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What is the best RAID configuration for a mail server?

I am planning on purchasing a new Dell PowerEdge server with 3 hard drives.  The operating system will be Linux and this server will be our mail server (100-150 users).  I know RAID 1 or 5 levels are best for a fault-tolerance solution, but can the root file system and/or /usr file system be placed on RAID 5 disk? Do I need to mirror the root file system? What would be the best RAID configuration and can someone give me step by step instructions on how to do this?



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dee43
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dee43
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jlevieCommented:
From a reliability stand point RAID 5 on a fast hardware RAID controller would be ideal. However if you are using software RAID I'd stick with RAID 1 for I/O speed and throughput. And yes in both of those cases the entire system can be located on the RAID and should be. In a RAID 1 config I'd keep the third drive as a spare.

For RAID 5 I'd want an additional drive in the config as a hot spare. Performance falls dramatically if a volume member goes out and the RAID controller can rebuilt onto the hot spare and get the performance back up.
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GnsCommented:
To all practical intents and purposes RAID1 (preferably HW:-) is always best from both a reliability and performance viewpoint. Trouble is that it's expensive (you don't use more than half your drives for productive purposes), so this is where conveniance things like R5 come in.
Having a HotSpare, and using a HotPluggable setup is always good, but again perhaps expensive.
So it's all about money:-).

-- Glenn
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dee43Author Commented:
jlevie,

 I am going to go with a RAID 5 configuration on a hardware RAID controller (3 disks) but I need a good "How to" document that gives step by step instruction on how to set it up?  

Dee

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jlevieCommented:
It if you have a hardware RAID 5 it's real simple. Configure a single RAID 5 volume in the BIOS setup, which will then show up to Linux as a single drive. Partition that as desired when installing Linux. On a RedHat system I'd do something along the lines of:

/boot           100Mb
/                  6000Mb
swap          1000Mb-2000Mb (more is safer)
/var            2000Mb
/var/spool free space
/home        1000-2000Mb

The mail store will be in /var/spool, so make it big.
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dee43Author Commented:
Is it that simple?  Thanks!
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jlevieCommented:
Yep it is...
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