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Raid setup -> which option is better

Posted on 2003-03-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a file sharing "workstation" (not server) with following config:

2.4GHz CPU
1.0GMB RAM
4 x 200GB ATA100 HDD (8MB cache)
On broad 4 x USB 2.0 ports
PCI card Promise FastTrak SX4000 (4 channel Ultra ATA adapter)

Which method you will use to form a 2 x 200GB mirror disk?

1. Connect 4 HDDs to the USB 2.0 (install externally), then form a software mirror by using W2K server.
2. Connect 4 HDDs to the RAID controller (install internally), then form a hardware mirror.

My supervisor's concern is the ease of faulty disk replacement. (Hot swap removable rack for RAID controller are too expensive, compare with the price of external USB HDD box).

I'm found there is many description about USB 2.0 & IDE RAID statndard. Any URL contains their comparsion under the same environment? Please advise.
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Question by:tomtomthecat
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11 Comments
 
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CRAK earned 600 total points
ID: 8211372
In all tests that I've seen so far, individual IDE drives perform better than USB2 drives. (Firewire does too!)
Logically, IDE RAID would perform better ther USB2-RAID.
Another consideration is that hardware RAID performs better than software RAID.
Can't advice you on hot-swap though...
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by:CRAK
ID: 8211382
Sorry... forgot to mention: I only have those tests on paper and in dutch.
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Author Comment

by:tomtomthecat
ID: 8211429
Thanks Crak for quick response! Actually I do agree with you and previous I have setup similar workstation by using hardware RAID. The 1st approach is just for testing. If I have some quantified figure, I can skip to do the setup...
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 8212150
I would have to vote for the second option...IDE and hardware-based RAID is going to beat out USB2.0/software any day of the week (and have lower overhead on your fileserver also).  USB tends to get a bit bogged down when you're accessing more than 1 device at a time (and in fact I think you can only access one device at a time; not positive of this though).  I haven't found anything much about USB2.0 RAID, but here is a comparison of IDE and Firewire ATA133 RAID setups (its on a Mac system, but the numbers should be fairly portable):
http://www.barefeats.com/fire33.html
http://www.miglia.com/products/storage/mediabank_mtr/index.html

-dog*
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8212293
You are doing a 0+1 raid right?  Use the controller, anything else would be nutty.  And like dog and crak said it is going to be faster.  If a disk fails, shut it down, pull it out, and put a new one in.  not like it takes along time.
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by:droswell
ID: 8212660
What's wrong with raid 5? You'll still have data redundancy and better performance. It's one of the benefits of the SX4000 (bought the card a week ago, and I plan to have 4 120GB IDE drives in Raid 5).
Just a thought,
Dan
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Expert Comment

by:rrhunt28
ID: 8212927
Well yes raid 5 would be better than 0+1, however typically costs quite a bit more...

That is the reason i said 0+1, because it seemed he did not want to spend alot of money.
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by:droswell
ID: 8212948
But the SX4000 is capable, and drive costs would bviously remains the same. SO they allready spent the money, they just have to implement it :)
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8212976
Oh well then yes, if the raid card they have will do raid 5 ofcorse that is the way to go.  We use raid 5 on our servers, but we use 6 drives that are hot swapable.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8213001
And, like i said, you can pull out a hard drive easy enough even from inside a case.  Check out antec's file server cases too, they are cheap, and have removable drive bays.
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 8219142
"My supervisor's concern is the ease of faulty disk replacement"

It takes a very slow person 2 minutes with a screwdriver to replace a dead internal disk.  A mirror type RAID can happily work on only one disk until everyone goes home for the day.  

"Hot swap removable rack for RAID controller are too expensive"

Do your pricing research a little better:

http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufactory&catalog=43&manufactory=1640&DEPA=1&sortby=14&order=1
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