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Shouldn't it be as simple as unplugging 2 or more RAID drives, and then plugging them into a new machine, going to the RAID controller and adding them as an "existing set".

It doesn't seem to be the case, the little bit of information I have found online advises a lot of caution or to avoid doing it all.

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Talking about Hardware Raid. –  Nick Josevski Feb 24 '10 at 4:44

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

First of all, there's the driver issue. If the two controllers use different drivers, your OS won't boot.

Secondly, different controllers may handle parity XOR calculations differently, or may have their own proprietary data written to the disk to improve performance, reliability, whatever and that data may not be usable to a different controller

Third, if it is the same controller, you should not have a problem unless they are on drastically different firmware revisions.

This is all assuming you are using hardware or fake-hardware RAID. Strictly software RAID done by the OS is portable, but has other issues.

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Tried, never succeeded. Even if you've backed up the controller/RAID configuration, and moved both of the drives to a machine with an identical RAID controller with the exact same firmware revision, and plugged them in in the same SCSI/SATA configuration, etc, you can still have problems, and the very slightest hiccup can make your RAID unrecoverable.

Recovering RAID is a last resort. The proper procedure is to create a new RAID and migrate the data. You'll practically never have problems there.

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Thanks for sharing your experience. Decided to give up on "transplanting" the raided drives. –  Nick Josevski Mar 2 '10 at 10:44
    
does this happen to all raid levels? –  naxa Jan 26 '13 at 22:00

Should not it be as simple as unplugging 2 or more RAID drives, and then plugging them into a new machine, going to the RAID controller and adding them as an "existing set".

It is that simple if you have a compatible RAID controller.

I have done it in the past when moving three 1TB drives (RAID 5) from a 3ware 9650 to a 3ware 9750. However, I called the manufacturer before I did that to ask if the on-disk format was the same.

It doesn't seem to be the case, the little bit of information I have found online advises a lot of caution or to avoid doing it all.

First of all: Caution is always good when handling data. As is having backups.

The real 'problem' is that a 3ware RAID disk might use a different on-disk format than a Adaptec RAID card. Or even different from a different branch of RAID cards from the same manufacturer. Thus you should always check if you can transfer an array from one RAID card to another.

(Do not just try it. If you are really unlucky, it is mostly compatible and you will run into error later. Ask the manufacturer or check the manual. If it does not explicitly mention that the RAID cards are compatible, then assume that they are not. In that case, recreate an array on the new card and restore from backup).


Since you wrote "going to the RAID controller" I assumed a hardware RAID controller. Not software RAID (or pure software RAID or software RAID with BIOS support, e.g. the thing called 'fake RAID'). Just saw your comment confirming HW RAID.

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