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Best Practice for Windows Server 2008r2 software Raid-1

Posted on 2014-01-25
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Last Modified: 2014-02-07
Hello, I have searched to determine the best maintenance practice for a software raid on Windows Server 2008r2.   I run chkdsk.  Are there other maintenance actions I should run from time to time?
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Question by:tucktech
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David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 100 total points
ID: 39809714
monitoring your event logs for disk errors is paramount
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by:bigeven2002
bigeven2002 earned 100 total points
ID: 39809719
Hello,

Do you know if you are using the Intel Software Raid or the LSI software Raid?  Either way, during POST bootup on the server, watch the screen and it will give an option to go into the Raid configuration Utility, LSI is Ctrl+M I believe, not sure what Intel's is but it will say on the screen before it starts to boot Windows, you'll have about 5 seconds to activate the utility.

In the utility, there should be an option to check the consistency of the Raid.  This would be the only other maintenance task I am aware of aside from rebuilding.
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by:CubeOver
CubeOver earned 87 total points
ID: 39809754
Software RAID on Windows Server should not be used for system volume, only for data volumes.
This is because Windows boot loader will be looking for a specific drive ID to boot from, and if that disk fails then it will not be booting off the other disk. This will require maintenance and will cause downtime.
Hardware RAID for system volume is a preferred solution since it will not cause downtime neither require intervention to get system back into redundant mode.
If you have many servers with software RAIDs you may be looking to consolidate all event logs onto one machine for easier monitoring.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc748890.aspx
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by:rindi
rindi earned 63 total points
ID: 39809885
Using Windows built-in software RAID for your system Volume is absolutely no problem at all, and it is always better than using the fake-RAID controllers you will find in most desktop mainboards. As mentioned earlier, you should check the health of the disks via your eventlogs. You can also periodically boot the server to the HD's manufacturer's diagnostic utility to check their states. Those utilities are included on the UBCD, but you can also get them directly from the manufacturer:

http://ultimatebootcd.com

Also remember that no RAID, whether hardware or software RAID, is fool proof, and it is definitely no substitute for a good backup strategy. So good backups are always essential.
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by:CubeOver
CubeOver earned 87 total points
ID: 39810056
I have several old servers at work that I have to use for now. They only have two hard drives and no hardware RAID.
I chose not to use software RAID for aforementioned reasons - system continues to run only if the secondary disk fails. If the disk of the primary "plex" fails, software RAID on system volume offers [almost] no protection. Yes the data on the secondary plex is still there, but not bootloader nor its config. You would still require to replace the failed disk and perform system recovery.
This is why I do not use RAID1 on system volume, instead I dedicate whole secondary disk as a backup disk for whole server. It is not even visible to Explorer, but should my primary disk fail, ANYWAY I will have to replace the disk and recover from backup. I would put in the new primary disk, boot off Windows Server CD, choose Recover from a System Image, and it would see the images on the secondary disk that is dedicated for Windows Server Backup.
Hence, over an incomplete RAID solution, I chose a very fast local backup that ensures quick and full recovery using Windows built-in tools, for free. Plus, unlike RAIDs, it also insures  my system against admin error (i.e. installed something that is not desirable, e.g. some patches that do not support removals). Needless to say, I can afford to lose 1d worth of data which may not be within your protection objectives.
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Author Closing Comment

by:tucktech
ID: 39842697
thanks for the comments
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