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-   -   Opinions on my RAID idea? (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/storage/3664-opinions-my-raid-idea.html)

donimo December 13, 2007 10:49 AM

Opinions on my RAID idea?
I went almost 20 years without ONE computer problem, that's righ, not ONE, but in the last year I have lost 2 hard drives.

I did back up most of it, but I lost about 3 months worth of pix, and the 3 months were around xmas/new years, ouch.

I do back up to an external HD of my pics and docs I consider essential, so 100% redundancy is not needed, but it w ould be nice if a HD chunking wuoldne automatically mean its all gone.

I bought an xfx 680i LT and have 2 identical WD 250gb sata drives. I reasearched what I could and heres what I came up with:

RAID 0 : not for me, same risk as single drive, increased speed

1: also not for me, lose a whole drive to redundancy, too much overhead

0+1: need 4 drives, make me feel safer than other choices with speed boost along with it, but $$

5: This is the one I think I will go with, ability to rebuild without loss (not 100%, but still), speed boost, only lose part of one disk in capacity, only have to buy one more HD

Please rip it apart, I mean offer constructive critisism :)

donimo December 13, 2007 10:50 AM

Also, am I correct in assuming I need to make my descision before I start building?

enaberif December 13, 2007 10:52 AM

0+1 is your best bang as it gives you the best of both worlds and yes you need to build the array before being able to do anything.

donimo December 13, 2007 11:20 AM

So, raid 5 vs raid 0, pros and cons?

seems that 5 is almost as good as 0+1 but saves me buying a 4th drive, and both have the same capacity, with 5 maybe more?

3.0charlie December 13, 2007 11:27 AM


Originally Posted by donimo (Post 30179)
So, raid 5 vs raid 0, pros and cons?

seems that 5 is almost as good as 0+1 but saves me buying a 4th drive, and both have the same capacity, with 5 maybe more?

Don't know much about Raid, but this is an interesting acticle: RAID - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Nested RAID levels - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

donimo December 13, 2007 11:50 AM

Read them both, thanks though! I was needing some "real world" opinions, reviews and articles only say so much to me, I suffer from analysis paralysis.

How about I do a raid 0 on the 2x250's for the OS and games, and buy a 500gb for vids etc...?

b1lk1 December 13, 2007 01:17 PM

RAID 5 is what you want. I am going to do that very soon myself when I get some spare cash. 1 drive can die completel and you still have all your data.

donimo December 13, 2007 01:49 PM

What about running the OS off an IDE 20gb 5400rpm maxtor?

are they noticbly worse than a sata 2 7200rpm?

just an idea...

Jack Rabbit December 15, 2007 01:33 PM

I think running the OS off a 5400 RPM drive would be bad. I can feel the difference between the different drive speeds.

RAID is not a backup solution and, based on your description, not the best option for you. RAID for performance is a good idea for the consumer but RAID for redundancy is not there. Yes, if one drive fails your data is not lost yet but the real industry drive for this is to speed recovery time from a hardware failure. How much does it cost in lost revenue or productivity to have a server or workstation down for a day while it is rebuilt? If that is more than the coast of the RAID then put in a RAID. If all you want is a good back up solution I suggest buying a good backup software and backing store (or research the free alternatives). Just make sure it is automated and does not allow you to have 3 month gaps in the backup schedule.

A lot of the things that are likely to destroy your drives are likely to wreck the whole system at once. A colleague of mine had some electricians working on the house and they manage to do something wrong and most of the hard drives in the house were destroyed. The only ones that survived were the ones not plugged into the wall at the time. Ditto for a flood. Ditto for accidentally deleting the wrong folder and losing all your stuff. A friend of mine just used RoboCopy wrong and lost 60G of data; /MIR is dangerous!

RAID 5 will not give you a speed boost. Something has to do all the math to generate the parity data and that is usually the CPU unless you sped a lot of money on a real hardware RAID card. RAID 1 just write the same thing to the two disks so it is about the same speed as one drive.

What ever you get make sure you test out how to rebuild the system before you have a drive die. Consumer level RAID systems are not very smart. Even though SATA can be 'hot plug' many implementations do not support this feature. A drive seizing up may very well take the whole system down with it as the drivers just can not cope. Do not trust the driver or specs.

Another big disadvantage for the consumer with RAID 5 is that the disks are useless on their own. Sure, if one goes you can replace it but the chances are that box will run for a couple years at least. In two or three years where are you going to get a replacement for that bread of drive? If you can find one at all it will probably cost more than a single drive that is larger than the whole RAID. With a mirror, you can put a drive in any computer or disk enclosure and get the data off it very easily.

If you decide to go with a RAID solution I suggest putting those two 250s into a mirror (RAID 1) for your data. It will be faster than RAID 5 and easier to recover from in case of a failure.

DaleF December 20, 2007 05:02 PM

You don't need to use the same drives for an array, it just gives the best performance. Also, it's not impossible to pull data off of a single RAID5 drive, there is software out there to do it, but is isn't that hard to do.

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