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About dietrc70

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  1. The better construction is reflected in the probability of unrecoverable errors: <1 in 10^15 for the RE vs <1 in 10^14 for the Black. For large RAID arrays, that is a significant difference in the likelihood of delays from error recovery, failed stripes or lost data. RAID drives are often packed close together, and the vibration can have a disastrous effect on the speed. The SE's and RE's have extra vibration sensors and the ability to compensate for vibration when positioning the read/write heads. Another major difference is in the firmware and controller. RAID controllers on a server may be trying to service multiple and completely unrelated read/write operations all over the array, and so the drives have to handle streams of read/write commands that involve operations all over the disk. Enterprise drives are optimized to complete these instructions as efficiently as possible. (In contrast, a single-user desktop drive is more often trying to read or write one sequential file at a time).
  2. I tend to agree with you. I buy RE's because they obviously perform better in RAID, but due to my budget limitations I have also used WD Blacks in RAID for years. They have not been any less reliable than the RE's. In my experience if a drive doesn't respond for seven or more seconds, then that drive probably has a serious problem and is close to failure. I agree that TLER is important for keeping a high-availability array running even if a drive is becoming glitchy, but the emphasis on TLER implies that quality non-RAID drives routinely time out for extended periods. This is not the case, and Adaptec even lists the WD Black on my controller's compatibility list. While TLER is worth having, I think the main benefits of enterprise drives are the superior vibration tolerance (which affects speed a great deal), the lower probability of uncorrectable errors, and the large command queue/RAID optimized firmware. PS--The SE's are fairly new. Be sure to check your adapter's compatibility list and get the current firmware. Also check your cables.
  3. I know nothing about how to expose the 4KB native mode on a Toshiba drive, but I think it would be better to leave it as is and use GPT. You might run into unknown problems using 4KB sectors with MBR, not to mention with FAT32 partitions. Both Acronis Trueimage and Paragon's hard drive software support GPT. If your only problem is finding a replacement for Ghost you shouldn't have a problem.
  4. I agree with MRFS that there is no reason to shun RAID 0, provided that you are prepared for possible failure. Be sure to use good matched drives (i.e. Caviar Black or better). In any case, I strongly suggest that you use Acronis Trueimage or similar software to image your boot drive regularly. I once encountered a failure with a RAID 0 failure on my boot drive, but I was able to get back up and running in less than 45 minutes because I had a bootable Acronis disk and a recent image on a backup disk. It's a good idea to keep your important data files or a different (preferably mirrored) drive, and use an online backup system.
  5. dietrc70

    format NTFS disk drive above 64KB size?

    There is no reason to do that, unless your drive is larger than 256TB, in which case NTFS won't even support it. 64KB cluster size is the maximum for NTFS. If your partition is large and going to be used only for huge files, then you can use larger sizes (I'd suggest 16kb) if you want to reduce fragmentation. If it's a boot partition many of the files will be tiny and you will just waste space by using a larger cluster size.
  6. Of those drives, the Toshiba looks most appealing for price and performance. I haven't bought Toshiba drives in long time but they tend to be pretty good. The only question is if they work well with RAID controllers. Many desktop drives do, but they aren't tested and optimized for the purpose so it's a bit of a gamble to see if the RAID controller "likes" them. You should also look into the WD Se line. They are a bit more expensive but are both very fast (unlike the Reds) and fully RAID qualified, and they have 5 year warranties. The main difference between the Se's and the Re's seems to be that the Re's are designed for heavy use in servers. For a workstation, the Se's are probably perfect. I built my RAID arrays slowly by buying one or two WD RE's at a time. I started with one 500GB when they were new, liked it, then bought another and mirrored them with the Intel RST RAID, and four years later had six of them in RAID 10 on a hardware controller. Considering your need for both speed and reliability, I would lead towards Western Digital Se's, Re's, or Seagate ES.3's. You can use them for a long time and start small and slowly grow the size of the array as your budget allows. You can also be sure that they will work with a hardware controller if you upgrade to one later.
  7. You can have a hot spare for any kind of array if the controller supports it, and I think even the Intel RST does. According to an Intel whitepaper on RST in Linux, the Intel RAID bios checks arrays and lets you set them up, but then passes all control to software drivers once the OS boots--so it is a hybrid--mostly software RAID solution. The RAID metadata seems to be OS independent, but the OS drivers still have to handle the RAID calculations and direct the drives individually. I've been very pleased with Crashplan. I have about 1.4TB backed up using their unlimited single user plan. I have a good internet connection, so I just took my time selecting important directories for automatic backup. I've been able to restore older versions of files easily when I deleted things by accident. Their client software is very good. It doesn't draw attention to itself but is still easy to configure or monitor. Most importantly, it is smart enough to do block-level updates. If you tweak a 1GB Photoshop file it only takes a few seconds to update your changes. It doesn't try to reupload the entire thing. By default, it saves every file change so you can recover earlier file versions if you want. You can download the client and test out one of their trial/free programs to see if you like the way it works.
  8. dietrc70

    Supermicro array questions

    The blinking is probably normal, I'm just surprised it isn't a green led blinking. I have a managed enclosure, and I recall my Adaptec making hot spares blink green. Maybe it's some quirk in your enclosure setup that causes the red light to blink instead. Is the Re an SAS drive? If the other drives are SATA the controller might be complaining about that.
  9. I'm pretty sure I've done this with no problems.
  10. dietrc70

    Controller questions

    The bus isn't an issue. It just carries data according to the PCI specification. It doesn't know or care if the data is from a video card, RAID controller with 4TB drives, Ethernet, etc. The only limitation of the PCI bus is it's ~110 MB/sec maximum bandwidth. I think your Sil will support a large drive as a data drive--but I'm not sure if it would be able to boot from one. Check the SiI website and driver/firmware notes.
  11. dietrc70

    Supermicro array questions

    Yikes--WD Greens in RAID 6 sound like a disaster waiting to happen! I'm impressed that they have been working so well. I'm also surprised that they play nice with your SAS expander. I wouldn't have expected that. You learn something new every day. It's just as well, I think, that you didn't get 4GB Greens I've noticed a great increase in angry reviews about the 3 and 4TB greens as opposed to the 2TB models. Be sure to check out the new WD Se series when you need new drives. I haven't used them (I use RE's) but they are priced pretty well and fully RAID qualified. Supposedly the Reds are not so well suited for large arrays--weaker vibration compensation and tolerance for heavy use. You'd probably get amazing performance with SAS drives!
  12. I use RAID 10 with hardware RAID cards (Adaptec 6805E) with Supermicro 5-in-3 hotswap enclosures. I could also configure a hot spare, which the controller would automatically spin up and rebuild to in the event of a failure, with no user intervention needed. If a drive fails, the hardware card makes an earsplitting alarm noise. If the hotswap enclosure fan fails or starts to overheat, the enclosure makes an earsplitting alarm noise and flashes red lights. You can also configure the RAID software to notify you by email of any problem. I use RAID 10 because it is simple, has fast write performance and excellent fault tolerance. A RAID 10 array can withstand multiple drive failures, and rebuilds only take a few hours (no parity to calculate). RAID 10 is also ideal for working files (like a photographers) because it has high write speeds. Decent write performance on RAID 5 or 6 requires a battery backed cache, and such controllers are far more expensive than the entry-level RAID 10/1/0/1E capable controllers. I think RAID 5 should be avoided, and that RAID 6 only makes sense for dedicated file servers. I would recommend a hardware controller over Intel's built in RAID. Intel RST isn't bad, but it is far slower in my experience. With a hardware controller you can move the whole array to another machine in the event of a failure, all the functions are OS independent, and you get perks like onboard failure alarms and much higher quality SFF-8087 cable connectors. RAID is not backup, of course. I use Crashplan to perform cloud backup of my most important data.
  13. dietrc70

    Controller questions

    If the controller card supports the drive, then the motherboard and bus won't matter. The manufacturer website should tell you if the controller supports large drives. Did you mean a PCIe card? I'd be surprised if any PCI cards support 2tb+ drives.
  14. My impression is that the expensive enterprise 3tb and 4tb drives are fine, but at lower price points it would be better not to go above 2tb right now. It's also good to remember just how long it takes to fill, backup, or rebuild a 3 or 4 TB drive, especially a slow consumer model. Two 2TB drives are much easier to to deal with and usually cheaper than one 4TB.
  15. Very slick product. It looks like a nice low cost alternative to more expensive and complex hot-swap racks. My main concern would be how securely the drives are held to avoid vibration.