Reading single drive of raid 1 set of 2 (win server 2008)

I have an old HP microserver, with 2 individual drives, and one set of 2 set up as a raid 1 drive. Running Winserver 2008 R2.

It’s a very old server now, I just need to backup the necessary parts of the storage and then put it to some other us. Because copying this amount of data over gigabit ethernet will take weeks, I’ve taken out the drives, put them in an external usb 3.1 enclosure and on a W7 client I’ve copied the data over to another drive.

That worked fine for the single drives. But the raid 1 drive reports as an invalid drive. It works fine in the server itself though. I distinctly remember asking online if I could read those raid 1 drives as a single drive in another windows machine, in case of an emergency, and got a positive answer. Being stupid back then I never actually tested it.

So is it possible to connect this (SATA) drive that is one of a pair of Raid 1 to another machine and read it there? What do I need to do to make that work? It would literally save a week in copy time.

RAID 1 duplicates the data onto both disks, the problem usually is that the array will only work alone when connected to a compatible RAID controller e.g. the one that was used to create the array. So you are kind of stuck using them with only that server - or a machine with a compatible controller that can import the array.

However, if you have gigabit Ethernet then I don’t really see a problem. A typical SATA disk isn’t that much faster than a gigabit network…

Assuming your RAID 1 disks have 4TB of data on them (and I assume you couldn’t have any more than that using 2 disks on such an old machine) it should only take about 10 hours to transfer 4TB of data across a 1Gbps Ethernet (assuming max transfer rates are achieved). Typically spinning SATA disks average approx. 150MB/s transfer speeds. So at best a 4TB copy would still take 8.5 hours. If your RAID 1 array works well you might get higher transfer rates for sequential reads, but probably not much more than 250MB/s.

Remember just because the SATA III interface can achieve 600 MB/s only SSD’s can get anywhere near that. At such speeds 4TB would still take over 2 hours to copy.

So all in all you should be fine using your 1 Gbps Ethernet. I recommend you use Robocopy rather than drag and drop though :smiley:

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Thanks for your input! Makes sense that the Raid controller is important, however, this is Windows software Raid on the standard SATA controller of that server (which I believe has an AMD chipset, but not using the chipset Raid). I unfortunately do not get near gigabit speeds on that server, the onboard controller is garbage I think. And it’s all tiny files of just a few 10-100KB. It works a LOT faster directly attached.

So, I need to somehow configure Raid 1 on Windows 7 to get it to accept this disk? If I get both attached at the same time, that might work, but I do worry then about destroying it altogether :slight_smile:

Edit: so, in the end it wasn’t the drive or Windows, it was the fact I put it in a USB 3 external case. Plugging the drive directly into the SATA controller made it show up as Foreign, and I could import it. Dynamic disks seem to have issues with SATA to USB bridges.