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Help with RAID setup please - Page 2

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Another question for anyone who stumbles upon it:

If I have a RAID 5 set up with 3 drives, can I buy another drive and add it to the setup? The reason I'm asking is because I currently have the 3 drives I mentioned above, but they've all got quite a bit on them. I want to buy a fourth drive, move all the data to it, set up the RAID with the original 3, then transfer the data from the new fourth drive onto the RAID configuration, and then hopefully add that fourth drive to the RAID after, so it's not a complete waste.

This is my solution to not knowing anyone with a spare 2TB of space to let me temporarily move my stuff onto it so I can set up the RAID
post #12 of 21
Yep.
I did this last week.
Add the drive to the array, wait for the rebuild to complete and expand your partition.

Then you're good to go with a larger array.
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post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
When you expand a partition, is there any risk of data loss?
post #14 of 21
Nah, it simply moves the "partition end sector" to the last available sector in the array.
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post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerce View Post
When you expand a partition, is there any risk of data loss?
There's always risk of data loss, the point is to minimise that risk. You can take steps such as checking all of your drives to make sure they are healthy and also investing in an UPS if you don't already have one - although most systems are fairly robust, a power failure during a capacity expansion is the very last thing you need.
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post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hey again,

Separate question, but still on the topic of RAID:

Is hardware RAID generally preferred to software RAID? Which would you recommend in my case?
If you use software RAID, for example a small boot drive with the OS on it, with several other drives in software RAID, what happens when the OS drive physically fails (let's say just due to age)? Is all data lost now, because the software RAID was setup on this drive? How is this avoided?

Does it make any sense to hardware RAID 2 small drives in RAID 1 for redundancy, use these two drives for OS operation, and then software RAID all of my larger storage drives for the benefits of software raid in terms of configuration, nice GUI perhaps, user friendliness, etc.?
This seems like it takes an awful lot of drives to achieve, and also now you're dealing with 2 RAID setups instead of one.

I was at first leaning towards a hardware RAID 5 with my 1.5TB drives, and just use this as a giant single partition for everything - OS, storage, etc.
I wasn't even considering software RAID, should I be?

Thanks again,
Beerce
post #17 of 21
Depends on your implementation.

If you use something like Linux RAID with mdadm you can transplant your entire array of drives into any PC that has enough SATA ports (and mdadm installed), assemble and mount the array in 2 commands. Then you'll have access to all of your data.

Generally hardware RAID offers higher performance, although if the card dies you'll usually have to buy one of the same type in order to access your data.
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post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
What if your hardware RAID is on the built-in mobo raid controller and you want to upgrade your mobo? What happens then? I'm sure there's a way around this, since people are upgrading every year or two and I would assume don't sacrifice their data every time
post #19 of 21
'Hardware' RAID from an onboard controller is kind of a misnomer.

1) It uses your CPU to do any type of calculation, which basically throws it into the 'software RAID' category.
2) If you upgrade your board you generally have to find a similar chipset to support your array, otherwise you're looking at temporarily offloading your data onto another platform while you rebuild your drives onto the new controller.
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post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
You're the man beers, thanks for all your help here.

I wasn't sure about the terminology there, I assumed a motherboard raid controller included its own processor, etc.

So I think my best option is to go with the pci raid card and pure hardware raid. This way my limitation is if the raid card itself fails, in which case you say you can normally get a similar type of card in order to retrieve your raid?
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