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Raid-5 Expansion


FTM
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Hi Everybody,

I gots a Gigabyde quad core main board and three SATA Disks in a RAID-5 array on my desktop. <Because I Can>

Been experimenting with virtualization, have a number of different operating systems installed and the like. <Because I Can> Also, I have a couple college age kids that sometimes back up their equipment to a network drive on this desktop. Stuff like that.

Now, when I was young and simple minded I figured that a half a terrabyte of storage was all kinds. Now that I'm old and feeble minded I can see the end of the line in regards to drive space. So... can I expand a RAID-5 Array without destroying and re-creating the array and reinstalling the OS and all the other stuff that I have installed on this PC?

Inquiring minds want to know.

By the bye, I havbe tried on a couple different occasions to ask this question to Gigabyte USA. On the one hand this mainboard that I got from these folks is a terriffic piece of hardware and I recommend their stuff to anyone that is looking to buy a mainboard. On the other hand, their customer support is really, really lacking. Makes sense, Gigabyte USA is in the business of selling computer hardware at a profit not answering questions from broke-down 'ol engineers for free.

So, if you know how to expand a RAID-5 Array without burning down the house I'd really like to hear from you. Actually, been lurking around the website for a while now and would like to hear from you even if you can't answer this question because it looks like there's a lot of good folks running around and the like.

Anyway, yakatchalater.

Edited by FTM
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It is entirely dependant on the RAID controller allowing resizing or expansion of arrays. Unless this is software RAID or an expensive hardware controller, probally not.

Tell us the method your using to create the array, and the hardware involved.

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My guess is that to increase space, you need to create a new raid-5 with larger disks and copy the files over to it. As for the OS, generally you should keep the OS on a mirrored set by itself, and use the raid 5 itself for storage. This way they are separate entities. In going forward with the new setup use the old disks for the OS and the newer, larger drives for the storage.

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Before you should definitely backup all your data, just in the case something goes horribly wrong.

You need to migrate RAID-5 -> RAID-5 first. This knocks the RAID volume offline and takes about 36 hours or less (i think). The array comes back up and then it re-builds the array automatically.

Then you need to expand the array to fill the unused space, that can take several hours to complete.

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You can only do this if the RAID controller supports this, which is why we need some info on what's being done.

Yeah he hasn't provided us with a board type or anything, so it would be hard to tell what his board support or doesn't

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