Need (hardware) Raid Controller advice for RAID5 and RAID10 for SQL Server

Gagnon

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Oct 28, 2009
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I am looking to build the following system and need advice on picking two RAID controllers. First one will be for RAID5 for 5 1TB disks, second one will be for RAID10 for 3 1TB disks.

Updated parts list 4/23/11
Code:
Total		$3,692
	
Case:		$  312 	 1x NORCO RPC-4220 4U Rackmount Server Chassis w/ 20 Hot-Swappable SATA/SAS 6G Drive Bays (Mini SAS Connector) - OEM
Cables:		$   90 	 7x NORCO C-SFF8087-D SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 Internal Multilane SAS Cable - OEM
Motherboard:	$  430 	 1x ASUS KGPE-D16
Processor:	$  560 	 2x AMD Opteron 6128 Magny-Cours 2.0GHz 8 x 512KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache Socket G34 115W 8-Core Server Processor
Memory:		$  420 	 6x Crucial 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Unbuffered Server Memory Model CT51272BA1339
PSU:		$  160 	 1x SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Storage:	$  780 	12x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Raid:		$  600 	 1x Areca ARC-1880i PCI-Ex4 8 Port SATA and SAS RAID Card
Raid Expander:	$  300 	 1x HP SAS Expander
	
DVD Burner:	$   50 	 1x slim dvd burner (need to find one) + possible StarTech SLSATAF20 20in Slimline SATA Female to SATA with LP4 Power Cable Adapter


16 cores @ 2.0GHz
24GB memory
10TB of disk to be used for Raid 5 (4 TB) and Raid 1+0 (1 TB)
 
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RabidSmurf

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Jun 30, 2009
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An LSI/DELL Perc 5/i can typically be bought used for around 100-150 and has two channels supporting 8 drives and both RAID5 and RAID10. If you lose the hot spares (not really sure what the point of them is?) you wouldn't need to bother with two of them, although for that price maybe you don't care.

I am using a used 5/i (I found on ebay) in my file server and it works great, glued a random northbridge heatsink onto it using thermal epoxy to get around the issue of it being designed for a forced air system.
 
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Blue Fox

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You seriously need to look over the rest of your parts first. A high end video card in a server? 6 sticks of memory (which are going to be far cheaper if bought individually anyway) in a dual socket quad-channel system? Power supply is also overkill and wasted money...not to mention, RAID 10 with 3 disks is impossible.
 

Dangman

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$600 Disk: 10x Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

I recommend going with Samsung or Hitachi drives since they have better compatibility and stability with true hardware RAID controllers compared to Seagate. I recommend this drive:
$65 - Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Power supply is also overkill and wasted money...

Doesn't seem too overkill since the OP stated in another thread that he's planning on 16 drives and two octa-cores are power hungry aren't they? In any case, I still wouldn't recommend that PSU since there are better bang for the buck PSUs out there. I.e this Silverstone PSU:
$190 - Silverstone ST1000-P 1000W Modular PSU

not to mention, RAID 10 with 3 disks is impossible.
Yup, you need a minimum of 4 disks.
 

Gagnon

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Oct 28, 2009
Messages
93
Good stuff here, I don't mind the flames, I deserve it, yup, need 4 disks for RAID 10, also do not really need a high end video card in here as noted. W/o said GPU, do I only need a 500 or 750W PSU? I'd probably want to be conservative in case I do want to add to this system.

Do you guys recommend an external case for the disk array? I think it might be better for cooling and offer better expandability, maybe a 20 or 24 disk external array case, what are some good options? Should I just build a mini rack or will I save a lot more with non-rack hardware?

So if I pickup the Dell Perc 5/i will that be able to configure two RAID's? I think I might want 3 arrays the more I think about it, 1 for data, 1 for indexes and a third 1 for transaction log (4 disks for each, RAID 5, 5, 10 in that order). Any good options? I'll also want a simple two disk RAID 1 controller for the OS and SQL Server program files, what do you guys recommend there. Something to control two SSD's inside the case, I think I can get away with 100GB drives, not sure which drives for OS+SQL yet.
 

SockMan!

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I would ditch those sticks of RAM and go with unbuffered ECC. It's not that much more expensive and you'd be foolish not to when you're sticking 24GBs into a dual-CPU server.

Don't get a video card unless you plan on using the system as a desktop or workstation. You don't need or want one for an SQL server.

I'd aim for a good quality power supply in the 750-850W range. Obviously, the more the better but I don't think you'll need more than that.

I'm assuming this isn't a production server (and therefore crucial to business)? If it is, then I would recommend not building it yourself - better to buy a pre-built server that comes with support.
 

Gagnon

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Ok thanks, still stuck on the external disk storage and raid controller options which is the area I know the least.

$420 6x Crucial 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Unbuffered Server Memory Model CT51272BA1339
$110 (after rebate) 1x XFX Black Edition P1-750B-CAG9 750W ATX12V v2.2 / ESP12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply -- looks damn sexy
$270 (after rebate) 1x NORCO RPC-4020 4U Rackmount Server Chassis w/ 20 Hot-swappable SATA/SAS 6G Drive Bays - OEM
 
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Dangman

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$420 6x Crucial 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Unbuffered Server Memory Model CT51272BA1339

$270 (after rebate) 1x NORCO RPC-4020 4U Rackmount Server Chassis w/ 20 Hot-swappable SATA/SAS 6G Drive Bays - OEM

I would not go with the 4020 since it's gonna be harder to cablemanage than the updated 4220 version. The 4020 makes you deal with 20+ SATA cables and how to route them. The 4020 only has 5 SFF-8087 cables that you have to deal with. So go for the RP-4220 or the 24 bay 4224 cases.

So if I pickup the Dell Perc 5/i will that be able to configure two RAID's? I think I might want 3 arrays the more I think about it, 1 for data, 1 for indexes and a third 1 for transaction log (4 disks for each, RAID 5, 5, 10 in that order). Any good options? I'll also want a simple two disk RAID 1 controller for the OS and SQL Server program files, what do you guys recommend there. Something to control two SSD's inside the case, I think I can get away with 100GB drives, not sure which drives for OS+SQL yet.

I recommend this option:
$600 - areca ARC-1880i PCI-Ex4 8 Port SATA and SAS RAID Card
$300 - HP SAS Expander - PM Synergy Dustin for exact Price
$90 - 7 x NORCO C-SFF8087-D SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 Internal Multilane SAS Cable - OEM
---
Total: $900 plus tax and shipping

The above gets you one of the fastest RAID controllers around. In addition, it gives you better/more expansion options. So here's how it gonna go down: you connect the areca card to the HP SAS Expander with one of those SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 cables. Then you connect 5 or 6 (depending on whether you go with the 4220 or 4224 case) of those SFF-808 cables to the HP SAS Expander and then to the case's backplane. There, now you can have all 20 to 24 drives as part of RAID arrays.
 

Gagnon

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awesome, thanks for the info. I need to read up on raid, where is a good starting point? I understand the basic differences between the types of RAID but have never configured one.

Will these two cards allow me to setup multiple RAID configurations (three in total or four if you include the RAID1 for the OS)?

RAID1 - 2x 1TB -- OS
RAID5 - 4x 1TB -- SQL Data
RAID5 - 4x 1TB -- SQL Index
RAID10 - 4x 1TB -- SQL Transaction log

Updated parts list, swapped out for a Gold certified PSU since a lot of these drives will be idle most of the time:

Code:
Total		$3,692
	
Case:		$  312 	 1x NORCO RPC-4220 4U Rackmount Server Chassis w/ 20 Hot-Swappable SATA/SAS 6G Drive Bays (Mini SAS Connector) - OEM
Cables:		$   90 	 7x NORCO C-SFF8087-D SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 Internal Multilane SAS Cable - OEM
Motherboard:	$  430 	 1x ASUS KGPE-D16
Processor:	$  560 	 2x AMD Opteron 6128 Magny-Cours 2.0GHz 8 x 512KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache Socket G34 115W 8-Core Server Processor
Memory:		$  420 	 6x Crucial 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Unbuffered Server Memory Model CT51272BA1339
PSU:		$  160 	 1x SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Storage:	$  780 	12x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Raid:		$  600 	 1x Areca ARC-1880i PCI-Ex4 8 Port SATA and SAS RAID Card
Raid Expander:	$  300 	 1x HP SAS Expander
	
DVD Burner:	$   50 	 1x slim dvd burner (need to find one) + possible StarTech SLSATAF20 20in Slimline SATA Female to SATA with LP4 Power Cable Adapter
 
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Dangman

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Don't quote me on this but I'm fairly sure that you can setup multiple RAID arrays.
 

Blue Fox

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Looking much better. You still want to have 8 sticks of RAM however. The Areca card will let you have multiple RAID arrays as well.
 

vxspiritxv

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Maybe you want a bigger card, like a LSI 9260-16i and drop the expander?
http://www.provantage.com/intel-rs2wg160~9ITSP0V6.htm

add battery for more data safety:
http://www.provantage.com/hewlett-packard-hp-we466aa~7CMPK1EC.htm
http://www.provantage.com/lsi-logic-lsi00260~7LSIG0JK.htm

I got this card with Hitachi 7k3000 2tb drives (5 x raid 5), only been running for 2 days, so far not a single problem. You should really think about only doing raid 10 or 6. I just got finished reading some scary stuff about raid 5 and possible corruption during rebuilds on 10^14 drives. I'm only storing DVDs on my array, so errors wont really effect me as much but my next array will be a raid 6.

If you need the server to be quiet:
http://www.ipcdirect.net/servlet/Detail?no=258

btw here are my build specs:
$450 rcp-4220 case
$200 i7 950 (microcenter)
$210 24gb ripjaw ram (newegg deal)
$230 supermicro c7x58 motherboard
$800 LSI 9260-16i
$640 5 x hitachi 2tb hard drives
$130 850watt power supply (seasonic)
$140 sas cables, slim dvdr, quiet fans, and other misc hardware
its almost done, waiting on remote battery kit, didn't realize the battery didn't come with the cable needed to install it. ~$2800

also be aware need one of these stupid things when you do the cdrom:
http://www.amazon.com/Slimline-Sata...W6ZK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1303589053&sr=8-2
or
http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Unlimt...PI8M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303589053&sr=8-1

If interested in screenshots:
http://www.quickesthosting.com/~spirit/raid/ss1.gif
http://www.quickesthosting.com/~spirit/raid/ss2.gif
 
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SockMan!

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The system supports quad-channel memory, so it'll make more sense to install RAM in sets for four.
 

Gagnon

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It's not going to be too heavy for reads and writes, it's a development box that will be heavy on the computation. We will be storing a lot of data though, about 10 years worth of tick data (possibly from multiple sources) for a number of financial instruments. The initial write dump will be heavy but it is not going to be a sustained load.
 

stormy1

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It's not going to be too heavy for reads and writes, it's a development box that will be heavy on the computation. We will be storing a lot of data though, about 10 years worth of tick data (possibly from multiple sources) for a number of financial instruments. The initial write dump will be heavy but it is not going to be a sustained load.
You should be ok then.

The biggest problem with 7200rpm drives is access time and they aren't really made for the seek thrashing that a heavy sql load puts on them.
 

Gagnon

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I would not go with the 4020 since it's gonna be harder to cablemanage than the updated 4220 version. The 4020 makes you deal with 20+ SATA cables and how to route them. The 4020 only has 5 SFF-8087 cables that you have to deal with. So go for the RP-4220 or the 24 bay 4224 cases.
:
$90 - 7 x NORCO C-SFF8087-D SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 Internal Multilane SAS Cable - OEM

Hey Danny -

If I upgraded the RAID card to this:

$756 1x Intel Controller Card RS2WG160 16 Port SAS 6GB S PCI-E X8 512MB Retail

Would I only need:

5x NORCO C-SFF8087-D SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 Internal Multilane SAS Cable - OEM

or do I still need 7?

ETA -- Assume I go with this case: 1x NORCO RPC-4220 4U Rackmount Server Chassis w/ 20 Hot-Swappable SATA/SAS 6G Drive Bays (Mini SAS Connector) - OEM
 

Dangman

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If you're going with the 4220 and if you're only gonna use 16 of those bays, then all you need are four of those cables to connect that card to the case's backplane.

However, if you're gonna need to use all 20 of those bays, then you're either gonna have to find a 24 port card or use the HP SAS Expander + controller option mentioned earlier. If the 24 port card route, then you're gonna need 5 of those cables. If the HP SAS Expander + controller option, you're gonna need 6 of those cables.
 

vxspiritxv

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I used 4 on mine, as well as a single reverse breakout cable for the last 4 bays to connect directly to the motherboard (non raid). Since you said your data is mostly write once read many, might think about setting transaction log to simple mode, and run without a transaction log, they are deleted after a backup anyways. Just depends if you can risk dataloss between backups.

Those cables are 500mm right? They wont reach that card in that case, because the connection is near the back plate on the card. They are short like one or two inches.
I went with these:
http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/3w...hed-SCSI-SAS-internal-cable-2-ft/2187123.aspx
 
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