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Raid 5 Help (General questions)

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October 28, 2009 4:41:34 PM

I'm thinking of putting a raid 5 array of 4 750gb wd green in my Home Server. How reliable is raid 5. Does it matter which motherboard? amd or intel. and which processor for that motherboard should i use (preferably low tdp)If i have to rebuild how long would it take?

More about : raid general questions

a b V Motherboard
a c 127 G Storage
October 28, 2009 5:12:48 PM

RAID5 is a theory; it doesn't actually exist. What exists, are implementations of RAID5. And one implementation can suck and be unreliable, while others can be very tidy and reliable. So it depends on what RAID engine you're using. RAID can be divided into several classes:

Software RAID
Onboard RAID / Firmware RAID / Fake RAID
Hardware Assisted RAID
(true) Hardware RAID with its own RAID logic chip called an IOP and dedicated onboard memory

If you say Intel/AMD RAID that's onboard RAID, it'll only work if you use Windows, as they are windows-only drivers. Its unclear to me what your 'home server' is running, unless you're talking Windows Home Server. Generally you should avoid using RAID5 on Windows without the use of a real hardware RAID adapter, while RAID5 on Linux/BSD solutions are generally very reliable.

So please give some more information about the setup and environment in which you would like to use RAID, and i might have better tailored advice.
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October 28, 2009 6:45:21 PM

So what kind of linux distro could I use that I'd be able to access it's files on another computer through explorer. It's running Home Server 2003 right now. But the MB in it (its an optiplex gx520) only has 2 sata ports. So I may need to upgrade.
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October 28, 2009 6:47:10 PM

Okay both my general use machines are running windows 7 x64. The server is an optiplex gx520 running windows HS 2003, and has 2 sata ports. It's currently running a 80GB Sata drive for the OS and a 750GB WD Green for storage, as a network share. That space is full and I need to upgrade.
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a b V Motherboard
a c 127 G Storage
October 28, 2009 7:19:52 PM

Any Linux/BSD solution would allow to be used just fine by Windows, you'll have a mapped network drive so if you go to My Computer you would see like D: drive which is your network drive. It pretty much behaves as a local disk. The filesystem can actually be something different than NTFS; because Windows has no knowledge about the filesystem this way. This protocol is called SMB/CIFS.

Maybe you should take a look at FreeNAS? This is a solution based on BSD with all kinds of software RAID (including RAID5) capabilities and newer versions even support the advanced ZFS filesystem. It's a very easy way for people who only know Windows to use something 'better' for their storage needs, as Windows itself offers very little technology related to storage.

Are you going to build a new machine, or do you want to re-use the current server? With just 2 SATA ports, it might be better to buy a cheap AMD mobo with 6 SATA ports and plenty of room to expand using PCI-express. Also, i recommend you pick 1TB Green disks instead of 750GB; they use higher capacity platters which is generally a good thing.
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a b V Motherboard
a c 127 G Storage
October 28, 2009 7:22:57 PM

FreeNAS is nice because install is very simple and all configuring is done via a web-interface, so you can just configure the system from your windows pc on the local network, some screenshot:


(old version tho, new is 0.7)

FreeNAS is an excellent way to start using something else than Windows without directly going for Linux or BSD which is a big step; you can have your FreeNAS server running in less than 5 minutes.
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October 28, 2009 8:46:19 PM

Yes, well that's the dilemma. I'm thinking of going with a ICH7R mb for an Intel Matrix array, provided that will work with freenas. I'm going to have to replace the MB and CPU, just not sure which yet. Looking for something with a low tdp. Thanks for the input.
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a b V Motherboard
a c 127 G Storage
October 28, 2009 10:09:06 PM

What's the dilemma? Buying new components or not? Or what components you are going to buy?

Generally i recommend AMD for a NAS; cheap micro-ATX board gets you a base system for about 100 euro with dualcore, 2GB RAM and 6x SATA. It should offer even lower power consumption than an Intel Atom solution, but provide lots more performance, offers PCIe and lots of SATA and is also less expensive.
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October 29, 2009 3:30:34 AM

I REALLLLLLLLLLY HATE TH'S LOGIN IMPLEMENTATION! WHEN I POST A MESSAGE NOT LOGGED IN THE BROWSER STALLS AND I HAVE TO RETYPE THE ENTIRE EFFING MESSAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having said that, Sub Mesa, dude, first, thanks so much for your informative advice. The dilemma is first, whether or not new hardware is needed, and second, what that hardware will be. I think I'll take your advice, and put the WD EADS10 aside for the server. I'll use the 750GB along with an x-25M 80gb that I've got my eye on in my gaming PC. For the server, I'm leaning towards raid 5 for a number of reasons. First, if I understand correctly, having two separate volumes (while not only being limited to only two drives space, and no way of recovering data lost on one of them) leaves me no way to simultanously access files on both drives, other than windows 7 libraries. RAID 01 would be nice, but the array ends up being 1/2 of the total size. Also I attach a stigma to implementing two levels of raid simultaneously, first a striping of two volumes, second a mirroring of those same two volumes. (BTW could I stripe 2 1TB and mirror on a 2TB in a raid 10 or 01 config?) So I think I'll go with raid 5, also on a freeNAS OS as you suggested, as the more reliable RAID is a great deal sweetener. Also I've used Ubuntu 8.04 for a while, and I was happy with it, but 7 came out and I've been on that since. I really dont care what OS is on the server as long as I can access files on it from the other two PCs. So does this all sound good to you?
-Buy LOW TDP! AMD processor and MB combo from newegg which has raid 5 support in Free NAS.
-Buy 3 more WD EADS10 to add to my one for a 3TB RAID 5 Array.
-(off-topic) Buy an x-25M 80GB SSD for the Gaming rig and put the 750GB WD green in there
-Put FreeNAS on the server and rig up the array, and I'm set to go.
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