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Mirror RAID IDE->IDE or IDE->SATA ok?

I'm building up a new server. It will run Win 2003 Server OS.
2 - 120gb IDE's
2-4 - 200gb SATA
I'm running the on-board SATA controller in Basic Mode, I.e. no RAID used on the Mother board.
Raid configuration will be via the OS

The question: For the OS I will partition 60gb or so and use RAID1. Should I mirror it to the other IDE drive or a partition on an SATA drive?

For data I'll use RAID5, again inside the OS. Can (and should I) use partitions in only the SATA drives or is using IDE and SATA in a mixture ok.

I'm thinking of 60gb partitions on all drives for the RAID5 and another set using the balance of the SATA's. If I go 4, I will leave 1 as hot spare if Win2003 will make use of it. If not I'll add it to the array.

Hopefully I'm making some sense. I'm currently reading all the other postings re RAID and 2003 but thought I'd ask my specific in the meantime.

Should I be using the controllers/motherboard raid capabilities? I've been bitten a few times by hardware changes making a raid mirror useless, hence the apprehension.

Thanks in advance for your help

1 Solution
Steve McCarthy, MCSE, MCSA, MCP x8, Network+, i-Net+, A+, CIWA, CCNA, FDLE FCIC, HIPAA Security OfficerIT Consultant, Network Engineer, Windows Network Administrator, VMware AdministratorCommented:
For the absolute best performance, a hardware RAID will always beat a software RAID solution.  If you have decided to do it all in the software, then you should match your drives.  So, if I were going to have my 60gb on a SATA drive, then I would want to mirror it to the SATA drive.  If you are using the IDE, then RAID it to another IDE, preferably the same type of drive. That way you will get the best performance out of the software RAID.  Once again, for the RAID 5, go with like drives and you will have the best performance.  If you have 2 fast ones and a slow one on the RAID 5, your speed will be governed by your slowest drive.

If you want the best speed, hardware RAID is the way to go.  I've used the SATA Raid and Promise RAID on ASUS boards and they have been pretty solid, as well as Adaptec IDE Raid Controllers and the Promise TX series RAID controllers.
Go with hardware RAID. It will make your life much easier. Recovering from a software RAID corruption is easier with Win2K3 but still a nightmare, especially if the first drive is the one that dies. Use hardware RAID, design it right from the beginning and if a drive dies, replace it and go on your way. The RAID controller will rebuild it for you, no overhead processor load.
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