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Generally speaking, RAID 5 uses a form of strip with parity to maintain data redundancy. A minimum of three drives is required to build a RAID 5 array and they should be identical drives for the best performance.
With that information in mind, here is an example of how a RAID 5 array would work. Each row in the chart represents a physical block on the drive and each column is the individual drive. The numbers in the table represent the data blocks. Duplicate numbers indicate a duplicate data block. A "P" indicates a parity bit for two blocks of data.
The parity bit shifts between the drives to increase the performance and reliability of the data. The drive array will still have better performance over a single drive because the multiple drives can write the data faster than a single drive. The data is also fully redundant because of the parity bits. In the case of drive 2 failing, the data can be rebuilt on the basis of the data and parity bits on the two remaining drives. Data capacity is reduced due to the parity data blocks. In practice the capacity of the array is based on the following equation where "n" is the number of drives and "z" is the capacity:
(n-1) z = Array Capacity
In the case of three 500 gigabyte hard drives, the total capacity would be (3-1) x 500GB or 1000 gigabytes.
Hardware RAID 5 implementations can also have a function called hot swap. This allows for drives to be replaced while the array is still functioning to either increase the drives capacity or to replace a damaged drive. The drive controller then takes time while the array is running to rebuild the data array across the drives. This is a valuable feature for systems that require 24x7 operations.
Below is the screen shot of RAID 5 helping you get better understanding of RAID 5 visually before you expand your RAID 5 partition.
There're several shining points of RAID 5. The typical advantages are:
Increase of storage array performance
Full data redundancy
Ability to run 24x7 with hot swap
Due to its excellent reliability and performance, RAID 5 is preferred by high-end Windows Servers users, especially Window Server 2003 users.
Generally, the purpose of expanding RAID 5 partition is to maximize the performance of server computers by having more disk space on RAID 5.
Here're two cases regarding computer users' demand to expand RAID 5 partition:
1. I have just added a new drive to my existing RAID 5 and then the RAID 5 seems to be out of place. It's obvious that I need to expand my RAID 5 partition for further usage. Well, easy operation is appreciated.
2. I would like to create new drives to my current RAID 5 array which is, however, too full to hold more disks. I know I need to expand my RAID 5 partition. But I still dare not to operate it for fear that I might destroy the valued data on the server.
You may have come across such situations and have the same concerns. Undoubtedly, easy operation and the safety of data are the key points that IT administrators care about when expanding their RAID 5 partitions. Considering these requirements, EaseUS improved its award winning server partition software - EaseUS Partition Master Server Edition with enhanced compatibility with all levels of hardware RAID, including RAID 5. This program is especially designed to help Windows Server users expand RAID 5 partition easily and safely.
As mentioned above, EaseUS Partition Master Server Edition provides the best solution to expand RAID 5 partition on Windows Server since the data is completely protected when expanding RAID 5 partition with this program and all operations are pretty easy to perform.
Below are the steps to use this reliable RAID 5 expanding software - EaseUS Partition Master Server Edition to expand RAID 5 partition on Windows Server without data loss.
Firstly, launch EaseUS Partition Master Server Edition. Select the RAID 5 partition to be expanded. Then right click it and choose "Resize/Move partition".
Then you can expand RAID 5 partition without data loss by dragging the handle to the partition size you want. Don't forget to apply the operation.
Besides expanding RAID 5 partition with the Resize/Move partition utility built in EaseUS Partition Master Server Edition, you can also repartition your RAID 5 without destroying any data with other powerful functions provided by this program. The features include: Copy partition, Copy disk, Format partitions, Convert partitions, Explore partitions, Merge partitions, etc.