, 2012 1:58:24 PM

How much are cloud back ups? Whats a good cloud back up that can be trusted and is reliable?
!