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Restoring to a new array?

By georgelee4 ·
Small Business Server Raid array options
Hi, I just took over a network at a small school. I had nothing to do with the set up of the server which took place 3-4 years ago. Whoever set up the server did so by setting up a raid 1 on a 147 gig Seagate scsi drive set. They set up a 10 gig partition for the root, c drive and the remaining space for the d drive, which is used for the data. The c drive has about 450 MB of space left. I have cleared out all that is possible and compressed the drive. I had to stop updating Windows due to the lack of space. I need to make the c drive larger without loss of data. I have good backups on an external drive that is usb 2.0. My school is hard pressed for cash and I am out of non cash options. If I backed up the data to a cheap ide drive in the server and wiped the d drive, can I add 10 or more gig to the c drive, and make the remaining space the d drive and restore from the ide drive without endangering the O/S on the c drive? I have Adaptec 2130 slp raid controller. The courtesy help from adaptec has run out and they charge now. My school has no money at this point to pay them. I have a personal 250 gig sata 2 drive that I could use for this. I checked out Partition Commander Server edition, and they said that with hardware raid their product would do the job, but the school is shying away from the 300 dollar price tag! I know that when it comes down to it, in the face of a failure, money is produced. I am trying to avoid the aggravation. So if anyone can lend me a helping hand, I would appreciate it! I am presently waiting for the delivery of an external floppy drive to create an ASR disc. When I started they didn't have a complete backup that included system state and I have to document everything that should have been properly documented from the start. I know, what's new! Educating the educators is challenging and I welcome the challenge. Thanks in advance!
George

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by georgelee4 In reply to Restoring to a new array?

I had to do a lot of research for this one, especially since my employers were so dead set against spending money. There were no free options. I decided to share the fruits of my labors, since I came across many similar questions and very few answers.
Is your raid controlled by software or hardware? Some partition utilities have limits depending on your answer to this question, and unless you can do a bench test before altering a production server, you may consider the risk not worth taking. In my case, Partition Commander, server edition was a good bet, and a cost effective option, however the system engineer that set it up created a single point of failure for us and the risk, no matter how insignificant was not tolerable. I decided to purchase larger hard drives and perform a fresh install on a new array and restore from a Normal backup that was complete with system state. Though Server grade hard drives are quite expensive. This alternative gave me no risks. I dismount the current array, leaving it intact. I mount the new array, create a driver floppy. Install the O/S and restore from backup. Any problems and I am still able to remount the original drives and I am back where I started. No risk. Mine was a mirrored array and as long as I have one remaining drive I can rebuild it. By using drives from the same manufacturer utilizing the same architecture, only larger, minimizes conflicts, if you can do it. Also, if you do a thorough Normal backup, you can create an ASR floppy by going into your %system root% /windows/Repair/ and copy two files to your floppy: asr.sif and asrpnp.sif and you have an ASR floppy. I am also researching putting an image of the server on virtual pc or virtual server as a disaster recovery option, since turning on the virtual server, and utilizing backups would very quickly reconnect the users with no idea that the real server is down or being repaired! Virtual servers do use resources of the host, so some considerations should be made when looking at this as an option, but if this is not in your bag of tricks, you should check it out! Some enterprises have placed five or six servers on one physical machine host and have found real savings in maintenance down time, electrical bills and UPS reductions, think about it, air conditioning that data room would be less expensive with less heat sources! By the way, once you have a library of your servers, it is easy to transfer from machine to machine if necessary. Some thoughts to ponder while considering your options. I hope this helps someone out there. Let me know if it does.

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