Need expert advice on LSI RAID card configuration


 I recently purchased an LSI MegaRAID SATA/SAS 9260-4i 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0 w/ 512MB onboard memory RAID Controller Card  for a new build. This new machine will have X4 1TB HDD with Windows Server 2008. I can configure it with the manual no problems but I would like an expert advice on what would be the best configuration for my build, for example, best Strip Size, which Access policy, Read Policy, etc.

Thanks in advance.

-VMware - XP/Win7/Ubuntu/
-will run 24x7x365
-stream movies/musik
-home backup server
-I would like RAID 10 or 6 (which is best)

i7 2600K
12GB RAM G.Skill 1600

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Greg HejlPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
raid 10 for four drives, proper setup for raid 6 is five drives,  any kind of raid that uses parity has a read/write penalty.

accept the defaults for the rest - if your drive was just for movies making the strip size larger would be appropriate but since you are also storing smaller music files and probably using the server as a backup the default setting covers all file sizes.

if you make this setting for large files, small files will use a lot more space on the drive.

the write policy is how the drive uses write caching.  if you have absolutely no doubts that your server could lose power during a write operation you could change this setting - i Never do, ever.
RAID 10 will give you 2 TB capacity.  Sounds like you are setting this up for a home system where performance is probably not the top concern.
I would just use RAID 5 configuration to get 3 TB of space.  For a home setup RAID 5 should be fine for performance and it gives you the most space to cost ratio.

RAID6 just gives more redundancy.  The odds of 2 drives failing is pretty low (but I have seen it happen on old servers).  Make sure you enable the audible warning (beep) for a failed disk and replace the drive if it fails.  

Normally I just leave the default settings for stripe size, etc.  Unless I need to try and get a little more performance or optimize the disk.  Your screen shot shows an 8 kb stripe size, That is too small in my opinion.  I would go to something larger like 128 kb +.  Stripe size is how big a chunk gets written to each disk when splitting up the file to each disk in the RAID
Also, I agree about leaving the write cache off, unless if your RAID card has an on-card battery backup on it - then I would enable it.
Greg HejlPrincipal ConsultantCommented:

all the reasons to Never use raid 5.

you will lose your array, it's never a matter of if - just a matter of when. you will lose your entire movie/music/photos/documents collection.  

in my experience the failures always occur during a rebuild after a drive failure - the disk activity is too much for consumer grade drives.
Consumer grade drives won't work properly anyway, whatever RAID level they have. But perhaps they are near-line SAS ones which, although slow, will run 24x7 and are supported on RAID controllers.
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