RAID Level for ACT running on SQL Server 2008

thumky used Ask the Experts™
I'm building a low cost server for an ACT Database and website.  Low volume only 10-15 users.  ACT is built on top of SQL Server 2008.  Okay, so i'm spec-ing out hardware and trying to save money since this isn't really a mission critical application for us.  Hoping to buy only 4 SATA 6GB/s drives.

Do you guys think i should setup two mirrored RAID 1 arrays?  ( one for OS one for database )
OR run all 4 disks in a single RAID 10 array

I guess Option 1 is more standard but i'm curious to see how Option 2 will perform...  The focus here is performance since either option is reliable enough for the situation

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In a 10 you'd have the benefit of the 2x write speed, however you're probably better off with a seperate drive for the data.  Since it's a low volume scenario I don't know that you're going to see much of a difference regardless of which set up you use.  Being that they're SATA's however I'd almost recommend using a RAID 5 with 4 drives as you'll have the gain in performance on the Read to almost match the performance of a RAID 10 oon the read end.  I run all SATA RAIDs at my branch offices that are somewhat heavy on SQL and have stuck with RAID 5 as I do occasionally lose a drive and have found that the temporary loss in performance with a degraded array is fine as I can have someone swap in another drive, or with enough bays mainatain a hotswap.  I've found that for us the SATA drives last on average 1 year when using enterprise class WD drives.  

If you are cost "conscious" but want a bit better performance; the RAID1 won't give you the performance you needed especially when there is a database involved.

When you mentioned "isn't critical application for us", does it mean that you can loose the database without impacting your business?

I would go with 6 HDDs.  The first 2 drives will configure as RAID1 when the OS will be installed.  The other 4 will configure as RAID 5 where you database is residing.  That would give you a bit better performance and some redundancy.

RAID 10 has better performance than RAID 1; in addition, RAID 10 gives you some fault tolerance as well.

Either one you choose, you should have some sort of backup procedures in place.
Cameron YoungIT Manager
I would throw the OS on one mirrored set, the database data files on one mirrored set and the database transaction log files on one mirrored set for a total of 6 HDDs. The more spindles, the better generally as long as your disk controller can handle the throughput, otherwise it's all a mute point.


RAID 1 (mirror drives) run a lot slower than any other RAID.  I think that he is looking at better performance here.  Mirror drives are basically replicating each other; your data is being written into two places and definitely will slow down the read and write process.


My question was regarding 4 drives... 6 drives is a little easier.  But thx for the input folks.

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