Raid 1 Question

I am using Dell Servers with Perc 5i controllers. This is a windows environment. I have had another Raid 5 failure (two drives failed simultaneously) and am thinking of switching to Raid 1 (mirroring). What I was wondering was if this virtual drive (2 mirrored 1 TB HDs) will be formatted NTFS. If the raid fails for some reason (one drive failure) will I be able to take the failed drive out of the backplane and read it's contents on another computer.  Or even if I shut the computer down, remove 1 of the mirrored HDs, can I put this HD into an esata drive bay and read it's contents?  Thanks.
mdoolittleAsked:
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DavidPresidentCommented:
My assumption is that you want to read the data without running any special software or the same RAID controller???

There is metadata starting at physical block #0 of the HDD. Your O/S will determine that this means there is no data on the HDD and it needs to be formatted.

So within the context of your question, the answer is no.  It won't work.
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mdoolittleAuthor Commented:
So i can't use the mirroring to make an offsite backup for example. Swap disks every once in a while. That stinks.  I am searching for a way to have redundancy of data on my server HDs that does not involve special hardware to read it.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Then don't use a hardware RAID controller, especially for RAID1.  The native windows host-based RAID1 will let you do what you want.

But this is still risky.  What if you break the mirror then have an unreadable block? You have data loss.  So you ended up destroying your perfectly fine, safe RAID1 and destroying your redundancy to create a backup.

If you really want safety, then buy 2 more disks, put them in that same controller, and then use windows software RAID1 to keep the 2 pairs of disks mirrored.  Then you have zero risk of data loss and still have a good backup.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
... plus the software RAID1 will give you near DOUBLE read performance, because windows software RAID has load balancing.  Due to the RAID controller's write cache then resyncing will have nominal performance hit.

Plus added bonus, your effectively end up with a 4-drive RAID1 so that is a configuration that likely survive every one of Murphy's laws ;)
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