-The main goal is to protect my data and make the setup of a RAID and maintenance as easy as possible.
-I am interested in creating a RAID to protect the data I currently have. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
-The OS I am currently have is Windows 7 Professional, I have a copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 that I am considering using because of the software support it has for RAID 5.
-The computer will be used for general web browsing, torrents, media playback and storage of important data such as business work, school work, family videos and pictures.
-The OS and torrents will share a hard disk seperate from the RAID.
These are the hard drives that I'm looking at: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...
-Sound levels aren't important
-Low power consumption will probably be something I want.
-1.5TB drive is probably what I'll want, in terms of price/performance and to complement the existing two drives I have.
-I plan to purchase as 2-3 more drives.
-I like the storage space advantage of RAID 5 also, I believe it makes the RAID look like all one disk. This is my preference currently.
-RAID 1 seems to be more popular and better supported, this is a benefit because the setup is probably easier and if I run into problems I will most likely be able to find solutions to my problems quicker.
-I'd prefer to handle all the RAID support through software in Windows 7/Sever 2008, while performance may suffer, I feel that performance won't be an issue.
Stuff I think I know about RAID:Feel free to correct me here.
-I currently have 2x 1.5 TB drives that have about 2TB of data between the two. When I go to setup my RAID, I can't use these disks because the data on the disks will be lost. So, I will have to find somewhere to store this information temporarily if I want to use these disks as part of the RAID.
-4x hard disks in RAID 1 can't be made to look like 1 large disk, they will look like 2 seperate disks.
-While it preferable that the disks used are identical in terms of manufactuer, model, specs. Using hard disks that are different will work, the RAID will simply operate at the lowest common denominator between the disk being used.
-I don't need to use the hardware RAID supported by my motherboard or a RAID controller, if the OS I have has support for RAID. Windows 7 (0/1), Windows Server 2008 (0,1,5).
-Once a RAID 5 setup is made, I can't add additional disks to the RAID to expand the capacity without formating the entire RAID.
How I think the installation will go:Assuming I am starting with a bunch of clean disks.
-Install the first hard drive into the computer. (1.5TB drive)
-Install the OS on this drive (We'll say Windows 7).
-Once the installation of Windows is completed, shutdown the computer install the additional disks for RAID use into the computer. We will say 4x 1.5TB drives.
-Power on the computer and use Computer Mangement in Windows 7 to setup RAID 1 storage for each pair of 1.5TB drives.
-I'll assume that with Windows Server R2 the process is the same with the exception that I would be setting up RAID 5 with 4x 1.5TB drives.
Any comments from first hand experience will be greatly appretiated.
Any suggestions on what I may want to consider for hardware are welcome.
Any links to current resources on setting up a RAID would be helpful.
The main goal is to protect my data and make the setup of a RAID and maintenance as easy as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read and/or respond.
Just do this all in one step. The raid arrays are can be setup in the BIOS prior to boot. Install ALL the hard drives. Boot the machine. Interrupt the boot process to set your controller to raid and save. Then interrupt the boot process at the RAID controller screen and setup your raid arrays in there. I would trust integrated chipsets for raid 1, its really no big deal. Its been around on integrated chipsets for about 7 years. Raid 5 is a little dicey, but still doable, just dont boot off it.
I've never tested it, but I'm not sure you can boot off a failed software mirror in windows. I think you can partition your boot drive in such a way to avoid this but still have a mirror for most of the drive.
I have NO experience with software raid 5. Best of luck with that.
Thanks for info guys, here what I ended up doing... (still in process)
Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter on a 500GB drive.
Shutdown the computer.
I purchased 4x HITACHI Deskstar HD32000 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Installed the drives into the computer.
Turned the computer back on.
Went to control panel -> system and security -> create and format hard disk partitions
Set the drives up for GPR (all 4 at the same time)
Selected NFTS, Quick Format
Right clicked one of the new drives in the list, selected RAID, selected Raid-5 from the list.
Added the other 3 drives to the RAID.
Currently its Resynching, not sure how long that takes but its been going for about 10 minutes now.
Available space is 5.6TB or 1.4TB per drive.
The info listed under type is Dynamic instead of Basic, Fault Tolerance is Yes instead of No, and overhead is 25% instead 0%.
All in all, assuming this resyncing thing finishes properly it was very easy and straight forward. It's just one of those things you have to do once to realize its just that easy.
I am in the same position as you. I have also experimented with Windows 7 mirroring (i.e., RAID 1). Everything worked flawlessly and was very easy to set up. Note that the "resynching" can take a while but it does finish and indicated that the my drives were healthy. The only thing that worries me about Win 7 software RAID are the dynamic drives. I've read instances where, in the event of drive failure, you cannot simply remove one drive and replace with another or remove one drive and read the data off through, for example, an external enclosure to another computer.
Anybody please correct me if I'm wrong or provide clarification.
So, in the end it took about 50 hours to get "healthy". Also everytime I reboot it "resyncs", which as far as I can tell takes another 50 hours to get "healthy" Although it does give the % anymore when resyncing. Should answer some questions out there.