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Server Storage Setup

Posted on 2013-12-04
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Last Modified: 2013-12-06
Hi Experts!

We currently have a few DL380 G5's hanging around all of which we tested Windows Server 2012R2 and all worked perfectly. Drivers installed and all working well.

These servers have 8 drive bays in which all are populated. They are currently in two RAID 10 arrays. Since these servers will slowly be decommissioned over the course of early 2014 to make way for the new G8's I wanted some advice as to how we can use the servers storage system. My plan was to use 2 drives for a mirror (OS) and the remaining 6 drives in one RAID 10 array. We can also use RAID 5 but I just feel that since the drives are available and the performance is far better why not?

For that matter is it that much better?
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Question by:dqnet
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Expert Comment

by:alexeykomarov
ID: 39697487
Raid 10 write performance twice as fast.
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Expert Comment

by:Sikhumbuzo Ntsada
ID: 39697491
If you want to maximise capacity, I would suggest RAID 5 - so far we have been running our server on that and they are reliable.
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Author Comment

by:dqnet
ID: 39697553
The servers will be running nothing intensive. They will mainly be used for our Domain controllers and a few other developer VM's. They will also run a few basic web servers.

Should we just go ahead with the RAID 10 setup?
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Expert Comment

by:alexeykomarov
ID: 39697615
If you do not need a fast write you can do RAID 5
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Expert Comment

by:Sikhumbuzo Ntsada
ID: 39697672
The raid controller will play a part in performance, but you should be fine with RAID 10 as the expert suggested especially if you are putting VMs.
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Author Comment

by:dqnet
ID: 39697856
Yes RAID 5 is what we used to use but now those servers are hardly used and the disks would just be spare. We thought we might as well sqeeze every last drop out of them making them RAID 10.

I just wanted to confirm we would see some performance back?
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39698274
You'll certainly get better performance with RAID 10 since there's less write penalty and also it does load-balanced reads. The cache batteries are probably near enough dead by now as well and RAID5 performance really sucks if the battery is dead since write cache is disabled.
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Author Comment

by:dqnet
ID: 39698987
We did replace the battery about a year ago but as you said.. We will get something back. I just read a few articles here and there saying that raid 5 may have better read speeds?
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by:andyalder
ID: 39699061
Sequential read speed may be a little faster with RAID 5 than RAID 10 assuming the same number of drives, random read speed will be about the same whatever the RAID level. I don't know why HP have difficulty splitting sequential reads across both drives in a mirror, maybe it's because they try to direct low block number reads to one disk and high numbers to the other and with sequential everything is on a particular part of the disks, either the inside or the outside of the platters.

http://h20195.www2.hp.com/V2/GetPDF.aspx%2F4AA4-7979ENW.pdf
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Expert Comment

by:alexeykomarov
ID: 39699085
In a 100% Read Only environment RAID 5 and RAID 10 will give the same performance.
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by:andyalder
ID: 39699188
Theoretically they would be the same under sequential read if the controller knew the disk geometry since it could split it using odd/even tracks - one half of the mirror reading all the odd tracks and the other reading even tracks. Unfortunately though logical blocks are used and the underlying geometry is unknown. Splitting it into odd/even blocks doesn't work though since all the even blocks pass under the head of the disk that is meant to be reading the odd blocks anyway.

Random read should be a bit faster with RAID 10 than with RAID 5 since not only can the controller split the seeks between disks but if it gives the low block numbers to one disk and the high numbers to another then it effectively short-strokes both disks by 50%. Under low I/O read it should be a bit faster too since it can send both disks off to get the data and take it off the one that responds first - one disk will normally be nearer the data than the other since rotation is not synchronised.
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Author Comment

by:dqnet
ID: 39700205
So all in all, space not really being a primary issue and read and write counts being approximately the same we should go with Raid 1+0 ?
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Accepted Solution

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andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 39700342
Yup, generally faster and more reliable.
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Author Closing Comment

by:dqnet
ID: 39700355
Many Thanks!
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