Raid 1 or Disk Image with SSD Drive

Posted on 2012-08-30
Last Modified: 2012-09-08
I have built a new system for work.  I have two 128 GB SSD drives and a 256 GB SSD drive.  

In the past I have used Hardware based Raid 1 on mechanical drives and it has saved my butt many times.  The primary advantage is that I do not have to reinstall and activate all of my software (much of which is propritary & requires manual activation & a fee) upon a drive failure.

My plan was to use Software Based Raid 1 on the 128 GB SSD's--due to the lack of trim support on hardware based Raid 1 (to the best of my knowledge), and the 256 GB for other frequently accessed software and data.  Now I am left wondering if maybe a daily disk image would not be better due to the possibility of increased preformance.

FYI, I also do file backups to an external Hard Drive and NAS.  I am running Windows 7, Asus P8Z77-V Pro, 16 GB RAM, i7 3.5 Ghz processor.

Please provide comments/suggestions/opinions regarding the best backup solutions.  I welcome comments on file backup solutions, but my primary concern is protection against drive failure without having to reinstall the OS and Software.  I use Acronis.

Question by:VTE_TECH
    LVL 38

    Assisted Solution

    by:Aaron Tomosky
    Acronis to an external is perfect. Don't raid 1 your ssd's. Windows on one, apps on another, data on the third would be the fastest setup. Use Acronis to back it all up to an external.
    LVL 46

    Accepted Solution

    Do raid1 your SSDs.  This provides data integrity, and with Win7 software RAID (I assume), you will get a huge bump in read performance due to the load balancing.  There is no significant host overhead with software RAID.

    In fact, you will get better performance with software RAID then most hardware RAID controllers.  They can't keep up with the IOPs.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the suggestions.  I have no data on the drives yet, so I decided to try the mirroring option first.  However, I ran into a problem.  The system reserves a 100mb partition for bitlocker and system files.  I can not get this to mirror, and don't feel comfortable doing away with it.  Any suggestions on this issue?  Thanks!
    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    you need a few MB free at the end of the drive. Shrink partitions down a bit to free up space then try again.

    Author Comment

    I shrinked the reserved partition by the total available (16mb).  I still get the error "no extents were found for the plex".  Any other ideas?  Thanks!!!

    Assisted Solution

    I figured the mirror problem out.  The system reserved partition must be mirrored first.  The only thing is, when I went back to "extend" the partition to add the 16 MB back in it would only allow me to add 15 MB.  My only question remaining is:  Should I reinstall Windows--to make sure I have a good clean, functioning install--due to all of the shrinking, extending, and adding/removing mirrors?  Thanks!!!

    Assisted Solution

    I decided to do a re-install--just to be certain--as I don't have any data on the drive yet, and the time investment is minimal.  Just for future reader's information...I should have removed the mirror prior to attempting the re-install.  However, I had created an image using Windows 7, and decided to restore to it--just to try it out.  It worked flawlessly.  Thanks for all the help guys!!!
    I appreciate everyone's opinion.

    Author Closing Comment


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