Upgrading my RAID 5

I have am running a SATA 6 disk 20TB (4TB drives) RAID 5 setup on my Ubuntu media server and I am starting to run out of space. I would like to upgrade to a SAS setup since drives are so much cheaper that SATA.

My question is can I take my hardware RAID 5 setup and move it to my Windows box which also has hardware RAID 5 available? I’m trying to figure out the best way to copy my data off the existing RAID 5 and onto the new RAID setup once I purchase everything needed. I guess one option would be to buy extra long SAS cables and just have all the new SAS drives sitting outside the case while the copy is in progress.

You will probably need to copy all of the data to a different location then set up the drives in the new system and copy the data back.

If you are moving the hardware raid controller along with the drives (ie: it is a PCIe add-on card and not built into the motherboard) you might be able to move everything in place so long as you keep the drives in the same order, however you would still probably want to make a back-up incase something goes wrong.

If you were not moving to Windows I would suggest ditching the hardware raid functionality and switch to a software raid using ZFS or BTRFS. Software raid tends to be better for most purposes, especially if using consumer grade “Hardware” raid controllers like those found on consumer motherboards. Those are absolute trash and don’t really offload any processing from the CPU, basically they have all the downsides of hardware raid with none of the upsides.

Unfortunately I don’t think Windows has anything comparable to ZFS or even BTRFS.

They offer software mirrors and stripes, and Storage Spaces. Certainly doesn’t count as comparable. Do not use Storage Spaces.

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Thanks for the information. I guess I should have added that the moving the drive configuration to Windows was only so that I copy off the data back to my Linux box. I would continue to run everything off my Linux in the end. The only RAID controller I have on my Windows box is on the MOBO like my Linux box.

I am thinking hard about purchasing a Adaptec ASR-71605 off ebay and just installing that in my Linux box. Install my drives and copy everything off the current setup over to the SAS drives that will be running off the 71605. I have 10 drive bays in my case but 6 are being used for my current RAID setup. I would just have to leave the SAS drives hanging out of the box while the copy is taking place.

Anyone know how long the copy would take like this to complete? It would basically be moving 20 TB worth of data over.

If you are planning on using SAS drives then you will certainly need to purchase a SAS controller such as the Adaptec or similar. For the Adaptec controller make sure there is plenty of airflow over the card, my understanding is they run quite hot. If you don’t have good airflow in the case you might want to consider an LSI controller.

Whatever controller you get I would also recommend running it as a straight HBA (sometimes called “IT” mode) and using software raid with ZFS or BTRFS instead of messing with hardware raid. You will get more features and better performance with ZFS for sure and likely BTRFS as well.

Hard to say how long it would take to transfer 20TB it will depend on the drive speeds and how the array is set up. I would assume it would take at least a few hours maybe as much as a day or two.

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