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Concerning Seagate Drives and Raid Functionality

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March 21, 2009 6:25:09 AM

The particular Drive in question is a Barracuda 640 gig sata @ 7200 RPM

http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name...

I have 4 of the mentioned drives. 2 are in my personal computer set up in mirror. The other 2 I just bought and have set up the home server in mirror. I bought 2 more so that when I got the server going and transfered a copy of the mirror from my personal PC to the server, I could move all 4 to the server and migrate the RAID to 5 or 1+0.

BUT... Right before attempting this, I noticed on the Seagate's site (near bottom of the page in the link above) that it says:

"Desktop RAID 1 or 0 systems (<3 drives in one system)"

What does that mean?
Did the intend "<3" to be read as "<3"?

Can I screw up the drives by running a different RAID or having 4 drives involved?
a c 82 G Storage
March 21, 2009 6:41:37 PM

RAID1 has to be 2 drives. Though it's possible to use more than 2 drives in a RAID 0 configuration, Seagate apparently don't recommend it (and it makes sense).
March 22, 2009 3:01:18 AM

Yes, but I want to know the risks of putting all four in RAID 5 or 1+0. Is it sure and certain death, swapping out a failed drive occasionally, or is it anything to worry about?
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a c 82 G Storage
March 22, 2009 3:40:52 AM

RAID10 and RAID5 are good choices and less risky than RAID0. Regardless of your RAID selection, backups still are recommended.
March 22, 2009 9:02:00 PM

Yes, but considering Seagate's vagueness - The specific answer I am looking for is...

Are my hardrives capable of handling RAID 10 or 5?

Is Seagate saying only 2 drives in 0 or 1 or you hardrives will blow up killing everyone around.

Or Seagate trying to say look if you must, only do 2 drives in 0 or 1 because we do want to deal with stupid people frying drives and claiming warranties.

What constitutes a drives ability for various RAIDS?

Right now I have 4 Seagate 640gig Drives mentioned above. Considering Seagates info at the bottom of the link above, is it or is it NOT ok to put all 4 in RAID 5 array?
a c 82 G Storage
March 22, 2009 10:06:44 PM

Seagate are not vague. They just don't want people to use desktop drives in a way that can lead to data losses and using 2 in RAID 0 should be fine. Obviously you can't have more than 2 drives in RAID1, otherwise it becomes RAID1+0 or RAID0+1 (which is fine with those drives).

RAID drives are available from Seagate, Western Digital, etc., but they are more expensive.

It is OK to use your 4 drives in a RAID5 configuration. Just make sure that you replace a failed drive right away. Bear in mind that drives usually fail while rebuilding the RAID. You replace a failed drive, rebuild the array and another drive fails while rebuilding. A good backup then becomes very convenient.
March 22, 2009 11:26:28 PM

Thank you, by what you said of about drives failing while rebuilding, I am know wondering if it would be best just to set them up in:

______________Instance 1___________
(2 x 640 gigs) @ 640gig capacity Mirrored
+ (2 x 640 gigs) @ 640gig capacity Mirrored
=============================
Total Capacity 1280 gigs (50%)

OR

______________Instance 2___________
(4 x 640gigs) @ 1920 capacity In RAID 5
=============================
Total Capacity 1920 gig (75%)

As cheap as HD are becoming, the storage loss from instance one does not concern me as it will be a while before I hit a wall there. Probably around the same time Blu-Ray drops to the current price of DVDs.

All drives will be in a PC running XP PRO SP3 set in raid by the motherboard drivers, I think they are Nvidia. This PC will act as a central home server to share media, store back ups of several PCs, and store irreplaceable college and work documents/databases. It will also be hooked up to the big screen television to watch the media from.

Currently I have 2 of them in my personal PC set in mirror, and 2 installed on the "server to be" PC in mirror.
I have not removed the 2 from my personal computer and do not plan on it until I know that the data is safe and setup correctly on the server. Meaning if I go with RAID 5, I was only going to pull one from my personal and add it to the server, reconfigure the 3 drives to RAID 5, and then if that seems stable pull the last drive and migrate it in to the RAID after moving the data on it into the existing RAID. Possibly, if you see fit, I might go buy a 1T drive to place in my external drive case and make a backup or clone the drive before moving the final disc over. If that did confuse the mess out of you.

In your experience, what instance of RAID would be best with what I am going to do. I am new to both RAID configuring and Network management. It took me 2 weeks to set up my first raid. I understand computers pretty well, but the directions on setting up RAIDs from ASUS completely threw me off. When said and done, I could have explained in 5 lines of info what they scrambled into a small book.

If I can get the RAID setup correctly and figure out why the "server to be" can't share from the logical drives set into RAID 1, I can finally concentrate on school and work.

I appreciate you input so far, and would appreciate any further advice you might give.

Also can you explain what stress hardrives to failure in RAIDs. I see it as drives are still doing what they were intended to do, read/write data. What internal stress is being added to the drive when put in RAID?

Again,
Thank you
Its Me Mario


a c 82 G Storage
March 22, 2009 11:53:37 PM

I'd go with RAID5 and the external 1 TB backup drive. Since you bought Seagate drives, you can download and install DiscWizard (Acronis True Image) to perform complete backups. That's what I use in my external USB/eSATA case (eSATA is much faster and it works well with DiscWizard).
March 23, 2009 1:32:34 AM

Do you have a RAID setup? If so did you do a work around for the DiscWizard? It won't allow me to use it on either machine because the program can't find Seagate hardrives. It only sees RAID drives. I called Seagate and he told me Im SOL, which burned me up that he or Seagate offer no support for this. I just broke down and bought 2 full versions of Acronis.
a c 82 G Storage
March 23, 2009 2:00:22 AM

I'm not using RAID as it didn't meet my requirements, but it should work if at least one non-RAID drive is from Seagate, e.g., an eSATA drive. Does the full version work fine with RAID?
March 23, 2009 2:28:06 AM

I do not know, I have only stored backups there, and I keep my systems onn seperate drives. I only back up the primary drives and rely on the RAID to back-up the logical drives with media and docs. But you had said I still need to backup so I will probably go ahead regardless and get a 1T. If you are interested in know, I'll let you know how backing up the RAID works when I get there.

Any Idea how long it takes to image 1T?
a c 82 G Storage
March 23, 2009 11:18:32 AM

It should work fine. I have a GA-EP45-UD3P based Windows Server 2008 system configured for RAID (even though none of the drives are currently in RAID) and I have no issues backing it up.

It will take several hours to backup 1 TB. I have an eSATA enclosure and it takes several hours to backup 800 GB.
March 23, 2009 5:08:00 PM

Thank you for all your help
!