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  • Cloning Exchange 2003

    Hey all -

    Sorry for a possibly silly question, but I figured it would be better to ask than trial and error..

    My exchange server is sitting on a 80GB system (Raid 1, 2x 80GB SATA).

    My Question is Simple:
    If I Ghost the image of the drives to new 250GB drives should I expect any issues? (and what precautions would you recommend)

    My plan:
    Remove both drives and ghost each drive to the new drive
    (IE: Drive 0 to new Drive 0, Drive 1 to new Drive 1).
    Then reinsert the drives and watch it work ??

    I run a full backup everyday to TAPE and could restore from the TAPE, but I figured ghost would be faster and possibly better?

    My Server is a Windows 2003 Server, Exchange 2003. Dual Xeon 3ghz, 3 GB RAM.

    Thanks,
    Hobie

  • #2
    Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

    Do you not have any additional slots?
    A better option would be to spread the data out over two separate arrays. That will give you a better performance of the server.

    As for whether it will work - that depends on many factors. The main one being whether it is hardware or software raid.
    Furthermore you don't clone each disk, with most products you treat the entire array as a single disk and clone the data back to the array.

    In theory it shouldn't cause any problems, but it isn't something I have done personally.

    Simon.
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
    More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
    Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
    In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

      Sembee -

      Unfortunately the system does have enough room for an additional 2 drives to create another array, I originally was just going to do that and was disappointed when I opened the case.

      The raid is a hardware BIOS raid. The reason I was going to clone both drives seperately was to try and skip the rebuild feature. I figured ghost would be alot faster than the RAID device.

      Since the "server" only has 2 SATA slots how would you recommend I proceed? .. I know.. low end Dell server..

      I have several desktop machines with 4 SATA ports where I could clone it, but the raid would be different.

      Since this is a Raid 1 setup maybe I could install the new drives and clone just one drive to the new array using a secondary controller card?

      Thanks,
      Hobie

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

        If you have the space for additional drives, and a slot then I would get a SATA card that supports RAID and have an additional array. You will see a performance gain if you can move the databases on to their own array and it doesn't put the data at risk at all. A RAID supporting SATA card isn't that much, probably the cost of a hard disk and will be worth it in the long term.

        Simon.
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

          Simon -

          I agree that would be best case, but I cannot add any drives permamently. The case only has room for 3 hard drives and my boot needs to be in RAID, I assume my exchange should be in RAID and I can't make it happen with only 1 open spot.

          So, being I only have the 2 slots for hard drives what would your suggestion be?

          Thanks,
          Hobie

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

            My suggestion would be to add a third hard drive and use RAID 5.
            Gareth Howells

            BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

            Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

            Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

            "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

            "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

              lol, we might be going backwards.. thanks for your suggestion but I cannot easily add raid 5 and that would cause alot more work and I would still need to know a good way to clone it to the raid 5.

              ----

              My server is running a RAID-1, only has 2 SATA ports for RAID to run, the RAID is on the BIOS.

              I currently have 2x80GB SATA drives and want to upgrade to 2x250GB to increase the space, I cannot lose any data and looking for the best solution to clone the system from the current raid to the new 250gb raid.

              I have access to several other client / server machines / hardware to perform the cloning, I just don't know what to expect and was hoping someone might have tried this already.

              Thanks,
              Hobie

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

                Originally posted by Hobie View Post
                I would still need to know a good way to clone it to the raid 5
                Originally posted by Hobie View Post
                I cannot lose any data
                You have a backup, surely?

                Edit: According to your first post, you do. So assuming you actually test your backups, how would you lose data?
                Gareth Howells

                BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

                  Backup / Restore of Exchange is just asking for trouble.

                  The only fail safe method would be a full swing migration. That is a swing to second temporary system with enough power to run Windows 2003 and Exchange for a while. I have a workstation I move around that does that for me when on client site. Single Zeon with 2gb of RAM and a RAID array to protect the data. Does the job fine.

                  The problem you have with cloning is support for the RAID card. Then you have issues with making the partition bigger without putting the data at risk.

                  I always go for the risk free strategy, anything that involves a copy of the data being in a certain place I don't do, anything that means a backup is required, I don't do.
                  So while a swing might take longer, it is completely risk free.

                  Simon.
                  --
                  Simon Butler
                  Exchange MVP

                  Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                  More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                  Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                  In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                  Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

                    Many controllers will let you scale your RAID array. (Not all)

                    For testing, i have pulled 1 80GB HDD out, and replaced it with a 500GB HDD. When the rebuild of the array is done, pull the second 80GB out, and replace it.

                    Note: Read the manual to the RAID controller, to be sure! I will not guarantee anything. I can only tell, that i've seen it works.
                    Best regards,
                    Carsten.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

                      After you scale the array, you still need to expand the partitions to fill the extra space - that's the step that brings the most risk.
                      Gareth Howells

                      BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                      Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                      Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                      "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                      "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

                        In theory I would lose time if it failed, correct?

                        The drive I pulled (the 2nd 80GB) is a good image and could be used to rebuild the original array if things went south for whatever reason during the rebuild on the larger drive.

                        Thanks for the alternate suggestion!
                        Hobie

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

                          Originally posted by gforceindustries View Post
                          After you scale the array, you still need to expand the partitions to fill the extra space - that's the step that brings the most risk.
                          Sorry, your are right - You will still need to resize the partitions.
                          But still an option IMO.
                          Best regards,
                          Carsten.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Cloning Exchange 2003

                            Yes it's definately an option. On our SBS box, we have a single RAID 5 comprising 3 x SATA. Time was it was made up of 3 x 160GB. A fault occurred and we figured that due to the cost of disk we might as well replace them with larger disks, as we were replacing disks anyway.

                            Funny story, but we've never got round to actually expanding the volumes. What with the new filer with a rather sexy terabyte array, and what with the plans to replace the SBS box this coming summer, just never seemed high priority.
                            Gareth Howells

                            BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                            Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                            Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                            "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                            "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                            Comment

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