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Raid 0+1, 5 (hardware/software)

Posted on 2005-05-05
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Not sure if this is the right topic area to post this question.

I am a newbie in Raid. Currently, I am running a SBS2k and all backups r on tapes. No raid.

Wondering:
How do i do a hardware raid 0 +1? How does the whole setup goes about?

Software raid. How stable is this as compared to hardware? Understand all my HDD have to be converted to Dynamic for such purpose. Any guides(Url) to assist me on such setup on a 2k server machine?

Using raid 1+0, by any chances if a HDD fails in the process, how does the system responds to it? will the system automatically fall back on the mirrored HDD and allow services to run?

Considering doing a raid5 oso, Is the setup similar to Raid 0+1?

Lastly, Is WinXP pro able to support all raid ( maybe 0, 1, 0+1, 5) functions?

Pardon me if i am asking some obvious or even stupid questions.. I am still exploring. Thanks!!
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Question by:honnie
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by:jimbobmcgee
jimbobmcgee earned 800 total points
ID: 13934313
>> How do i do a hardware raid 0 +1? How does the whole setup goes about?

Install a RAID adaptor, connect the drives and boot up.  At some point, during boot (before the Windows splash starts) you should see the card initialise and a button prompt to setup the drive structure.  Then it depends on your card.  We use a Compaq 5300 RAID/SCSI card at work and it has a nice menu-driven system to create, view or delete logical drives using RAID 0/1/5.  If your card is on-board, you may find these optionsin the BIOS.


>> Software raid. How stable is this as compared to hardware? Understand all my HDD have to be converted to Dynamic for such purpose. Any guides(Url) to assist me on such setup on a 2k server machine?

It works, but I prefer the hardware option.  It's not happened yet but I can't help but think that the software RAID array would rely on Windows being in good working order in the first place.  If I remember correctly, to set it up in Windows 2000, right-click 'My Computer' and choose 'Manage', then go to 'Disk Management'.  You should see your available drives in a block-form.  Right-click one of them and choose 'Upgrade to Dynamic' (might require existing partitions to be removed first).  Once that is done, you should be able to choose 'Create Volume'.  Then follow the wizard.


>> Using raid 1+0, by any chances if a HDD fails in the process, how does the system responds to it? will the system automatically fall back on the mirrored HDD and allow services to run?

It should do.  Then, on booting, the adapter should throw an error.  With our drive array at work, the drives also have an error light on the front of them.  I expect software RAID will throw a dialog box, or something.


>> Considering doing a raid5 oso, Is the setup similar to Raid 0+1?

It should be just a different option on the card/wizard.  You'll need at least three drives to pull it off, though, but the disk usage cost is less (at RAID1, with two drives at 33GB, you get 33GB of usable space -- 100% cost.  At RAID5, with three drives of 33GB you get about 66GB -- 33% cost)


>> Lastly, Is WinXP pro able to support all raid ( maybe 0, 1, 0+1, 5) functions?

I think XP only does software RAID0 but if you get a hardware solution, Windows should just recognise your logical disks as a basic disk.


HTH

J.
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by:
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 13934442
> How do i do a hardware raid 0 +1? How does the whole setup goes about?

This depends entirely on the raid controller you are using. They usually have a software tool which is in the firmware of the adapter and is started similar like when you enter the bios of your PC, using a key combination at the right time of the booting process. This software can normally be upgraded and is often easy to setup.

> Software raid. How stable is this as compared to hardware?

It is stable enough, but difficult to manage and uses plenty of system resources. The system will slowdown, and you can't properly use software raid for your System. In the Windows world it only works on Server OS's (there may be 3rd party programs to get it running on non server OS's, though). It is less of a problem in the 'nix world.

> Using raid 1+0, by any chances if a HDD fails in the process, how does the system responds to it?

Raid 0 alone will just stop that array from working. If your OS resides on that array, the PC will crash. Raid 1 upwards you get a message about the degraded raid if you have installed the accompanying (windows) software of the raid controller and also have loaded this software residant. The system can slowdown. When booting a bad array you also get a message about the array being degraded, and normally you are asked what you intend to do (try rebuilding, keep on booting etc). It again depends on the controller you are using and how that software works. In some raid systems you can also configure a "hot spare", this drive then automatically takes over from the bad drive. It will of course take some time until rebuild is finished. Also, good array controllers allow you to hot swap a drive while the system is running, so you don't have any downtime.

> Considering doing a raid5 oso, Is the setup similar to Raid 0+1?

This again depends on the controller and it's software..., but yes, normally it is similar.

> Lastly, Is WinXP pro able to support all raid ( maybe 0, 1, 0+1, 5) functions?

Using hardware raid, yes.
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by:mightofnight
mightofnight earned 200 total points
ID: 13940170
I have a current software raid i set it up 2.5 years ago on a windows 2000 server to test it's dependablility....

well conclusiong..
still running strong and it has been through 3 complete OS install and they were ported over to an whole new boxx i initinally keept them connected in the same order and to the same controller card but i have later changed all that and i have then currently installed them both on different controllers.  So my conculsion software raid is as stable as the hard drives.. though i do prefer hardware do to it's offloading of resources.. but the nice thing with software raid is it's not dependentant on propority hardware.

I could be wrong but it's my belif that if the hard ware controller dies and you cant get a replacement model then i belive it that your data will be forever inacessable i could be wrong on that though..
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by:honnie
ID: 13942600
jimbobmcgee,

Forget to mention, I am oso running 2kserver (DIY) using IDE HDD. Will the Raid card u mentioned able to connect IDE HDD rather than SCSI? Can i still remain my HDD as basic instead of changing it to dynamic?

rindi,

Seems that using hardware raid is better. When i mention on raid 0 +1, I am actually thinking of having 4 HDDs, 2 HDD will be perform raid -0 (stripping) to increase performance while having another 2 HDD to perform raid - 1 (mirroring) to act as a backup. By any chance if my primary HDD failed, will the system automatically fall back on the 2 mirror HDD? Maybe my concept is wrong, if so, kindly pls enlighten me.

U mentioned "hot spare"... i suppose this only works if u r using raid - 5 .. am i rite?

If I am not using hardware Raid... am i rite to say that XP will only support raid 0 and 1?
Will i be able to configure raid 0+1 in XP using OS tools management function?


mightofnight ,

Wao... if the controller dies... the data will be inaccessable... can someone confirm on this? I dun wish to be in tat situation.... ;p

Lastly, I have found quite a no. of sites with good explaination of raid .. but i couldnt find any good sites with good setup instruction/guide for raid (be it hardware or software). Will anyone be able to share some good links available??

Thanks!!!
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by:rindi
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 13943602
OK, first, if the controller dies, most controllers of the same manufacturer and certainly the same model, will retain your data. This may not be true with cheap models or if you use a cheap mainboard with built-in raid.
Also, one reason I don't advise using software raid is that it isn't "hotswapping" and as far as I know it doesn't give you the possibility of a "hot spare". Hotswapping might in certain cases be possible if your hardware supports that, but usually if your hardware does support that then you almost certainly have raid capable hardware already, and then there is no reason not to use that.

With raid 0+1 the system should work as before, except one drive is missing. The performance plus should still be there (performance will drop when you replace the bad drive, because then rebuilding process will use up some resources). So you are correct in your above assumption.

A hot spare can work with all types of raid which support redundancy (raid 0 won't support hot spares). But, it is a feature with the raid controller will have to support, so it depends on the hardware.

As long as you can get a driver for the raid controller for the OS you want to use it for, that OS will support any hardware raid, so also raid 5 should work with XP. The same applies for the tools, they may or may not have been written to run with your OS, so this also depends on the hardware. The tools built into the firmware of the raidcontroller themselves aren't OS dependant, so if some tools don't run under your OS, you can still use the firmware based tools (accessible when booting).

I think the best instructions and setup guides are in the manuals for the raid controllers themselves, so I suggest you visit some manufacturer sites, select the controller you may want to buy and download the appropriate manual (usually in pdf format), and read through it. Here you're better off reading those manuals of the more expensive controllers, but also have a look at those manuals of the controller you intend to buy, that way you'll see how easy or difficult this particular controller may be to setup...
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by:honnie
ID: 13943680
Rindi,

I get your point. Thanks. btw, is there any recommandation from ure side for the brand/model of raid controller ( both IDE/SCSI ) Thanks!
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by:jimbobmcgee
jimbobmcgee earned 800 total points
ID: 13943695
>> Will the Raid card u mentioned able to connect IDE HDD rather than SCSI?

If you get an IDE RAID controller (like some of the on-board ones), yes.


>> Can i still remain my HDD as basic instead of changing it to dynamic?

Not in software (OS) RAID.  If you use a hardware card, you won't use dynamic because the card makes the logical volume look like a basic disk.


>> Seems that using hardware raid is better. When i mention on raid 0 +1, I am actually thinking of having 4 HDDs

If you've got four disks, I'd go with RAID5 -- you get more space, using striping and parity-checking.  I think you only lose the space in one drive for the process, rather than half of them in RAID0+1


>> U mentioned "hot spare"... i suppose this only works if u r using raid - 5 .. am i rite?

Depends on the card -- mine has a hot spare function and it works for RAID0/0+1/1/5.  It's basically just a drive that is in the array but not used until it is needed.  


>> Will anyone be able to share some good links available??

http://h200001.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/UCR/SupportManual/TPM_189488-6/TPM_189488-6.pdf puts it nice and simply (again for the card I use).


>> Wao... if the controller dies... the data will be inaccessable... can someone confirm on this? I dun wish to be in tat situation.... ;p

http://h18002.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/11540_na/11540_na.HTML is the card we use.  It has a battery backup that maintains power to the memory if there's a controller/power failure (like a motherboard CMOS) but, yes, I expect that if the card fails, the logical drive structure is lost.  

I've disconnected, reconnected, hot-swapped and hot-plugged one of these cards for weeks on end and it still retains my drive structure.

Saying that, the drives will still physically have the data written to them, you might be able to get at it in a WinPE environment (http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/).

J.
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by:jimbobmcgee
jimbobmcgee earned 800 total points
ID: 13943701
>> If I am not using hardware Raid... am i rite to say that XP will only support raid 0 and 1?

I think only RAID0, not mirroring.  Mirroring is for servers only.


>> Will i be able to configure raid 0+1 in XP using OS tools management function?

Right-click 'My Computer', then choose 'Manage'.  Then click 'Disk Management' and play around in there.

J.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 13943738
Adaptec I think are good controllers for SCSI as well as SATA or IDE (I'd reccommend SATA over IDE).

http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/product/prodtechindex.html?cat=/Technology/RAID+Controllers&source=menu

For SATA and IDE promise controllers aren't bad and also good in price.

http://www.promise.com/product/segment_lv2list.asp?segment=RAID%205%20HBAs

Areca also makes good SATA and IDE Raid controllers, maybe a bit more pricey than promise, and as far as I know they are the only ones which have PCI Express controllers:

http://www.areca.com.tw/products/html/pcie-sata.htm
http://www.areca.com.tw/products/html/pcix-sata.htm

My experiance hasen't been too good with hoghpoint controllers, but they are probably the cheapest.

Then of course you can get a lot of mainboards which integrate SATA Raid and sometimes IDE and SCSI Raid as well, But I think addon cards are usually more reliable.

As for the models themselves, it depends on what you need, I don't think I can help out in too much in that way, you'll have to check the product descriptions on the sites.
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by:honnie
ID: 13946090
Thanks guys.. guess i will have alot to read up first with all e links u guys provided.

jimbobmcgee ,

>> Seems that using hardware raid is better. When i mention on raid 0 +1, I am actually thinking of having 4 HDDs

If you've got four disks, I'd go with RAID5 -- you get more space, using striping and parity-checking.  I think you only lose the space in one drive for the process, rather than half of them in RAID0+1

Yes.. i totally agreed on your point. *wat am i thinking??*
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by:rindi
ID: 13946670
There are advantages of raid 0+1.

two disks can fail at once, if it's the correct two. Overall speed may be a little higher compared with a raid 5 with a minimum of disks.
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by:rindi
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Thanks
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