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RAID Controller Card Selection For Workstation Using ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS Motherboard

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October 23, 2013 1:38:38 PM

What I need help with is the RAID configurations and if I need an add-in card to achieve them with a ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS motherboard. Below is the desired configuration:

System Drives - QTY 2 of 500GB SSD drives mirrored in a RAID 1 for redundancy

Data Drives - QTY 2 of 1TB SSD drives mirrored in a RAID 1 for redundancy

Backup Drives - QTY 3 or 4 of 4TB hard drives in a RAID 5 stripped array so one drive can fail and the others can live on

The motherboard being used is the ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS (Chipset: Intel C602) - If there is another one you like better please speak up!

QUESTIONS
1) Storage Controller - What model controller card can handle all of these arrays, possibly in conjunction with the motherboard capabilities, in the fastest manner possible? And how exactly do I implement these storage arrays (which drives to which card/motherboard port)?

Looking to build a clone of http://www.digitalstormonline.com/comploadaventumii.asp...

Best solution

a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 817 G Storage
a b V Motherboard
October 23, 2013 3:13:36 PM

Your motherbd has 10 Intel C602 sata ports plus 4 more Marvell ports.
I would suggest the SSDs go on the two Intel 6GB/s Sata3 ports and the remaining drives go onto the Intel Sata2 ports. Put optical drives on the Marvell.

If you're not happy with the raid 5 performance post back and we'll be happy to help you spend another $500+ on a true raid5 card. Other than that the intel ports are usually just as fast or faster than the cheap raid5 cards.

Lastly I just want to be clear that your backup storage is for copies of your files and not your only copy of them. If its your only copy then its no longer a backup and the key to surviving drive failures is to have several copies of your important files.
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October 24, 2013 8:53:09 AM

popatim said:
Your motherbd has 10 Intel C602 sata ports plus 4 more Marvell ports.
I would suggest the SSDs go on the two Intel 6GB/s Sata3 ports and the remaining drives go onto the Intel Sata2 ports. Put optical drives on the Marvell.

If you're not happy with the raid 5 performance post back and we'll be happy to help you spend another $500+ on a true raid5 card. Other than that the intel ports are usually just as fast or faster than the cheap raid5 cards.

Lastly I just want to be clear that your backup storage is for copies of your files and not your only copy of them. If its your only copy then its no longer a backup and the key to surviving drive failures is to have several copies of your important files.


Hi popatim,

Thanks for the detailed response! This is a great solution, but it likely won't be fast enough for what I'm looking for. SATA 2 for the 2x 1TB EVO SSDs for data storage in RAID 1 would really cripple the performance of those drives. Since the build is already at $8500 minus the drives I don't mind a little extra expense for a speed upgrade.

Can you identify a $500+ RAID card that can handle both the RAID 1 for the 2x 1TB SSDs and a separate RAID 5 for the 3 or 4x 4TB backup drives? And in this scenario the system SSDs would still be on the Intel SATA 3 6GBs ports or would it be better to get a larger RAID card that can handle all of the drives and 3 different RAID setups? I am looking for the absolute fastest RAID setup here to minimize the storage bottleneck. I think LSI MegaRAID SAS 9271-8iCC RAID Controller looks good but is this the fastest card I can get?

Backup Solution
There are also 2 separate Drobo 5 bay backup units that hold our backups of backups of backups. An offsite disk is updated every so often but a better offsite solution is being looked into.

PCIe SSD Cards
Are there any PCIe SSD cards that are quick and aren't stupidly overpriced like the REVO X2s? The new Mac Pro uses these cards so the price must be dropping.

Thanks!
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May 4, 2014 12:06:42 PM

Computergiant,

Are you building a Workstation to run ERP? I ask because the F16C instructions that the Xeons in that 15K machine you indicate you wish to model are not scheduled for release in even the most complex supply chain apps for about 3-5 years. Mathworks does not yet use the set. One last comment on that machine your wish to model, for them not user or offer a choice at least of Registered ECC RAM in a build like that is pure stupidity.

Also, popatim made a comment you need to take to heart:

"Lastly I just want to be clear that your backup storage is for copies of your files and not your only copy of them. If its your only copy then its no longer a backup and the key to surviving drive failures is to have several copies of your important files."

Since I have no idea if you completed a build yet, (your profile does not list one,) it was faster and easier (assuming your are monitoring this thread) to simply put up three documents on a new page I added to my site for your to download: http://www.erpsaa.com/cg-downloads.html.

Excuse my spelling, they will educate you on a few things and are of high value.

If you explain what you want to do with your build, I'll explain how to build a machine with the ASUS z9, which is the board I use along with a 9271 8i
PCIe3 x8 Storage Controller. IMHO, onboard ports are very good for Optical drives and that's about it.

First 2 hints:

Stay away from software RAID and RAID-1 is useless.



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May 5, 2014 8:25:29 AM

Hi erpsaa and thank you for the response. The workstation is used for AutoCAD and a manufacturing program called VISUAL. The client ended up opting not to do a home built due to the cost. Instead we purchased a tricked out HP Z820 to replace his earlier HP Z800. I installed the LSI MegaRAID 9361-8i 12 Gb/s card that drives 4x256 Samsung 840 Pro's in a RAID 10 for the OS (Windows 8.1 Enterprise) and 4x1TB Samsung EVO's in RAID 10 for data storage.

For backup purposes we have RAID10 on both virtual volumes along with a backup software called Storage Craft to do the image backups to a storage server with 18TB of space (old T710 server).

You're right about the onboard RAID controllers though. After updating to Windows 8.1 Update (aka SP 1) the driver for the onboard LSI 2308 Mustang controller goes bad. This has been documented by myself and others and it is currently winding its way through the engineering ranks of HP. Other models of onboard LSI controllers have also broken due to Windows 8.1 Update so if you are using an onboard solution be wary of installing this update until Microsoft has it resolved.
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