Raid setup 5/72gb disks In over my head!


Purchased a Proliant ML370 g5 over a year ago that was never deployed. In the interim I have decided to upgrade the OS to Windows 2008 x64 so that I can set up one or more virtual servers. The machine will provide AD services, file services and limited application services. The primary application will be a database that is critical to the organization. I currently have 5 72gb drives to work from (a year ago, that seemed reasonable). Now that doesn't seem like much to work with. I have the OS in a Raid 1 + 0 configuration using two of the disks. The other three disks are set up as Raid 5. My questions are:

1. Do I need more drive space
2. Is a Raid 5 the best arrangement given my requirements
3. What would be an easy, low cost solution for backup of data

Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. Raid 5 will maximize the amount of space you get out of your drives. But, it is recommended to not boot off a RAID 5. It is up to you decide if that is enough space for you. How big will your data storage be? If your database is not storing millions of records or you are not storing large files, you might have enough space. The cheapest backup solution would be a DVD if it is big enough for your database. Multiple DVD's are not too cumbersome either.
    Another backup solution would be an external hard drive. You could get by with a 500 gig drive. Now, this is not good enough for a application that is critical to your employer. It might be a good idea to store a copy of data offsite or in a fire safe at the very least. You also might want to look for online backup solutions if you have a good internet connection and you dont have too much data. You need to take the backups very seriously and you have a lot of options.
  2. I am not sure I understand when you said, "it is recommended to not boot off a RAID 5". If my OS is on a Raid 1+0 setup using two drives, wouldn't that be the boot? So, the remaining three drives (72gb x3) are the raid 5 that I was going to use for storage, services and apps. I believe I will need to allow about 50gb for user storage and the database. Given that, will I be cutting myself short with three 72gb drives?

    I appreciate your suggestions on backup - I do not want to use a tape backup. I am currently backing up to a workstation purposed just for that and then backing up just the database portion to an external rev drive (cap. 35gb) that I take off site. This way we actually have three copies of the database to work from in case needing to restore.
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