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Question about RAID and Terminal Server

Posted on 2008-06-12
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Last Modified: 2008-06-12
We currently are running a RAID 5 Setup on our Poweredge 2850 Terminal Server.  I am looking at ordering new replacement server for the 2850.  I was curious is RAID 5 or RAID 1 the way to go?  I also run a SQLSERVER and would like to know same for it.  Basically what is going to give me the best performance with the least downtime.  Thanks!!
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Question by:gsoutherland
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Forrest Burris earned 50 total points
ID: 21769914
RAID 5 is always the best option barring money isn't a huge option. I'm sure you're using SCSI or SATA RAID with atleast 10k RPM drives. The redundancy RAID 5 offers is phenomenal. It is by far the best RAID Array you can have for consistant uptime. If a drive goes out you can replace it without having to rebuild your OS.
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by:gsoutherland
ID: 21770073
Should I put Raid 10 in the equation?
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by:akirhol
akirhol earned 75 total points
ID: 21770085
The primary thing to look at when deciding between a RAID 1 and RAID 5 is the amount of storage you want. A RAID 1 and RAID 5 both have the same redundancy and arguably similar performance unless you are talking about 4+ disk RAID 5s. You have to ask yourself though, do you want two 73GB drives in a RAID 1 and have 73GB of space, or 3x 73GB drives in a RAID 5 and have ~146GB of space? Or more? It's a question of how much space you want to have.

You'll find that one of the most common setups is a 2 disk RAID 1 for the OS and a 3+ disk RAID 5 for data.
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by:akirhol
ID: 21770117
RAID 10 is not a bad option but you lose half the available space of the drives you put in it. The primary reason anyone goes for a RAID 10 is speed. For a SQL server, unless you have *alot* of continuous access, it would likely be unnecessary. Whether or not it's worth going for just depends on how much the drives will be accessed.
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by:gsoutherland
ID: 21770148
So what if I did Raid 1 with 2x73gb drives for my OS Partition and then a Raid 5 with 3x500gb drives for my data which would give me 1tb for my data.  So many options to choose.  I guess I could also look at getting another fileserver instead of packing my terminal server with data on the raid 5 drive.

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by:akirhol
ID: 21770216
That's not a bad option, though I think you'll be hard pressed to find 500GB SCSI standard drives.
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by:Forrest Burris
ID: 21770327
Now the question is how many users will be connecting? What other roles will the server be involved in? It sounds like it will be your primary server. There is no need to have a separate raid for your OS and data if you're utalizing RAID 1, 5, or 10. Overkill. Just partition it and you'll still have your layer of redundancy. akirhol is right, good luck finding a non astronomically priced 500GB SCSi set.
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by:akirhol
ID: 21770441
"akirhol is right, good luck finding a non astronomically priced 500GB SCSi set."

They also don't exist. :)

300GB is as high as the SCSI standard goes as far as I know. There are some 500GB SAS drives, but while the communication standard is SCSI the internals of the drive is more like a SATA drive, having an RPM of 7200.
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by:gsoutherland
ID: 21770515
sorry bout the 500 was just using example...  how bout 3x146gb !!  

Well my current setup is I have a old pe 1300 that is my domainserver just basically does active directory and dns.

I have a SQL Server pe 2850 4gb dual xeon proc running raid 5 with 4x73gb one is hot spare
the Terminal Server I currently have is exactly like the sql server.

My Sql Server is doing basically just that.. SQL apps
My Terminal server at the moment is hosting about 40 users and also is my fileserver that i share documents and what not on.

The reason for my upgrade is if something was to happen to one of my servers i have no backup plan atm.  I was wanting to purchase another server and have it in house in case something was to happend to my sql or terminal server i could just do quick install of whichever is down and restore my data and get users back up as quick as possible.  I know its not always quick but thats my goal.  I'm looking for virtually no downtime, but in the real world this doesn't happen on a small scale like us.  We have 84 users in all that hit the SQL server, but only about half come in on the terminal server via pt. to pt. T1.  

Sorry if long winded, just trying to figure out the best setup before I go and spend a lot of wasted money.

I should probably look at changing my domainserver as well.  its not even raided and lord knows the mess I would have if it was to go.  And its my oldest server.
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by:Forrest Burris
ID: 21771080
Now you're getting into server clustering and should take that question to a new thread please. It's offtopic. I'm sure there are other experts willing to suggest excellent methods of entire server mirroring, clustering, etc. I hope we were able to better assist you with making a decision with your RAID options.
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by:akirhol
ID: 21771309
Having a standby server has nothing to do with clustering, I'm not sure what Addihul is talking about.

Regarding Active Directory, you should promote your other servers to domain controllers as well. It's a very low resource utilization role and the ability to lose a DC without losing your AD is invaluable.

For 84 users, a standard RAID 5 will likely be fine. But again, it depends on the utilization.
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Author Comment

by:gsoutherland
ID: 21771410
yes i have not mentioned clustering...  so you telling me I should run all my servers as DC's?  I have nother DC offsite that syncs with this one via pt. to pt. T1  So basically 2 dcs in my environment.  I never thought of making them all DCs
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by:akirhol
akirhol earned 75 total points
ID: 21771484
Well the way you worded it made me think you only had the one DC. As long as you do have a backup with an active sync then you should be good, but personally I would run a third as well as long as you think the server can spare the little bit of resources it takes. It's one of those "why not?" things in my opinion. This can come down to personal preference though, got to judge how much redundancy you want.

If your current server is handling the SQL user load fine, I wouldn't bother messing with a RAID 10.
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Author Comment

by:gsoutherland
ID: 21771580
Ok so now i'm thinking you got me on track!!  I'm going to probably order one more server.

PE 2950 III  have two quad core xeons in it, 4 GB ram, and a Raid 5 3x146gb and maybe hotspare.  Partition the OS on the Raid 5 at maybe 30gb and the rest for data.  Then I'll move my current Terminal Server to it just to be on the new server and take my old terminal server and reformat it and make it a Backup / File / DC server.  That gives me new terminal server and extra DC and a place to do my backups and files.  

I think i'm on track now, but I appreciate all the help and knowledge.  Any other suggestions feel free to share!!!!

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