I installed a newly purchased NAS yesterday afternoon that includes a PERC H700 and 6x2TB hard drives in a RAID 5 array. The status of the virtual disk, which came pre-configured from the factory, is Background Initialization. How long will the Background Initialization process take to complete? It's been running about 18 hours so far. Will it be faster to initialize this virtual disk another way?
As a side note, I intended for one of the drives to be configured as a hot spare, but Dell included it the RAID 5 array instead. So, I am thinking I will have to re-configure the virtual disk anyways.
Using 2TB 7200rpm drives in a large raid 5 will take a long time to initialize. However, a background initialization doesn't prevent you from starting to set it up.
If you currently have a 6-drive raid 5 (w/o a hotspare) and you want to change to a 5-drive raid 5 (with a hotspare) you'll indeed need to recreate the raid set.
One note: unless you change the bios to UEFI, you cannot boot to a virtual disk larger than 2TB (or you won't be able to use more than the first 2TB (2048GB) of that disk at least). UEFI does require an OS that supports this; Windows 2008 x64, Windows 2008 R2 (always x64) or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (there will be some non-supported linux distros too that support UEFI, but I figured I'd keep the list to only OSes that Dell supports on a server that shipped with an H700.