Preferred RAID type?

howie_23

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I'm getting ready to purchase 3 1TB drives from newegg to add to a home server/HTPC. I already have a 1TB drive in my main machine so I'd have a total of 4 1TB drives. My question is this:

Which method of RAID would you use for your home server? Supported options are 0,1, & 5 for sure. Not sure if my onboard raid controller supports 1+0 or not. I guess I'm curious if the redundancy of a RAID 5 is worth the loss of 1TB of storage capacity? Thoughts?
 

Aemsere

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I'd say yes; but it depends.

If you have no backup for these particular 4 terabytes, I'd say definately raid 5 - if you do have backup for them and restoration from it performs at a reasonable speed, raid 0.
 

Dan_D

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You'll want to do a RAID 1 if you are using onboard RAID. Anytime I've used RAID 5 with software or "accelerated" software RAID, I've been woefully disappointed. RAID 1 performance is generally tollerable from these solutions.
 
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The Hunter

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Raid 5 would generally be my choice for this application. You get some redundancy against drive failures, but without the cost of raid 1 or 10.

The big caveat however is that if you're using your motherboard raid, then I'd be a little wary. Software raid 5 implemented by the OS is pretty solid, and on a 4x500GB linux array I get writes of ~90MB/s and reads of ~180MB/s, i.e. able to saturate a gigabit ethernet connection. Software raid as implemented by motherboards tends to be less developed and slower, not to mention the added possibility of failure (if a mobo dies on an OS raid, you can transfer to new hardware, for a mobo raid you need the same or compatible model or you're toast).
 

Dan_D

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Raid 5 would generally be my choice for this application. You get some redundancy against drive failures, but without the cost of raid 1 or 10.

The big caveat however is that if you're using your motherboard raid, then I'd be a little wary. Software raid 5 implemented by the OS is pretty solid, and on a 4x500GB linux array I get writes of ~90MB/s and reads of ~180MB/s, i.e. able to saturate a gigabit ethernet connection. Software raid as implemented by motherboards tends to be less developed and slower, not to mention the added possibility of failure (if a mobo dies on an OS raid, you can transfer to new hardware, for a mobo raid you need the same or compatible model or you're toast).

That's Linux. In Windows, software RAID isn't all that great. Really on a Windows box the best bet is to go with the onboard controller or a nice add-in board. However, if you stick with lower end controllers or the board, RAID 1 is tollerable but RAID 5 performance is generally really poor.
 

The Hunter

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True enough. I suppose the first question should be, what OS is the OP using for this system.
 

Dan_D

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True enough. I suppose the first question should be, what OS is the OP using for this system.

I generally assume the original posters always run some form of Windows unless they say otherwise. Normally Linux users are quick to point out that they are not using a Windows based system.
 

howie_23

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I generally assume the original posters always run some form of Windows unless they say otherwise. Normally Linux users are quick to point out that they are not using a Windows based system.
You're correct. I'm running Vista Ultimate 64-bit on the machine currently. I plan on using the machine as both HTPC and storage server for my network. Would there be a better OS for something like that? I've been considering WHS but I'm not certain it would be able to do the HTPC part very well.
 

[LYL]Homer

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Which method of RAID would you use for your home server?

WHS

I'm done effing around with consumer level RAID - it works great until it doesn't. WHS allows me to skip the heartburn of a $500+ controller and gives me great expandability (install drive, click on 'add to pool', done).
 

Dan_D

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You're correct. I'm running Vista Ultimate 64-bit on the machine currently. I plan on using the machine as both HTPC and storage server for my network. Would there be a better OS for something like that? I've been considering WHS but I'm not certain it would be able to do the HTPC part very well.

I'm a Windows guy primarily so I'll say you are on the right track. Obviously Linux guys will argue the merits of Linux. I don't want to spark a Linux vs. Windows debate but if you aren't willing to deal with the learning curve of a new OS its best to stick with what you know.
 

Dan_D

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[LYL]Homer;1034092552 said:
WHS

I'm done effing around with consumer level RAID - it works great until it doesn't. WHS allows me to skip the heartburn of a $500+ controller and gives me great expandability (install drive, click on 'add to pool', done).

Sorry but Windows Home Server really still leaves you with consumer level software RAID. It is virtually identical to the software RAID in the rest of the Microsoft Server OSes which in my experience doesn't match those $500+ hardware controllers.
 

howie_23

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Thanks for the tips so far.

How would I implement a RAID 1 w/ 4 drives? Do two separate RAID 1's and lose double the capacity? I've never thought of trying to do a RAID 1 w/ more than 2 drives.
 

nitrobass24

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Sorry but Windows Home Server really still leaves you with consumer level software RAID. It is virtually identical to the software RAID in the rest of the Microsoft Server OSes which in my experience doesn't match those $500+ hardware controllers.

I mean the only RAID like function that it has is a psuedo Raid1, and its just duplicating data on another disk.
Personally I find this to be a more powerful feature than onboard R1 as you get to choose which data is important.
 

[LYL]Homer

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I mean the only RAID like function that it has is a psuedo Raid1, and its just duplicating data on another disk.
Personally I find this to be a more powerful feature than onboard R1 as you get to choose which data is important.

This is what I was meaning Dan_D - not a motherboard-based RAID or a cheap add-in card. I've had failures of several motherboard RAID 0, 1, and 5 arrays over the years.

WHS isn't really RAID (though similar to RAID 1) and it isn't tied to a controller. You can yank any hdd in a WHS system, stick it in another pc, and recover data from it. And that's in addition to what nitrobass24 said.
 

Dan_D

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Thanks for the tips so far.

How would I implement a RAID 1 w/ 4 drives? Do two separate RAID 1's and lose double the capacity? I've never thought of trying to do a RAID 1 w/ more than 2 drives.

You could do RAID 0+1 with four drives.
 

howie_23

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You could do RAID 0+1 with four drives.
At that point though, I'd only double my capacity. I'd like to have has much storage capacity and still have some redundancy. Obviously RAID 0 is an "option" but not one I'd like to consider. RAID 5 gives me the option of having 3 TB of total storage where as 0+1 only gives me 2 TB of storage. At the end of the day storage capacity is a bigger priority.
 

Dan_D

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At that point though, I'd only double my capacity. I'd like to have has much storage capacity and still have some redundancy. Obviously RAID 0 is an "option" but not one I'd like to consider. RAID 5 gives me the option of having 3 TB of total storage where as 0+1 only gives me 2 TB of storage. At the end of the day storage capacity is a bigger priority.

RAID 0 won't give you any redundancy. If one of the four drives fail, you are screwed and you'll be out a ton of data if you run any of them near capacity. RAID 5 is always been good for capacity, but frankly software and onboard RAID 5 has never been all that great performance wise. On Linux the performance may be fine or even great, but in Windows? No. Not hardly. I've seen servers take HUGE performance hits running software RAID in Windows. For RAID 5 a hardware controller with a XOR processor is the only way to go.
 
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