Solved

Enable write back cache on RAID 5 good idea or bad idea

Posted on 2011-09-12
7
936 Views
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I just installed Intel Rapid Storage Technology and can now see what the heck I have been missing all this time. Wow.  Server has been running with no way to monitor the condition of the drives.  Now that I have this Intel utility running, the first question that comes to mind, if I enable the volume write back cache, is that good, bad? What is typically done?  This server has been running with that off, so I am thinking it will improve our wait time on SQL queries?  It is connected to a UPS with about a 2 hour run time, so I don't think power interruption is an issue. Any other considerations before I decide to turn it on?
0
Comment
Question by:rodynetwork
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • +1
7 Comments
 
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

by:
dlethe earned 200 total points
ID: 36526544
don't ennable it on that lowend raid.  too risky for data integrity, it has nothing to do with a ups. issue is how it handles timeouts and retries.
0
 
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Mohammed Rahman
Mohammed Rahman earned 200 total points
ID: 36526669
Can have a look at the article below. It explains what exactly the RAID CACHING is. Also, it highlights pros and cons of it.

http://www.infostor.com/index/articles/display/57025/articles/infostor/volume-3/issue-12/news-analysis-trends/pros-and-cons-of-caching-controllers-in-raid-arrays.html
0
 

Author Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36527042
Our server supports 4 people on a LAN. We use Exchange for email and our desktops use an app that is interfaced via Internet Explorer and it uses SQL database queries all day.  I am wondering what part of cache enabling might cause data loss/corruption. Is it simply the functioning of the RAID, or is it the new data being written, or is it the read only that causes a problem? Is it possible to only enable read cache and not write cache (is that even feasible?) maybe that would eliminate the risk?  Our biggest time lag right now is simply having to wait on SQL queries to make certain pages display all the already written/stored data. If we could turn on the read aspect of the cache, maybe that would speed things up?
0
Comprehensive Backup Solutions for Microsoft

Acronis protects the complete Microsoft technology stack: Windows Server, Windows PC, laptop and Surface data; Microsoft business applications; Microsoft Hyper-V; Azure VMs; Microsoft Windows Server 2016; Microsoft Exchange 2016 and SQL Server 2016.

 
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Mohammed Rahman
Mohammed Rahman earned 200 total points
ID: 36527156
Write-back Cache:
As per the article, whenever the data is recieved from X source to be written on RAID, the data is written on the cache and not on the actual disk. The cache then sends acknowledgement to the X source that the data was written on the disk. However, the data is still on the cache and not on the disk. Cache will take its sweet time to write the data to the disk (as per my inderstanding from the article).

The time required to flush the data from the cache to the actual disk may depend on the amount of data to be flushed onto the disk and the controller (hardware) used. Better the hardware, better the performance.

W have a backup of 2 hours through USP. All we should calculate is the following below:

Amount of data that the cache can handle. (can write on itself before flushing it to he actual disk)
Time taken by the controller to flush entire data from cache to the disk.

If the time taken above exceeds the 2 hours, we may either plan to drop the write-back cache OR increase the backup time.


Write-Thru Mode.

This mode does not utilize the RAID cache for accelerating write I/O requests. In most cases it will be slower than Write-Back mode.
Hence, selecting Write-back over Write-thru will be a good deal (provided, we have a proper electricity backup).

I am wondering what part of cache enabling might cause data loss/corruption? (Looks like the Write Back will result in data loss and crruption in the event of power failure if the time taken by the cache to flush the data to the disk is more than 2 hours)

You can also read write-back vs write-thru and the conclusion from the article below:
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.94.8482&rep=rep1&type=pdf

** After reading all these articles, I would suggest not to turn it ON unless you are expecting drastic improvement in performance. Or, check if we can get any software to benchmark both and take a call.
0
 
LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:dlethe
dlethe earned 200 total points
ID: 36527346
First, you could have another issue .. specifically what HDDs do you have?   But ignoring that for a moment, the RAID controller you have has issues with RAID5 and it is just a low-end controller and simply not suited for multiple error scenarios.   While the write-back/write-through information above is correct, the information does not take into consideration error recovery scenarios when you do not have a battery protected controller.

write back cache can result in data integrity/bit rot issues that make it  unsuitable for RAID5.
0
 
LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 100 total points
ID: 36528991
Like the others, I would advise against using a write back cache if you are not using a hardware RAID controller with battery backup.  The possibility of losing power, even with a UPS, means any data in the cache not yet written will corrupt your database, so I would urge using the most stringent precautions.  You can use a read cache with no problems, and it should be possible to enable it separately.

With only 4 users, your database query problems are probably not due to the hardware, but to the design of the queries.  You might want to ask an SQL question to get the experts their take on it and see if you can optimize them.
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:rodynetwork
ID: 36529424
Good input guys. Thanks for keeping me out of self inflicted trouble!
0

Featured Post

Free camera licenses with purchase of My Cloud NAS

Milestone Arcus software is compatible with thousands of industry-leading cameras for added flexibility. Upon installation on your My Cloud NAS, you will receive two (2) camera licenses already enabled in the software. And for a limited time, get additional camera licenses FREE.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
Dyson bladeless fans: international warranty & anyone mount it on wall/ceiling ? 11 82
Noisy or bad lifters 7 64
Hard Drive surgery 2 7 76
How to size a UPS 2 21
I use more than 1 computer in my office for various reasons. Multiple keyboards and mice take up more than just extra space, they make working a little more complicated. Using one mouse and keyboard for all of my computers makes life easier. This co…
Moving your enterprise fax infrastructure from in-house fax machines and servers to the cloud makes sense — from both an efficiency and productivity standpoint. But does migrating to a cloud fax solution mean you will no longer be able to send or re…
This Micro Tutorial will teach you how to censor certain areas of your screen. The example in this video will show a little boy's face being blurred. This will be demonstrated using Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.
This is used to tweak the memory usage for your computer, it is used for servers more so than workstations but just be careful editing registry settings as it may cause irreversible results. I hold no responsibility for anything you do to the regist…

911 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

17 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now