tjoff

Raid 5, just not worth the money?

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Hello

I've long dreamt of a raid 5 array. Well, time came and went and I finally *decided* to check it out. Only problem is that my current system only has PCI. I refuse to get a good controller for something as slow and out of date as PCI so I just have to get a new motherboard, a CPU and probably some new ram, but hey it was about time anyway.

The new motherboard will feature PCI-E connectors and after reading articles about PCI-E and raid 5 controllers coming to the market about a year ago I thought there would be atleast a couple of cards to choose from.

Well..

I have found 2 cards..

HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 8P SATA II/300 RAID5, NCQ, PCI Express x4

and

Promise SuperTrak EX8350 8P SATA 300 RAID5, NCQ/TCQ, PCIe x4

The first one doesn't even feature cache and the second one costs around 500 USD (here in sweden).

And after reading the forums the Promise card is inferior to Areca which everyone seem to recommend.

Well, the 4 port Areca costs about as much as the EX8350 (found it germany so shipping costs will add to the price tag), but really. Is the pricetag worth that?

I was planning to get a raid 5 controller to have something to grow in, a 4 port card doesn't allow me to grow and when I eventually do it will be a real pain to move all the data between the old and the new array if I were to use the same controller (which I originally thought I would and was one of the major arguments to spend so much money on a controller card).

And think about it, for 500 USB I can get about one terabyte of storage. I wasn't even planning on getting that much for the raid 5 originally. So much for raid 5 being the cheaper alternative to raid 1 :P

I might be able to stretch my plans to get a EX8350 but I have a hard time accepting paying that much and just get a half-decent and half-performing product :\

Or perhaps perhaps perhaps a 4 port Areca, but then I will have a hard time accepting that I won't be able to grow in it :P

Maybe raid 5 isn't something for me but I can't see any good alternatives to get some insurance to harddrive failures.

Also what buggs me is that there are many more PCI-X cards and I guess that some of them are more affordable, but I haven't really looked into them.

Sure I could get a motherboard with PCI-X, but will my next motherboard after that have PCI-X? I have my doubts.

Chances are that I will live happily ever after with a EX8350, I havent seen a review of it. Though the performance must be atleast similar to other hardware based raid 5 cards if I'm going to pay 500 USD for it.

Maybe I have set the bar to high, anyone willing in sharing some thoughts?

I'd like to like the EX8350 but I would really hate myself if I'll go for it and it lets me down. I'd still like to go with raid 5 but some parts of me screams when the by far most expensive component of my new computer will be a controller card.

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Software RAID5 on Linux is cheap...

217783[/snapback]

Yeah, just as cheap as software raid on windows...

I wouldn't want a software raid 5 because of the bad performance and because I wouldnä't feel safe at all knowing that the array might blow up during a simple OS failure. And yes, those do happen to linux as well.

Anyhow, I'm leaning towards getting a cheap fileserver for all my backup needs and ditch the raid on my workstation.

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Well, wouldn't you need the server version of Windows for Raid5? That doesn't sound nearly as cheap to me...

Also, if you use persistant superblocks (which you should) on linux raid, you should be able to drop the drives in another system with raid support and reassemble the array.

-Chris

Yeah, just as cheap as software raid on windows...

I wouldn't want a software raid 5 because of the bad performance and because I wouldnä't feel safe at all knowing that the array might blow up during a simple OS failure. And yes, those do happen to linux as well.

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Well, wouldn't you need the server version of Windows for Raid5?  That doesn't sound nearly as cheap to me...

Might need the pro version, but since I got it already it wouldn't cost me a penny.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...b;EN-US;q314343

Also, if you use persistant superblocks (which you should) on linux raid, you should be able to drop the drives in another system with raid support and reassemble the array.

-Chris

Cool, although I still trust my drives more than I trust a software raid 5 array so theres really no point in it.

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Software RAID5 on Linux is cheap...

217783[/snapback]

Yeah, just as cheap as software raid on windows...

I wouldn't want a software raid 5 because of the bad performance and because I wouldnä't feel safe at all knowing that the array might blow up during a simple OS failure. And yes, those do happen to linux as well.

Anyhow, I'm leaning towards getting a cheap fileserver for all my backup needs and ditch the raid on my workstation.

217784[/snapback]

Linux software RAID 5 has been very reliable and fast for me. I even suffered a failure of my non-RAID boot drive and could not shut down properly. I powered down the system improperly and the RAIDs survived with no errors, no dropped drives, no problems of any kind.

Edited by lizardking009

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Software RAID5 on Linux is cheap...

217783[/snapback]

Yeah, just as cheap as software raid on windows...

I wouldn't want a software raid 5 because of the bad performance and because I wouldnä't feel safe at all knowing that the array might blow up during a simple OS failure. And yes, those do happen to linux as well.

Anyhow, I'm leaning towards getting a cheap fileserver for all my backup needs and ditch the raid on my workstation.

217784[/snapback]

Linux software RAID 5 has been very reliable and fast for me. I even suffered a failure of my non-RAID boot drive and could not shut down properly. I powered down the system improperly and the RAIDs survived with no errors, no dropped drives, no problems of any kind.

217787[/snapback]

Perhaps linux software raid is more mature than windows (or you're just lucky ;)). But anyway, I won't change OS just because of linux software raid.

Linux is not yet ready to make it to my workstation (or I am not ready to have linux on my workstation, take your pic), but I like to experiment with it (which is another reason for getting a fileserver - I get a linux box that I can play with 24/7 :)).

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Software RAID5 on Linux is cheap...

217783[/snapback]

Yeah, just as cheap as software raid on windows...

I wouldn't want a software raid 5 because of the bad performance and because I wouldnä't feel safe at all knowing that the array might blow up during a simple OS failure. And yes, those do happen to linux as well.

Anyhow, I'm leaning towards getting a cheap fileserver for all my backup needs and ditch the raid on my workstation.

217784[/snapback]

Linux software RAID 5 has been very reliable and fast for me. I even suffered a failure of my non-RAID boot drive and could not shut down properly. I powered down the system improperly and the RAIDs survived with no errors, no dropped drives, no problems of any kind.

217787[/snapback]

Perhaps linux software raid is more mature than windows (or you're just lucky ;)). But anyway, I won't change OS just because of linux software raid.

Linux is not yet ready to make it to my workstation (or I am not ready to have linux on my workstation, take your pic), but I like to experiment with it (which is another reason for getting a fileserver - I get a linux box that I can play with 24/7 :)).

217788[/snapback]

I wouldn't switch workstation OSes, either... Windows XP for me. I just run Linux for Samba, Postfix, ClamAV, and Hylafax on one of my servers.

I'm not sure what your file serving requirements are, but for me, Linux has done well. I can watch a different ripped DVD ISO on two different HTPCs, while transfering another ripped DVD ISO to the array, and nothing skips a beat.

I also use 3ware's 7506-4lp on my Windows 2003 server. In terms of rebuilding from a dropped drive, Linux vs. 3ware, is the same. However, in terms of overall performance, Linux definately can sling around more data. My Win2k3 box is a P4@3.0ghz vs a puny Celeron 2400 on the Linux box.

The only thing the hardware cards do that much better is management. 3ware's 3dm RAID management webpage is intuitive and easy to use. Linux software RAID uses a utility called mdadm. Its very powerful, but it is a command line tool. Of course, I haven't used an Areca... :)

Windows 2003 sw raid 5 ... I've heard nothing but bad things.

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Well, wouldn't you need the server version of Windows for Raid5?  That doesn't sound nearly as cheap to me...

Might need the pro version, but since I got it already it wouldn't cost me a penny.

217786[/snapback]

Pro isn't enough, Server is required.

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Might need the pro version, but since I got it already it wouldn't cost me a penny.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...b;EN-US;q314343

From the linked site:

You cannot create mirrored volumes or RAID-5 volumes on Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP 64-Bit Edition-based computers.

That being said i do recall seeing a hack to enable raid5 on windows pro....but who knows how stable it actually is.

But anyway, I won't change OS just because of linux software raid.

Yeah that's a different matter. I wouldn't run it on my only machine either....I still need/prefer windows for a lot of stuff. That being said, since I've moved to linux on the fileserver, it's been a heck of a lot less hastle. Samba really does do a better job then windows.

-Chris

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Software RAID5 on Linux is cheap...

217783[/snapback]

Yeah, just as cheap as software raid on windows...

I wouldn't want a software raid 5 because of the bad performance and because I wouldnä't feel safe at all knowing that the array might blow up during a simple OS failure. And yes, those do happen to linux as well.

Anyhow, I'm leaning towards getting a cheap fileserver for all my backup needs and ditch the raid on my workstation.

217784[/snapback]

This is a bit off-topic as Linux seems to be out of the question anyways, but my experience with Linux software RAID is that it is:

a ] faster than hardware RAID in all but the most expensive high-end scenarios

b ] more easily managed remotely: especially with many cheaper semi-hardware-RAID cards that require you to boot into their BIOS for some operations (which is a pain - there should be no need to reboot)

c ] more recoverable: a hardware RAID controller failure, or moving drives to another system, usually require exactly the same model hardware RAID card, or at least a compatible card with the same chipset or manufacturer. Recovering or moving a software RAID array only requires that the system can see the array as a bunch or regular old hard drives

d ] more configurable: software RAID lets you combine any block device attached to the computer, not just a specific controller. A great example is something like http://www.drbd.org/, which we use at work to mirror drives real-time between physically seperate computers over GigE. Try that with your 3ware/LSI/Adaptec hardware RAID cards.

Anyways, I'll shut up now :)

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No Quotes, Just this.

http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec....atinum&class=mb

This is the motherboard I have. It has two different on board SATA controllers. The nforce controller does STAT II, raid 0, 1+0. The SI controller does SATA I, raid 0,1,5,0+1. Not too bad.

I'm planning on buying 3 400 or 500 gig drives when i can get them for around $500 total.

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ehum, guess I was wrong about raid 5 on XP then, good thing I never wanted it :)

Although I'll definitly look into what linux has to offer next time (probably won't get a file server right away but hopefully soon), thanks for the info and your experiences.

Mirroring across network gave me some ideas :)

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I would never put RAID 5 on a desktop. Too slow for the OS.

It is cheaper to set up a server with Linux SW RAID 5. All you need is Pentium 2/3, good PSU, 4 drives.

Store your data on the server, OS+temp on desktop, backup OS to server.

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I might save the cost of a good RAID5 controller and just buy and extra disk to create a RAID1+0. I would think you would get better all around performance and potenially better reliability as well. I could be bias as I gave up on RAID5 for smaller arrays years ago.

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