noir

linux or win2003 software raid5?

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I'm confronted now to using either linux or windows 2003 for my home server.

I am not used at all to linux, but it seems to be the prime decision for software raid5.

My view on the problem is like this:

Linux:

+ extremely fast and secure software raid5

- i don't know anything about linux

- driver problems for my Asus P5GD2 motherboard

Windows 2003;

+ ease of use

+ all drivers work

- i read win2k3 software raid5 was terribly slow, could anyone confirm this

- is the software raid5 implementation as safe as the linux one?

Windows would have the advantage that i could also use it for casual gaming (home server has to be flexible :D , but i feel like linux would be the better "hardcore" solution)

Could i please have some hints or testimonials about software raid5 usage in both linux and w2k3? thanx :)

Edited by noir

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Actually software raid is usually safer because you can even move the disks around to different channels or controllers and recover the array.

What is your backup plan? RAID is no substitute for backups, because it takes just one lightning bolt to trash all the drives in the array. Safest of all to use two disks in RAID1 and the rest of them as offline backups

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Cost. Windows 2003 Server is quite expensive. Linux is cheap.

If you can install windows you can install SuSE Linux 9.2 ... Its quite easy.

It would be a good learning experience...

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I don't use software raid period because it is not as good as hardware solutions. 

199789[/snapback]

yeah, right. factual argumentation is so old-fashioned!

so long

nicola

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Windows 2003 SRaid isn't slow at all. It's capable of reading and writing fast enough to saturate my PCI bus with a 1Ghz PC, without using even 20% CPU.

I don't know what you'd consider as "safe". It works. If one drive fails, it still works. If you replace the failed drive, it regenerates, and continues working.

Same applies for all RAID-5 implementations... Whats the difference you're looking for?

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I'm confronted now to using either linux or windows 2003 for my home server.

I am not used at all to linux, but it seems to be the prime decision for software raid5.

My view on the problem is like this:

Linux:

+ extremely fast and secure software raid5

- i don't know anything about linux

- driver problems for my Asus P5GD2 motherboard

Windows 2003;

+ ease of use

+ all drivers work

- i read win2k3 software raid5 was terribly slow, could anyone confirm this

- is the software raid5 implementation as safe as the linux one?

Windows would have the advantage that i could also use it for casual gaming (home server has to be flexible  :D , but i feel like linux would be the better "hardcore" solution)

Could i please have some hints or testimonials about software raid5 usage in both linux and w2k3? thanx  :)

199783[/snapback]

Personally, I'm a big fan of Linux Software RAID. The hardware requirements aren't that high and the performance is good enough for most tasks. I use it to stream video to my HTPCs. On my storage server I have 2 RAID 5's... 8x250gb and 6x250gb - all run with a puny Celeron 2.4ghz on a SuperMicro P4SCi.

I haven't heard anything good about Windows 2003 software RAID, but I have never tried it. I have used 3ware and Highpoint RAID cards with Windows 2000 and have had very good luck. No data loss. The 3ware cards have the higher performance, although neither did as well as Linux Software RAID on similar hardware.

IMHO, the bottom line for you is this:

Go Linux if you have time and patience to learn. Use Fedora Core 3 for your distro. Its been an easy to use distro for me. It'll do a lot of things for you if you want but once you get more familiar, you can do things on your own. Their up2date software is an easy way to keep upgraded.

Otherwise, since you are willing to buy a copy of Windows 2003 Server, you might as well buy a real RAID card.

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Actually software raid is usually safer because you can even move the disks around to different channels or controllers and recover the array.

199792[/snapback]

Very true... I just moved my 8 drive RAID 5 array from my Athlon64 box to a Celeron box with totally different controllers and it detected it immediately with no data loss, rebuilding or any other problems.

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Actually software raid is usually safer because you can even move the disks around to different channels or controllers and recover the array.

You can do the same with hardware.

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Actually software raid is usually safer because you can even move the disks around to different channels or controllers and recover the array.

You can do the same with hardware.

199834[/snapback]

If you move an array to a different controller, it must be of the same manufacturer and often the same model as the original otherwise it will not work. This is not the case with software, and I believe that is what Twistacatz was trying to say.

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Actually software raid is usually safer because you can even move the disks around to different channels or controllers and recover the array.

You can do the same with hardware.

199834[/snapback]

given you use the same hardware, down to the same firmware revision - else you will run into trouble... but things get difficult once you don't have access to the original hardware used to create the array (be it because of hardware failure or other reasons).

software raid in linux does not even need any configuration to detect correctly an existing raid array. the drives can be connected any way block devices can be attached - even if they are spread over 42 different controllers (this includes disks accessed over a network, crazy people even think about the internet as a transport... :)

regards

nicola

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"Otherwise, since you are willing to buy a copy of Windows 2003 Server, you might as well buy a real RAID card. "

I second that. Plus the possibility to have some hardware cache which will help performance.

You could always change to Raid10 of course....

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Actually software raid is usually safer because you can even move the disks around to different channels or controllers and recover the array.

You can do the same with hardware.

199834[/snapback]

given you use the same hardware, down to the same firmware revision - else you will run into trouble... but things get difficult once you don't have access to the original hardware used to create the array (be it because of hardware failure or other reasons).

software raid in linux does not even need any configuration to detect correctly an existing raid array. the drives can be connected any way block devices can be attached - even if they are spread over 42 different controllers (this includes disks accessed over a network, crazy people even think about the internet as a transport... :)

regards

nicola

199836[/snapback]

I'm sorry I was talking about moving drives on the same controller only.

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If you move an array to a different controller, it must be of the same manufacturer and often the same model as the original otherwise it will not work.

I think it would not be an issue for a business with many of the same machines, but the original poster said it was for a home server, and it is not likely that someone will have many of the same RAID cards at home to try if something goes wrong. That is why I said software is usually safer.

The other issue is speed: a hardware RAID card with good performance is very expensive compared with the high performance general purpose CPUs that we all already have. Will you really notice if your multi-GHz home server has a CPU utilization of 10% vs. 5%, and what is that worth to you? Especially if you have to buy a spare card to troubleshoot and maximize uptime?

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I'm running Server2003 eval edition for my home file server. I have the OS on a Atlas 10KIII, & 3 10KIV's for my stuff. Although I'm not using RAID, I fooled around a bit with the disks & from what I remember was quite pleased with the Windows software RAID 5 benchmarks. I didn't find Windows software RAID slow at all.

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"crazy people even think about the internet as a transport... "

This is not so new. One must remember if your provider allows you to use let's say 10 GB download a month and 1,5 GB upload a month......you are going to surpass THAT. SO?

Ron, software raid has no speed at all.....It is your hardware that is doing it.

I mean your software raid is as fast as your hardware allows it to be.

Afterall can you imagine the time the first Pentium 75 was used with, let us say a bigfoot drive at 3200 splindle speed.....now how fast do you think your software raid would be?

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hi

> > crazy people even think about the internet as a transport...

> This is not so new.

if you think about iMac and other internet-file-drops, indeed. however, having a block-level access over the internet to some disk is certainly not so common. if it makes sense, is a totally different question... :)

> One must remember if your provider allows you

> to use let's say 10 GB download a month and 1,5 GB upload a

> month......you are going to surpass THAT. SO?

at least here in switzerland, bandwidth limits don't exist anymore with most plans - however, raw speed is not that great, ADSL is limited to 2.4mbit/s downstream and 512kbit/s upstream.

regards

nicola

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sorry to revive this old thread.

my fileserver is done, and im starting a test raid5 configuration with 3x200gigs software RAID5 in Windows 2003.

The array takes around 8 hours to synch completely, and has writes of around 6megs/sec.

I wanted to ask if thats normal with windows 2003 software raid5, or if there's anything wrong with my setup.

there's 2 IDE HDs, each one having its dedicated bus, and one S-ATA HD.

Thanx lots in advance

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That's what I would expect, when I tested 2x200GB SATA drives in RAID 5 with Win2000 software raid on a Celeron 800MHz I got 30MB/s read, 5MB/s write.

When several people indicated that Win2003 software raid had high performance I doubted it, but thought that Win 2003 might be worth considering.

The fact that we get poor performance doesn't mean that the performance is low, it is possible that something is simple to configure wrong and that we both made the same mistake. If this is the case it would be REALLY interesting to know how to configure it right. It is also possible that Win2003 and Win2000 software raid only work well with certain controllers (I tested with a cheap Sil3114 controller).

I hope that those claiming great performance with windows software raid has some more info, fast software raid 5 would give me much more available space than my current raid 0+1 setup.

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I would have to say both systems are good choices. If you have big bucks for windows server go for it but linux is just as good for a whole lot les money.

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That's what I would expect, when I tested 2x200GB SATA drives in RAID 5 with Win2000 software raid on a Celeron 800MHz I got 30MB/s read, 5MB/s write.

When several people indicated that Win2003 software raid had high performance I doubted it, but thought that Win 2003 might be worth considering.

The fact that we get poor performance doesn't mean that the performance is low, it is possible that something is simple to configure wrong and that we both made the same mistake. If this is the case it would be REALLY interesting to know how to configure it right. It is also possible that Win2003 and Win2000 software raid only work well with certain controllers (I tested with a cheap Sil3114 controller).

I hope that those claiming great performance with windows software raid has some more info, fast software raid 5 would give me much more available space than my current raid 0+1 setup.

201151[/snapback]

That should be 3x200GB SATA drives of course :) .

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To be honest I do not have any idea why the both of you get such poor RAID performances. I personally have a 1Ghz system and get over 60mB/sec (that's the limit of my PCI bus, being a chipset and a huge amount of overhead) with 3xIDE in SW RAID on Windows 2000, XP and 2003, so there probably is something wrong with your setup. That said, software RAID in Windows is extremely sensitive to cluster sizes and seeking. See if you can bring up Windows' performance monitor, add all counters from "Physical Disk" and get a dump of the data. That might help figure out what's going wrong.

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heh.... 60mbyte/sec... at least it seems possible B)

could your please post the raid5 settings you used for your setup?

so i could test if the error is there

i actually HDTached the 3 drives appart, both give averages of around 55mbyte/sec, and bursts of 100mbyte/sec

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One interesting observation is that both of the slow RAID5 systems reported here are using at least one SATA drive. Anyone getting good performance outof software RAID5 with SATA drives?

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