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How to best RAID a Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

Posted on 2013-01-06
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Last Modified: 2013-02-05
Box has 4*300GB 10k disks.

The server will mainly function as a file-server.

First install - the HP server autoconfigured itself as one big array (raid5) over all the 4 drives (837GB)

What is the best way of building this and why?
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Question by:tsnirone
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traoher earned 63 total points
ID: 38748918
Normally, if you have a 5 disk configuration, people will split into a mirror os drive (2 disk) and use the remain 3 as data disk using RAID 5.

Since you have only 4 disks, do RAID 5 at the hardware level.  However, split the volume into two partitions one for the OS and one for DATA.  The idea is that you want to be able to restore your data without destroying your OS and vice versa.  

Good luck.
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by:tsnirone
ID: 38748927
Thanks!

So, within os make a simple volume?

How much total space should C:\ have approx ?
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by:gmbaxter
gmbaxter earned 188 total points
ID: 38748961
4 Disks in Raid 5 will give you 900 GB (1 disk will be used as parity) less the formatting losses hence the 837 GB you first encountered.

I would allow 80-100GB for the OS create this as a partition, and leave the remaining amount as another partition for data.

You should really have a spare disk in the raid set, so buy another disk and allocate it as spare.
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by:gmbaxter
gmbaxter earned 188 total points
ID: 38748966
Yes to the make a simple volume question by the way.
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by:dlethe
dlethe earned 125 total points
ID: 38748969
Best is subjective.  Basically it is a performance vs. reliability/availability issue vs capacity.  

If one cares about performance above all else, go RAID10.  If you care about data availability and redundancy WHEN a HDD fails or has unrecoverable read errors, then go RAID6.  

a 4-disk RAID5 has less performance and less data redundancy than RAID10, but the gain  is capacity.  

RAID6:  Wins reliability/availability, last in performance, ties for last in capacity w RAID10
RAID5:  wins capacity 2nd place in performance, 2nd in reliability/availability
RAID10: wins performance, 2nd in reliability/availability, ties for last in capacity w RAID6
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by:Tony Giangreco
Tony Giangreco earned 124 total points
ID: 38749005
I agree with traoher regarding a raid 5 configuration. We use raid 5 on all servers for 50 or less users. I also suggest adding one drive as a Global Hot Spare. If one drive goes bad, it's quick and safe to have a spare already inplace to replace a failing drive.

Hope this helps!
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by:dlethe
dlethe earned 125 total points
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One can still have data loss in a RAID5 configuration if a disk fails.  All it takes is one unreadable block in the surviving drives (or another HDD failure).   Remember, you are exposed for a good half day, or longer if system is busy. With larger drives, you could be sweating out a week-end.

RAID6 provides a 2nd parity drive to protect against data loss.  A hot spare just saves you the time it takes to kick off a rebuild.  

No matter what, RAID-anything is also no substitute for backup or archiving offsite.
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by:Tony Giangreco
Tony Giangreco earned 124 total points
ID: 38749034
Yes, that is why we use a Global hot Spare. if you setup notifications of specific HOT situatins like an email and text sent to you if a disk problem occurs, you can respond promptly and activate the hot spare.
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by:tsnirone
ID: 38749221
Thanks everyone! :)

So after adding a spare drive I would not use Win but HP raid software (HP ML350p Gen8) to configure it as a spare right?

Tips on how to spread out the points for this question is greatly appreciated....is there a "best practice" on how to divide the points in cases like this?
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Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 38749390
Appointing points can only be decided by you.  After determining who provided the most usefull information, you award or divide as you think.

I'm glad I could help! Good luck with your new server.
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by:tsnirone
ID: 38751849
So after adding a spare drive one would not use Windows Server but HP raid software (HP ML350p Gen8) to configure it as a spare right?
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by:gmbaxter
gmbaxter earned 188 total points
ID: 38752486
Yes, you would use the raid software - either via the BIOS menu, or download the HP Array Configuration utility (ACU) to do the operation from within Windows.
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by:tsnirone
ID: 38752528
I simply gave everyone points - all good feedback so... :)

Thanks guys!
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