Thoughts on how to upgrade my storage


Limp Gawd
Feb 15, 2006
I currently am running a raid 5 with 6x 750GB WD RE2 drives on a RocketRaid 2320 and it's been running great for 2 years now. No drive failures or anything. I would expect this with server grade drives but I think I also got lucky.

I'm finally running out of space and looking to expand to 10+TB. I have a couple options but I'm not sure which one would be best. I want to stick with Windows Server 08 since I do .NET development and host ASP.NET apps on it and I also use it as a media box. Here's what I've considered:

1) Buy at least 6 2TB drives (not sure which ones) and run them in another raid 5 or possibly 6 on a new raid card. Probably a real hardware card this time with BBU cache. I would run this alongside my current raid so I would have 2 logical volumes of 3.41TB and ~9TB.

2) Buy at least 6 2TB drives and run them using WHS in a virtual machine with pooling. This would of course allow me to be selective with what is redundant and give me more space overall. I'd keep my current raid and add it to the pool as a single volume if that's possible, but I'm not sure about this.

Option #2 is attractive because of no raid hassles with the new drives but I've had no experience with WHS and am not really sure how well this would work running virtualized. Another thought is that I'd like to run my OS drives in a raid 1 using onboard raid, but the problem with that right now is that the motherboard in my server (Asus P5WDH Deluxe) does not allow for booting off onboard raid while another raid card is installed. I have another motherboard available (DFI P35) that I could use but I'd need to know if it supports booting off its onboard raid while another raid card is in the system.

Another thought is that if I can get the onboard raid to play nice with the RR card, I can put another 2 750GB drives on it and OCE it to about 5TB for cheap.

Anyway, I suppose my questions are what people generally think about WHS virtualized for 24/7 use versus a real raid, and also which drives are best. For WHS the drive choice probably doesn't matter, but I know many 2TB drives out there are picky with raid. The only speed requirement for me is to be able to nearly saturate my gigabit network with reads and writes and I doubt this would be possible with WHS.

I also would love any input on using onboard raid on a P35 board while other raid controllers are installed and whether I can boot off the onboard raid in that situation.

Thanks for any input!