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Raid 5 - HW vs Linux conf?

Posted on 2008-11-03
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I am building a Raid 5 server to "secure" my data. It is going to be a Linux system with an AMD 64 X2.

The initial idea was to use the built in Raid 5 support on the mother board. But then I thought what will happen if the motherboard breaks down. Will it be possible to get a new one and save the data? Does it have to be the exact same kind, etc, etc? In this aspect, would it be better to let the Linux system handle all the Raid 5 configuration? If so, what will happen to performance?
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Question by:obg
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ravenpl earned 250 total points
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Since the onboard raid5 is so called bios-raid or fake-raid, please go with linux software raid.
CPU usage is the same (as bios-raid does the xor calculation with main cpu anyway)
The advantage is that moving drives to different sata controller saves Your raid configuration.
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by:obg
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Thanks ravenpl! This kind of comment is definately what I was looking for. I will leave it open for a little bit longer though, if somebody has any objections or additional info.
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by:jools
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Agree with ravenpl.... sound advice IMHO.

Who could possibly object! :-)

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by:obg
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Well, I don't know. That's why I asked in the first place... ;)

It would be great to hear some real life experiences... Is it stupid to have a set of five identical disks? (- If they all break down att the same time.) Well, that's not part of the original question.
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by:jools
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For it to work at it's best, they should all be identical.

If they all break down at the same time I'd go and buy a lottery ticket....wot are the chances of that??!

The following is just my 2p, FWIW I think ravenpl has covered the basics off...
I use software raid on a server 2x18G RAID 1 and 4 x 300GB Raid 10, I also use LVM, Whilst the server is not really heavily used it has been rock solid and I've not had any performance problems thus far. The RAID has been configured as software raid.

I would use hardware raid if the server configuration called for it but only if the drivers were available that correctly reported the RAID status to the kernel. By hardware RAID, I mean a separate RAID controller.

I would not use the on board RAID controller supplied by any motherboard, this is not because they are unreliable, especially in a windows environment, I just dont see the benefit, as mentioned above, the CPU or onboard chipset will do the processing anyway but it will still not be as good as a decent hardware raid controller (not forgetting the possibly driver issue mentioned above. It's just my own personal preference.

For the systems that I do use hardware RAID, I know that if the raid controllers go bad, I can slip another one in and it will be fine. I don't know if this is the case with onboard raid, it could mean trying to find another motherboard with the same raid controller and the same firmware rev.

apologies if I waffled on a bit...

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