Upgrade parity drive and then each disc in array


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I have a couple of quick questions:

 

Running a SuperMicro 24 bay unraid.  I'm not full but all drives I currently have are 3TB.  I've decided to slowly move to 6TB.  I'm starting with my parity drive.  I've precleared it and am now rebuilding parity onto this new 6TB drive.

 

1.  Can I run a preclear script on a new 6TB drive I will be using while parity is being rebuilt?  (just install into array, or do I need to stop the array (which I now realize I can't do since I'm rebuilding) - I forgot the step I took last night...  I'm old).

2.  I plan to swap out a 3TB drive (that is fully written to) for a 6TB and have the 3TB info be rebuilt and then having 3TB of space.  Can I switch file formats at this time (from reiserfs to xfs)???

 

Thanks for any answers to this.  I just LOVE the preclear script in V6 - thanks so much Joe L. wherever you are!

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1. You can't preclear a drive in the array, but you can preclear a drive while using the array for whatever, including rebuilding.

 

2. Changing filesystems will format the drive, so if you want to keep the files you must move them elsewhere first. This is unrelated to the process of replacing drives. Rebuilds can only rebuild to the same filesystem.

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I converted all of the drives in my 24-disc array to the XFS file system a while back.  I upgraded several drives while doing the conversion and it was a long, painstaking process that spanned several weeks.  I believe this is the process I used, but it's been a while.  You will need at least one new drive to insert in the array, but you could use the parity drive as a data drive for this process instead of using a new drive.  Just be aware that the array will be unprotected during the conversion process if you do this.  If you do not have an extra SATA port available for a 25th drive then using the parity drive may be your only solution.  The last drive left over after converting all of the drives will then become the new parity drive so you'll need to work out the sequence for converting the drives.  If you're upgrading any of the drives with larger ones then it makes the process a little less complicated.  I find that taking a screen shot of the web GUI with all of the drives listed with their serial numbers makes it easy to map the process and keep track of which drives have been formatted and copied and which slots they're assigned to.  You may want to take a fresh screen shot after each conversion so you always have the current configuration available as a reference.

 

This is basically how I performed the upgrade process.  You pre-clear and format a new drive and then copy the data from the smallest drive to it.  If the target drive is one you had previously used in the array you do not need to do a pre-clear.  Just format it as an XFS drive and assign it to an available slot.  If using the parity drive as a target drive, un-assign it as the parity drive and reassign it to a different slot.  When the copy is complete, format the drive that you just copied the data from with XFS.  Copy the data from the next larger (or same size) drive to the newly formatted XFS drive.  Wash, rinse, and repeat until all drives have been formatted and the data is copied.  Assign the last drive in the array as the new parity drive and let it rebuild parity.  There's no need to reformat the parity drive.  Once it's been assigned as the parity drive it just automatically becomes the repository for the parity data, regardless of how it's been configured.

 

I used a program called TeraCopy in Windows for copying all of the data using a Windows PC.  I opened two windows on my PC and navigated to both the source and target drives listed on my network on the TOWER server.  This is where you need to know which slots the drives are assigned to because Windows Explorer only shows the disk numbers (i.e., disk 1, disk 2, etc.).  I just dragged and dropped the data from the source drive to the target drive and TeraCopy takes over and manages the copy process.  It's freeware program that works pretty well.  I'm sure there are similar programs out there, so use whichever one suits your fancy.

 

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I'm impressed how easy unraid has become.

 

I've rebuilt party, and am almost done preclearing a new drive for the array.

 

NOW.  HOW DO I BEST USE IT?

 

I guess I don't see the true value in changing my file system for each drive.  I think I'll leave it all as it...  because...

 

I am now at:  6TB parity drive / (11) 3TB data drives, two of these drives are new enough that they were written in xfs. 

 

I first planned to (one at a time, as I need space) pull a 3TB filled drive and replace it with a 6TB new drive, rebuild data, and then have 3 more TBs of space without using an extra bay.  What I like about this scenario is that I have all the original data backed up on a 3TB drive at work and can use the removed 3TB drive as the additional backup disc for the new 6TB drive that has 3TBs of space to write to(brilliant!).

 

But to change file systems I would have to:  keep the 3TB drive in the array, add the 6TB drive to the array, copy the data from the old drive to new drive (using parity, I would assume), then delete 3TB drive and remove it from the array.  This just sounds like it really gunks up the disc writing to my parity with the copying and deleting.  Wouldn't that be a bit scrambled disc management for the parity drive?

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If you are still running ReiserFS disks, getting off of it should be your #1 priority or close to it.  The author is in jail, it is no longer well supported, and it has some known instability issues.  Yes it's more work than simply moving to larger disks, but it's really important to do so.

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