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RAID Advice

Posted on 2009-04-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I am ordering a server with 4 450GB 15k RPM drives for our new Exchange server.  Should I setup RAID 5 with a fail over or RAID 0 + 1.  What is best?
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Question by:jmkotman
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by:Andres Perales
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Do you want redundancy or performance?
For redundancy use RAID 5 for performance RAID 0,
best setup would be separate RAID containers, one for logs one for DB, then separate for Operating System
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ccomley earned 500 total points
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How much "useable" storage space do you need once you have it up and running? How many exchange users will there be? Is this just an Exchange server or also being used for file sharing, etc? Do you want separate physical volumes for MDBDATA and Transaction Logs? (I assume it's not just an ES front-end or none of this would really matter.) If it's an ES with Storage, then that'll presumably be by far its busiest workload.

All four drives in a single RAID5 will give you 3x450Gb usable space (minus formatting overhead of course) as a single volume which will be reasonably fast and will survive the loss of a single drive.

Two mirrored pairs will give you 2x450Gb in two separate volumes, either of which can stand the loss of a single platter. Performance overall is notionally slower than with RAID5 BUT because you can now put the MDBDATA on one volume and the transaction logs on another, you're dividing the workload across the two volumes at application level, so the end result should be similar.

I always prefer separate Log drives where the budget allows.  If the customer's pockets are deep enough, I like a three or four drive RAID5 for the MDBDATA and a mirrored pair for the logs.
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