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How to resize RAID partition without losing data or rebuilding raid array

RAID offers many advantages over the use of single hard disks, so many companies use RAID array as the storage. Hardware price drops every day making it possible for mangy personals to use RAID. However, the same with single hard disk drive, the free space in a RAID virtual drive also runs out of space especially for system C drive. Is it possible to resize raid partitions without data loss or building the raid array? The answer is yes and in this article, I'll introduce how to resize raid array drives with partition magic server software.

Benefits to use RAID array

  • Higher Data Security: Through the use of redundancy, most RAID levels provide protection for the data stored on the array. This security feature is a key benefit of RAID and probably the aspect that drives the creation of more RAID arrays than any other.
  • Fault Tolerance: RAID implementations that include redundancy provide a much more reliable overall storage subsystem than can be achieved by a single disk. This means there is a lower chance of the storage subsystem as a whole failing due to hardware failures.
  • Improved Availability: Availability refers to access to data. Good RAID systems improve availability both by providing fault tolerance and by providing special features that allow for recovery from hardware faults without disruption.
  • Increased, Integrated Capacity: By turning a number of smaller drives into a larger array, you add their capacity together. This facilitates applications that require large amounts of contiguous disk space, and also makes disk space management simpler.
  • Improved Performance: Last, but certainly not least, RAID systems improve performance by allowing the controller to exploit the capabilities of multiple hard disks to get around performance-limiting mechanical issues that plague individual hard disks.

Common RAID levels

There are many types of hardware RAID array and the most common used RAID levels are RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10 and RAID 01. The raid controllers interface include IDE, SCSI, SAS, S-ATA, etc. No matter which RAID array and raid controller you are using, you can resize the raid partitions without losing data.

How to resize RAID partitions

Before giving you detailed steps to resize raid drives, I should explain more about hardware RAID, so you'll better understand how raid partition resizing works.

  • Data read and write on physical hard disk and software raid (dynamic disk volumes) are controlled by Operating System. On hardware RAID array, data read and write is controlled by the RAID controller which has independent CPU. However, to Windows Operating System, there's no difference, it doesn't know if the storage is single disk drive or a RAID array.
  • You can create multiply RAID arrays with part of disk space of several single hard disk, but in Windows Disk Management, a RAID array is treated with and listed as a hard disk. (Few people create such complicated raid arrays, in most cases, they create one or two raid arrays with whole space of the single hard disks.)

Physical disk partitions

Disk partition

In each physical disk you can create many partitions

RAID array

RAID array

In each RAID array, you can create many virtual drives

It is the same with resizing a physical disk partition to resize a RAID virtual drive. Don't break the raid array, open Disk Management and your raild management utility (from BIOS or Windows application) and find out the RAID configuration.

Disk management

From this Disk Management screenshot, I created 2 RAID arrays, a RAID1 with 2 80GB hard disks, which shows "Disk 0". "Disk 1" is RAID 5 that is created with 3 hard disks. There are 3 virtual partitions C: D: and G: on Disk 0 (RAID 1 array).

You cannot extend C: drive by shrinking drive E:, only volume D: or G: is available.

As RAID array is more complicated than a single hard disk drive, the people who want to resize RAID partition don't know what to do. Relax, don't break the raid array, open the disk management, as long as there is free space in other partitions on the same raid array, you can resize the raid drives without losing data or rebuilding the array, nothing else is required. All files and shortcuts keep intact. In a short time you can change the partition size within few steps. For detailed steps to resize RAID partitions, continue reading.

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