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Software RAID-5: Dual boot XP/Vista

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October 14, 2007 1:30:59 AM

Hi

i found the XP Raid-5 hack here, but didn't see any follow up on it. I have a system that i set up 3 500gb drives as a single dynamic disk. one of the drives is going bad and will be send in for repair. In the mean time, i realized that i had to pull off ALL the data to get that drive off.

not fun.

based on this, i want at least a Raid 5 solution. I need the maximum amount of storage space i can get with some form of protection against a hard drive dying.

Furthermore, i dual boot between XP and Vista Ultimate right now. I need my storage array to be able to be seen in either OS without any problems at all.

Does anyone here know if Vista can see software RAID-5 arrays that were created in XP via the hack? what about the opposet (Raid-5s created in Vista seen in xp)?

thank you
October 14, 2007 2:56:37 AM

get a real raid card also the on board software raid chips in the new MB are a little better then the windows software raid.
October 14, 2007 3:20:32 AM

Get a hardware raid card! Software RAID-5 is BAD BAD BAD. Twice when a drive fails(even though it's supposed to be okay) it wasn't. We did, after ALOT of work get it back, but it was very complex and required my programming skills to write some stuff to make it work. Not cool IMO.
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October 14, 2007 3:54:32 AM

can't afford a hardware raid card that won't tax the processor, from what i read. I need a hardware raid card sub $50 that won't stress out an Athlon XP 3200+

also, though i appreciate your replies about the software raid-5, they still didn't answer my question, and there have yet to be solutions presented....so:


1st - Does anyone know if Vista can see RAID-5 setups created by XP


2nd - Does anyone know if XP can see RAID-5 setups created in Vista


3rd - Does anyone know of a good hardware RAID controller that will handle at least 6 SATA drives, won't tax my Athlon XP 3200+ processor, and is under $50?
October 15, 2007 6:35:37 PM

Well, here's my 2 cents on your dilemma.

1. You have 3x500GB you want on a RAID-5.
2. You don't have the $$$ for a hardare based solution.(limited to $50 for a controller, which is not gonna happen)
3. You want RAID-5 for reliability.

IMO you can't have all 3 of these things. Here's my comments, and I'm not trying to bash you, I just want you to realize what you are saying.

1. Software RAID-5 goes down the tubes when a drive dies. Yeah, I know all about how reliabie RAID-5 is, but from personal experience, you might as well run RAID-0 if you are gonna rn software RAID-5. Loss of 1 disk WILL result in the array going down until you replace the drive. Even after replacing it, the OS will fight you tooth and nail before letting you rebuild it, if you can even get the damn thing to! We were unable to get the array to mount in reduced status.

2. You effectivelyare putting a value on your data of $50 max because that's all you are willing to spend for a hardware RAID-5 that is MUCH more reliable. So it's resonable to assume you also won't think of spending more than $50 for backups, right? And you probably won't be more than $50 worth of pissed off if you lose your data, right? See what I'm getting at here. You are expecting too much from RAID-5(let alone software). You still NEED to do backups, EVEN with RAID-6. Going to a redundant array doesn't not mean you don't need backups. They are just as important as doing RAID-0. All RAID-5 does is save you the hassle of recovering your data if a drive is bad.

3. Yes, the do see each other. However, I STRONGLY, STRONGLY, STRONGLY recommend against it. There's a few little things that Windows Vista and XP do that realize that another 'operating system' has accessed the array since it was last used. I'm not sure what all of the implications of that are, or if the array would be recoverable on either OS if that happened.

Big picture though, although it is feasible, If i had to give a short answer to you on if it will work or not, I'd say no because IMO you don't understand how dangerous and slow a software RAID-5 is. You also do not value your data and probably do not do backups(which means RAID only means you are increasing the likelyhood of losing all of your data because there's 3 failure points instead of one).


October 15, 2007 9:09:11 PM

One of the things that I've been seeing in the RAID industry lately is that RAID is now the "cool thing to have" for the enthusiasts and gamers. As a result, what has been coming on the market at low prices is consumer-level RAID. In my opinion, that's an oxymoron.

Consumer-level stuff has bugs and idiosyncracies. Linksys routers screw up sometimes and have to be rebooted. Cisco 2811's don't. By the same token, Windows software RAID or a $50 RAID card that does all it's work in software will have bugs and idiosyncracies. A 3Ware card won't.

There have been dozens of threads lately of people using a motherboard RAID-5 and then doing something innocuous (updating motherboard BIOS, install new chipset driver, etc.) and all of a sudden the RAID is broken, won't get recognized, won't rebuild.

This isn't RAID. There's nothing redundant about these implementations - they suck, plain and simple. In fact, they're WORSE than a single drive because they lull the user into a false sense of security about the integrity of their data, when in reality they've added another buggy, consumer-level layer to break.

If you want to do RAID for the purpose of protecting your data against a hard drive failure, you have to have a RAID subsystem that works when crunch time comes. Having a working RAID-5 when all the drives are operational isn't the goal. Having a working RAID-5 when a drive has died is step 1 of the real test, and being able to rebuild the array after that is step 2. If your RAID solution can't do this, it's worthless in my opinion.

On my home server (running a 3Ware 9650SE with a 6-drive RAID-5), I actually had a drive fail DURING a migration from 3 disks to 4 disks. The 3Ware card correctly detected it, FINISHED the migration in a degraded state, and then rebuilt the entire array with a replacement drive afterwards, and didn't lose one bit of data. I will stake any amount of money that no motherboard RAID controller on the market would have handled that in any way, shape, or form. Data would be lost, and that's the end of it. And that's why the 3Ware card is $500. You get what you pay for.
October 16, 2007 5:25:39 AM

understood and all. The problem i run here is that, yes, my data is important, but simply put, i feel i'd be better off investing in a newer system than in a single piece of hardware that costs that much.

I have 5 500gb hard drives now, not 3. i did this because on started having what windows called an "unrecoverable read error" on one of the drives, and another drive sounded like it was starting to have some sort of hardware break down. My goal is to get 1 very large hard drive setup with some sort of way to get up and running again quickly should one drive in the array fail. I do not have the money or time to backup 1.36 TB of data on a regular basis, the most critical stuff is already backed up, so RAID 5 will have to do to meet my other needs. Its mostly a media server right now, so i'm not worried too much about speed (no write access about 90% of the time, strictly read for all media, until i go thru and redo all the meta tags).

I don't game on a pc (i have consoles for gaming). I serve movies or music to every other laptop, PC and xbox in the house. thats it. The most critical stuff is backed up to dvd, but i don't really feel like dealing with a hard drive crash while doing a raid 0.
October 16, 2007 2:13:53 PM

If you have 5 disk then you can do raid 6 and with that many disk software raid is BIG NO and on board software raid is better then windows software raid get a pci-e x4 or higher raid in a slot with pci-e x4 or more lanes or a pci-x one in a pci-x slot
October 17, 2007 4:02:54 AM

okay, i guess no one saw the part about an Athlon XP 3200+.....i cant get a PCI-E card for anything...PCI-E wasn't around when this board was built.

sounds like i'm out of luck on all fronts then, eh?
October 17, 2007 12:52:11 PM

AMurderOfCrows said:
okay, i guess no one saw the part about an Athlon XP 3200+.....i cant get a PCI-E card for anything...PCI-E wasn't around when this board was built.

sounds like i'm out of luck on all fronts then, eh?

You can get a 939 board and cpu for less then $200 with pci-e and keep your old ram.
October 17, 2007 6:19:25 PM

My current systems:

Athlon XP 2100+
BioStar M7MIA Motherboard with ISA slot (for PC Comms Link), onboard IDE RAID and onboard normal IDE slots


Athlon XP 3200+
SOYO KT880 Dragon 2 v2.0 Motherboard with 4 on board SATA, 4 on board IDE (total of 12 devices can be hooked up)
2 dvd-rw
2 DVD-rom
2 gb ram
80 gb hard drive for system
3 500gb hard drives SATA for storage (1 was showing read errors)
2 500gb hard drives SATA for backup (trying to repair/replace drive with errors above)
and 1 hell of an AGP video card.

if i go up, i'll be going core 2 duo or QUad core. But for now, i'm stuck it seems
October 17, 2007 8:01:41 PM

AMurderOfCrows said:
My current systems:

Athlon XP 2100+
BioStar M7MIA Motherboard with ISA slot (for PC Comms Link), onboard IDE RAID and onboard normal IDE slots


Athlon XP 3200+
SOYO KT880 Dragon 2 v2.0 Motherboard with 4 on board SATA, 4 on board IDE (total of 12 devices can be hooked up)
2 dvd-rw
2 DVD-rom
2 gb ram
80 gb hard drive for system
3 500gb hard drives SATA for storage (1 was showing read errors)
2 500gb hard drives SATA for backup (trying to repair/replace drive with errors above)
and 1 hell of an AGP video card.

if i go up, i'll be going core 2 duo or QUad core. But for now, i'm stuck it seems

you can get a 939 board with 2 ide ports and 4 sata ports and you do not need 2 DVD-rw and 2 more DVD-roms in one system
October 17, 2007 8:26:03 PM

AMOC,

If you are using this computer only to serve other computers around the house you may want to look into Windows Home Server. While WHS, do not use raid, it uses a different type of redundancy for data. Not only that but it will also run backups on all computers that it serves. Read more about it here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/default.mspx.
I participated in the beta and I have to say that it is an amazing program. Not only that but it will work very well with older machines and is already available as an OEM package; priced around $200.
October 17, 2007 8:35:24 PM

My only issue with OP's comments so far would be is that OP thinks that a hardware raid controller is going to tax the cpu more than software raid. The whole point of a hardware raid controller is to do the math required to put the bits of your data where they go instead of having the cpu do it every time.

I'm to lazy to read up on the specs, but even if it's an onboard raid won't it have it's own chip to do the math instead of depending on the cpu to do it all? What would be the purpose of having a board that supports 'raid' if it doesn't even do the math for you?
October 18, 2007 6:00:21 AM

Joe the Dragon:

Sorry, I *DO* need more than 1 burner and more than one reader. each has a special function, and on the rare occasion when i need to do something with my system that regarding ripping or burning, i tend to need all of them running on independent channels. So no, for now, buying a new system to do this is 100% out of the question.

Stevie -

I'll look into WHS, however the system is MOSTLY a server....it's also my burning system, my Tunnel for my xboxes, and my bedroom media center.


mford:

There are certain (read: CHEAP) hardware RAID that do not do 100% of the needed work. THe ones i can afford right now fall into this range, from what i understand. I can't spend much more on this system.

Maybe what i need is being missed....


I need a LARGE hard drive (1TB+) to organize everything i have in logical ways. My media clocks in at over 500gb, so not all of it would fit on a single drive. My game system hacking and homebrew stuff falls between 250 and 600gb depending on what i'm doing, and how many revisions. My backup software and docs take up a lot of space too. Overall, i completely filled 3 500gb hard drives strung up together as a windows Dynamic drive (software RAID 0?).

this became a MAJOR problem when one of those drives started having problems. in order to replace that single drive, i had to back all the data off of 1.36TB of space. This required me to buy 2 more hard drives and borrow a third.

i've tested the drives in question and can't find a single thing wrong now. 1/3 of the data has been put back, but i'm still not anywhere closer to a solution than i was when the problem first started.


so...if i can't do a software RAID 5 or 6 solution because everyone tells me it either won't work or it's horrible, slow, etc.....does anyone have a solution in my price range that will allow me to use my current hardware (and potentially another piece of hardware costing around $50) to string together 4 hard drives as a single volume and have it in such a way that should 1 drive go down, i can swap it out for another?
October 20, 2007 5:49:59 AM

Well, you notice that you had to buy 2 additional drives plus borrow a third. This is the result of bad planning and implementation. You are saying "I want to own the world" and yet do nothing to conquer it. You HAVE to decide to either spend the money or risk your data. That was the purpose of my last post. Several other people have said this same thing, and people(not pointing fingers at the thread owner) need to understand that. If you won't spend more than $300 for your setup you ARE saying that your data is worth no more than $300. Take it or leave it that IS how it is.

Now, let's quit with the crying over stuff and get this problem solved :) . Notice you have now purchased 5 drives and had to borrow another because your dynamic setup sucked? That's what software RAID is gonna do for you when you need it. You NEED to get a hardware controller to accomplish what you want. I recommend you look at High Point Technologies controllers. They are some of the cheapest RAID controllers, and they work pretty damn well. I have one myself for my file server.

SomeJoe7777 is talking about a situation exactly like what happened to me. What happened in my case? No data loss. If I had been using a software RAID-5 I can bet $1000000 not one software raid solution would have been written well enough to finish that job without losing data.

I have a 1.75TB(8x250GB) array. I do backups regularly of my most important data. Where do I back it up to? 2x1TB external drives.


From AMurderOfCrows:
Quote:
I do not have the money or time to backup 1.36 TB of data on a regular basis, so RAID 5 will have to do.


Once again I have to reiterate.

RAID 5 IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR BACKUPS!!!!! NOBODY EVER SELLS IT AS SUCH AND EVERYONE THAT SAYS IT ALWAYS POSTS AN ARTICLE LATER BEGGING FOR HELP WHEN A VIRUS/TROJAN/ADWARE/ACCIDENTALLY FORMATTED/FAILED REPARTITION/ETC LOSES EVERYTHING.

If you don't:

1. Buy a hardware RAID controller
2. DO backups, even if only the minimal most important data

...then you are asking for trouble. You might as well just erase all of the data on your drives that are stored all over the place because you are only wasting your time trying to save the data you WILL ultimately lose and you are wasting all of our time because you don't seem to get it that RAID5 =! BACKUP.

RAID-5 ONLY, and I mean ONLY allows you to continue operations as usual with a failed hard drive. NOTHING MORE.

The value you put on your data is only as high as the value you spend to protect it.
October 20, 2007 6:10:38 AM

thanks for all the great advice so far.


RAID 5 sounds like what i need then. i had an error on a hard drive, i'm careful regarding anything that might damage my data. but i can't stop hardware failure. critical files are backed up. i simply do not want to go thru what i just did again...although i have lost data before, the data loss happened only due to poor planning for a transfer and not double checking that all the files came over. lesson was learned then.

in this case, i would have still been running with that dynamic setup if the drive hadn't started giving unreadable errors. Now, if a drive goes down, i want to replace it without incident.

backup isn't the issue. except for a silly mistake transfering files to a new drive, i haven't lost anything due to virus/trojan/adware.

Ever.

i'm fairly confident in my firewall and overall protections. i just need large logical drives for easy organization without a lot of risk of being down due to hard drive failure.

now, if you are telling me that i can get a cheap raid 5 or 6 hardware controller that won't cause any additional stress to my current processor and will be reliable when the next drive goes down, please give me model numbers.....you will be the hero here today.

thanks again
October 20, 2007 8:43:20 AM

remember, too, that your purchase will be for (at least) two RAID controller cards, not one.

because RAID is a functional specification, actual implementation of RAID is completely up to the controller vendor's whim. The data and metadata (using those terms generically) on RAID-ed spindles are stored in whatever format permits the device to behave the way the RAID specifications dictate. RAID-ed spindles are forever tied to the (model of) controller used to write them.

The point is that if you don't have an identical spare controller to use in case of controller failure, then you have done nothing but move the SPOF from the drives to the controller. If all you want is speed and are OK with the increased chance of failure due to the multiplication of drive mechs that's fine, but it is a "career-limiting move" if you are expecting recoverability. Further, if your controller is integrated onto the motherboard, that implies a spare identical motherboard - or at least a spare MB that uses the same controller (easily verified) implemented exactly the same way as the original (in practice, unverifiable).

October 20, 2007 11:38:48 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hardware based, xor offloading, 64megs of cache. It is by no means a fast controller, but it doesn't sound like you need speed. I own several of these and while they are very stable, they are not the fastest out there(still much faster than a single drive though) They don't use RAID5, they use RAID3, which for all intents and purposes will work the exact same for you.
October 20, 2007 5:20:21 PM

I re-read some of the comments i made earlier and decided they were causing some of the issues here, so i edited and tried to clarify what i meant. i was obviously using improper terminology or getting the wrong idea across to everyone. sorry all. that being said....

tmike said:

The point is that if you don't have an identical spare controller to use in case of controller failure, then you have done nothing but move the SPOF from the drives to the controller. If all you want is speed and are OK with the increased chance of failure due to the multiplication of drive mechs that's fine, but it is a "career-limiting move" if you are expecting recoverability. Further, if your controller is integrated onto the motherboard, that implies a spare identical motherboard - or at least a spare MB that uses the same controller (easily verified) implemented exactly the same way as the original (in practice, unverifiable).


this is a brilliant point, and one of the most helpful so far. This was a point i didnt even think about and i must say i'm very indebted to you for bringing this to my attention. Well done. More thought will go in to this implimentation then.

Although i appreciate all the help i'm getting, cyberjock seems to have a misunderstanding about what i needed here.

jt001 - just checked out that card....one of the reviews says it's not native SATA and that it doesn't work in Vista. Do you know if that is correct? I can get around the non-native thing as long as i keep my current setups going but not working in vista pretty much kills it for me. I'll look up some more on it when i get back this afternoon. Thank you for the find! And yes, RAID 3 does sound like an option of sorts. will need to know more about it. So the only bad parts for it i think are the XOR offloading (= stress on processor), non native, and no Vista. if those things can be gotten around (and the offloading doesn't tax the processor to the point of complete uselessness) then this sounds like what i'm looking for. again, will need to know more about RAID-3 and this card in general

thank you again for the help

October 21, 2007 8:23:50 AM

AMurderOfCrows said:
I re-read some of the comments i made earlier and decided they were causing some of the issues here, so i edited and tried to clarify what i meant. i was obviously using improper terminology or getting the wrong idea across to everyone. sorry all. that being said....



this is a brilliant point, and one of the most helpful so far. This was a point i didnt even think about and i must say i'm very indebted to you for bringing this to my attention. Well done. More thought will go in to this implimentation then.

Although i appreciate all the help i'm getting, cyberjock seems to have a misunderstanding about what i needed here.

jt001 - just checked out that card....one of the reviews says it's not native SATA and that it doesn't work in Vista. Do you know if that is correct? I can get around the non-native thing as long as i keep my current setups going but not working in vista pretty much kills it for me. I'll look up some more on it when i get back this afternoon. Thank you for the find! And yes, RAID 3 does sound like an option of sorts. will need to know more about it. So the only bad parts for it i think are the XOR offloading (= stress on processor), non native, and no Vista. if those things can be gotten around (and the offloading doesn't tax the processor to the point of complete uselessness) then this sounds like what i'm looking for. again, will need to know more about RAID-3 and this card in general

thank you again for the help



Actually, by xor offloading I meant it has a processor on the card that takes the load off of you system processor so you should be good there. Now as far as it not working on Vista, I know the card has int13(meaning it's driverless) so it should work just fine with Vista. I've used that card with about 5 or 6 different versions of Linux, as well as XP and 2000 with no issue. The only thing I could think that would be an issue is the management program that comes with it might not work with Vista, while not a necessity, it would kinda suck to not have it, but most everything can still be done in the card's BIOS. Now as for RAID3, it should work just fine for your application. For the array you're running, it will however average only about 85-100MB/s, as I said it's not a fast card, which goes back to the whole not being native SATA thing. For just storage drives though I don't see that being an issue.

Now for the difference between RAID3 and RAID5:
http://www.storagereview.com/guide2000/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/singleLevel3.html
http://www.storagereview.com/guide2000/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/singleLevel5.html
October 22, 2007 8:22:29 AM

Hi every one!
I am looking for a NAS server that will take HDD's of any size!
Like drobo - http://www.drobo.com/
Maybe software that can do the same???

Any good ideas?
November 9, 2007 2:13:41 PM

OK, so the general consensus is:

(WinXP Software RAID == Bad Idea)

I just ordered a hardware RAID card from NewEgg. BUT...

Unfortunately for me, I have more than one machine with the RAID-5 solution described in this thread and originally at Toms Hardware [see Ref 1]

Here is my Q:

I just finished my 3rd install of a WinXP Software RAID-5 array. (4 new Seagate IDE 400 GB drives) It built successfully and life was good. I placed all my data on it and life was still good.

BUT, every time I shutdown/restart the machine the volume is not available in "My Computer" because it failed (As reported by the Local Disk Manager (LDM) in Computer management).

I choose to reactivate the volume, it "regenerates" for several hours, I run a chkdsk (as suggested by Windows) on the volume after it is done regenerating (it completes with no errors), and the volume works great until shutdown/restart. After a shutdown/restart the process starts all over again (with a "failed volume" in LDM).

So, this is the 3rd machine I built with WinXP Software RAID 5, and never had this problem before.

Any Ideas?

Ref 1:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/11/19/using_windowsxp_...
November 9, 2007 11:58:05 PM

Windows software raid is not that good on board software raid is better and IDE Raid with 4 disk on two ide ports also is big slow down.
!