I have an old Hewlett-Packard HP Netserver E60 running Windows 2000. The system has 512MB of RAM, an HP NetRAID-3Si controller, and two 9GB hard disks in a RAID 1 configuration. One of the disks died recently. Rather than get a refurbished drive from HP, I want to use this opportunity to increase disk space on my machine. How can I upgrade my RAID 1 configuration to two 18GB disks without losing my data?

To find an answer to your question, I set up a Win2K Server machine running an array with a NetRAID-3Si controller and two old HP 4GB hard disks. I tested my options for upgrading to two new Seagate Technology 18GB disks. You should be able to follow the same steps to upgrade your configuration.

I began by upgrading my NetRAID-3Si firmware. (At the time of my test, the latest revision was C.02.03, dated May 14, 2001. I downloaded the firmware from http://www.hp.com/cposupport/servers/software/fwnr3si_us.exe.html.)

Next, I attached the two new 18GB disks. I set the two HP disks' IDs to 0 and 1 and set the new Seagate disks' IDs to 2 and 3. I then configured the two new disks as a RAID 1 volume. In essence, I created the same configuration for the new RAID 1 volume as I had for the old RAID volume. Thus, I had two RAID 1 volumes attached to the NetRAID-3Si.

Then, I needed to decide how to copy the data from the first volume to the second volume. I could back up the old volume to tape, install Win2K on the new volume, and do a restore, but that process would take longer than I'd like. I decided to try a software-replication utility and opted to use Symantec Ghost. I was concerned that Ghost would see the individual disks rather than the RAID volumes, but Ghost saw both RAID volumes and handled the transfer without a problem. (Ghost simply detected the information that the RAID controller firmware provided—another reason to install the most recent firmware before you begin the process. If Ghost had seen only the individual disks, I would have tried to configure a new RAID 1 volume and let the controller synchronize the drives.)

I now had two identical RAID 1 volumes, the only difference being capacity. Next came the task of booting from the second volume, which proved trickier than I had anticipated. To my dismay, the NetRAID-3Si firmware didn't appear to provide an option to simply remove a RAID volume, so I tried several different methods before I found a successful approach. First, I deleted the first RAID volume in hopes that the system would automatically boot from the second volume. No such luck: The controller reported an error on the first RAID volume, and Win2K wouldn't boot. Next, I removed both RAID 1 volumes, cleared the controller configuration, and attached only the second volume (the idea was that the controller would read the signature on the new volume and set it to volume 1). I struck out again: The controller detected the new volume, but the signature included the volume order and the configuration for the previous volume.

Finally, I found the solution. I chose the controller firmware's option to delete the existing configuration, then I created a new RAID 1 volume that used the two 18GB disks. These steps overwrote the previous volume signature but not the disks' data (had I chosen the firmware option to reinitialize the new volume, I would have lost all the data on that volume). When I restarted the system, it booted from the volume containing the two 18GB disks.