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Motherboard with RAID 5?

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June 18, 2009 12:41:42 PM

I need to build a RAID 5 Server system for an office. Building from scratch.

It will use it for a large database & all MyDocs/User Files of 35 computers. Limited budget.



Can the motherboard do all the RAID processing or do I need a separate RAID card?

Any suggestions on the configuration?


There is posting like this in the forum but it is dated 2006. How about some current info!

THANKS
Walt

More about : motherboard raid

June 18, 2009 7:31:08 PM

first things first most medium to high end motherboards are going to have raid controllers built into there sata ports, my advice is that its going to be a demanding system so a multicore processor is definetly going to be necessary. quad core minium even maybe i7 but thats unlightly. your going to need a big case a large amount of storage. whats your budget and what more ecactly are you going to need just built my office sever recently and are willing to help with what ever you need.

i used
8gb ram
q6700
6 x 1tb
8850w psu
Lian Li PC-A7010B
ZEROtherm ZEN FZ-120 Quiet Tower CPU Cooler Intel LGA775
Asus P5Q PRO
£1200 awsome pc its great and silent.
June 18, 2009 8:19:40 PM
Related resources
a b V Motherboard
June 18, 2009 8:54:41 PM

^DO NOT get that CPU cooler. It's a piece of junk and will not be able to keep a i7 cool. Get a S1283 or a V8 or better. Also the i7 950 is WAY over kill.

@OP:

For RAID 5, you should probably be looking at a RAID controller like this (esp. with a limited budget):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$120

Review: http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/highpoint_rocke...
It's a good RAID card, esp. for the price.

Invest your money in a good RAID controller. Don't really bother with high end boards with RAID unless you need SAS,etc.

If you want true,hardware RAID:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$325

or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
R330
June 19, 2009 4:08:40 AM

Oscarjw said:
first things first most medium to high end motherboards are going to have raid controllers built into there sata ports, my advice is that its going to be a demanding system so a multicore processor is definetly going to be necessary. quad core minium even maybe i7 but thats unlightly. your going to need a big case a large amount of storage. whats your budget and what more ecactly are you going to need just built my office sever recently and are willing to help with what ever you need.

i used
8gb ram
q6700
6 x 1tb
8850w psu
Lian Li PC-A7010B
ZEROtherm ZEN FZ-120 Quiet Tower CPU Cooler Intel LGA775
Asus P5Q PRO
£1200 awsome pc its great and silent.


-------------

What powers the RAID 5 on this system?

Can RAID 5 be completely built in to a Motherboard --or-- is a RAID 5 card needed?
June 19, 2009 10:53:27 AM

Depends on how important the data you plan on putting onto the RAID5 array is.
With host/driver RAID (the builtin ones) if your motherboard dies or you change to another motherboard in the near future then you'll need to find a motherboard that has a similar builtin controller e.g. ICH9-R to ICH10-R
Write speed is going to be slower than a standalone single HDD when using host/driver RAID5, but isn't a problem if it's not a heavily accessed fileserver.

The best reliability and speed comes from hardware RAID5 of course and those cards are usually expensive. For example I'm running a Dell PERC 5/i here with my NAS because it's frequently accessed for very large files (both in and out) and the data on it are very valuable to me. I keep a scheduled backup of the most important data also.

If budget allows, look into RAID10 (4 drives needed) which is most suitable for keeping a large frequently accessed database on.
a c 148 V Motherboard
June 19, 2009 5:21:06 PM

+1 @Shadow on all points.

@OP, what is the budget? How much data is involved? Thirty-five PCs may not need much MyDocs space, in an office environment. How big is the "large" database? Is your LAN infrastructure up to the task? There could be some hidden issues here.
a b V Motherboard
June 19, 2009 6:21:56 PM

kaagapay said:
I need to build a RAID 5 Server system for an office. Building from scratch.


Do not build a server from scratch for office use that will hold data of any value. Give Dell, HP, or some other name brand system builder and buy a pre-built server that meets business needs. Pre-built server come with warranties, service contracts, and some level of vendor support

If I knew valuable business data was held on some home built a server, i'd have a few choice words for my IT guy.

I can't beleive that folks in these forums are recommending consumer/enthusiast level parts for an office server build...what's next, telling people to build there own backplane for an enterprise SAN...WTF?!?!

a b V Motherboard
June 19, 2009 7:10:46 PM

^You do have a point, but some of these "consumer" parts found on Newegg are much higher quality than Dell/OEM ones. As long as the parts being used are tested well and are known the be in IBM/Dell servers then it is possible to build a server yourself, however, you do need to realize YOU are the person responsible for the hardware,etc as it is with out warranty*(for example, ASUS/Tyan make quality server boards,etc)

*This is not entirely true, as most manufactures provide warranty for each part. Ie, Seagate HDDs have a 5(?) year warrenty,etc.
June 19, 2009 7:37:43 PM

chunkymonster said:
Do not build a server from scratch for office use that will hold data of any value. Give Dell, HP, or some other name brand system builder and buy a pre-built server that meets business needs. Pre-built server come with warranties, service contracts, and some level of vendor support

If I knew valuable business data was held on some home built a server, i'd have a few choice words for my IT guy.

I can't beleive that folks in these forums are recommending consumer/enthusiast level parts for an office server build...what's next, telling people to build there own backplane for an enterprise SAN...WTF?!?!


While I find myself agreeing in principle to what you say on first read, you must consider that the cost of owning a "brandname" server is not something that everyone can afford. The warranty's come at a cost, and the support for these is not as good as an on site It technicial.

If the company has the resource to house the server on site, owns the software that wishes to install, and has a bod to maintain it, then this is a perfectly good solution.

I've never known a file server have enough users logged on to it to warrant a Q6700 processor.

a c 148 V Motherboard
June 19, 2009 9:06:00 PM

A place where I worked years ago bought a Compaq server; a really nice unit for its day, with RAID-5, 100Mb, etc. It failed, and the third-party service guy b0rked it worse, before getting the right parts and finally fixing it DAYS later. To avoid some of this in the future, we tried to get spare parts from Compaq. No dice; we didn't resell their systems, so we could not have spares.
We built our own servers after that. The ones we built had equivalent performance, and we could fix them if they ever had problems. Only one ever did, but only because the boss' boss overrode my choice of hard drives for it. After two weekends in a row of having to rebuild its RAID-5, he relented and let me put in the original drives. There were no problems after that. They also cost perhaps a third to half of what the Compaqs were.
I would never recommend untried, bleeding edge for any business, but there are plenty of good reasons to roll your own, and methodical ways to go about selecting components.
June 19, 2009 10:06:25 PM

chunkymonster said:
Do not build a server from scratch for office use that will hold data of any value. Give Dell, HP, or some other name brand system builder and buy a pre-built server that meets business needs. Pre-built server come with warranties, service contracts, and some level of vendor support

If I knew valuable business data was held on some home built a server, i'd have a few choice words for my IT guy.

I can't beleive that folks in these forums are recommending consumer/enthusiast level parts for an office server build...what's next, telling people to build there own backplane for an enterprise SAN...WTF?!?!


And you wonder why server motherboard makers like Supermicro and Tyan thrive in the presence of big OEMs?
It's because many companies do choose to build their own servers if they've got their own IT guys on tap 24/7, who are also the ones built the servers. Working as a SA in a small sized company our servers and network infrastructure were built by a system engineer and a network engineer respectively. A few Dell SANs running on iSCSI to our own servers also...etc. It's all mix and match and we maintain them on a daily basis.

Quote:
It will use it for a large database & all MyDocs/User Files of 35 computers. Limited budget.

Read what's being required before blabbering off about enterprise-class hardware nonsense. For the size we're talking about here off-the-shelve parts are fine.
Not all of us replying to this thread are your average just-got-off-Homebuilt-forum type of kids.
June 20, 2009 8:53:21 AM

kaagapay said:
I need to build a RAID 5 Server system for an office. Building from scratch.

It will use it for a large database & all MyDocs/User Files of 35 computers. Limited budget.



Can the motherboard do all the RAID processing or do I need a separate RAID card?

Any suggestions on the configuration?


There is posting like this in the forum but it is dated 2006. How about some current info!

THANKS
Walt


Adaptec and Areca make good quality controllers. I'd rate Adaptec higher, personally. I'd never trust my data just to a raid controller, no matter how good, without a good back-up strategy however. A SPOF will take you down for several days, be it a server failure, a raid controller failure, etc. Not to mention GIGO issues...
June 20, 2009 10:32:59 AM

An Access database of 100MB is our largest file with frequent access.
Our largest files are 500MB photoshop for printing tarpolines.
We are a publisher so our other files are docs, xls, indesign, etc.

We have a 3rd world budget. We're a Christian publisher in Manila, Philippines so our cash resources are not large. We upgrade our server about once every 10 years so it would be great if it could be expanded by buying something locally assembled.

Our Equipment...
Our Switch is D-Link - dynamic, unmanaged and new.
We stopped routing email through the server - we went to Google Apps.
We moved to nComputing's x550 - to cut the upgrade cost of computers in half.
Half of our 35 computers are very old. So a strong server is very important for backups and to boost our security.

:0 I'd prefer to hear from people who have built a server who can say what works or not!
What motherboard & Raid cards, etc.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Hey, anyone want to donate an slightly old server?
We have a 501.c3 counterpart in the USA so can even give tax deductible receipts.
Or mail us something we could sell!
Just being creative ;-)


Depending on Him,
Walt J.
Church Strengthening Ministry, Inc.
(an interdenominational ministry)
waltjohnston[at]gmail[dot]com
June 20, 2009 11:48:40 AM

MS Access is NOT a database. No logtapes, no ability to backout, no hot standby. At the very least you should be looking at MS SQL Expressions.
June 20, 2009 12:27:22 PM

We have MS Access and the accounting program is running. I am seeking to discuss a Server computer, pls.
a b V Motherboard
June 21, 2009 3:28:38 AM

@OP: State budget and where you will buy from
June 21, 2009 6:19:41 AM

Quote:
Half of our 35 computers are very old.

They do run at least Windows XP Pro don't they? (Just checking)
I've seen some organizations still running Win2K and Server 2008 (or SBS2008) isn't going to like that. And no point in buying license for soon to be phased out Server 2003.

And as Shadow703793 stated, knowing your budget should've been the first thing we asked.
Although I have a fair idea of the hardware you'll require, knowing your budget allows to incorporate different levels of redundancy.
June 27, 2009 4:49:17 PM

We already have Win.Server 2003 license.
My budget is about $1,300.

I found a Xitrix server that is about $1300. I'll check on Monday about the details. So I am wondering if I can put something together for less?

I see that Intel boards with P45 have RAID 5. Is RAID from the Motherboard unusually slow compared to a separate RAID card? Any way to say how much slower?

The Xitrix will include:
No Hot-swap housing
Quad Xeon 3220
2gb ddr2 memory
4 SATA HD bay
3 HD of 1tb each
integrated video (ATI ES1000)
3 year warranty on parts & labor
no OS
June 27, 2009 4:51:58 PM

Actually I am in the Philippines so I don't know if I have easy access to low prices but they are reasonable. Most that is available on special order, except hot-swap drives.

Ops, my email above was wrong. It's waltjohnstonn[at]gmail[dot]com
a b V Motherboard
June 28, 2009 2:28:53 AM

Quote:
Is RAID from the Motherboard unusually slow compared to a separate RAID card?

Depends on the controller. If comparing it to a true hardware based RAID controller yes, it will be a few MB/s slower.
June 28, 2009 5:41:26 AM

kaagapay said:
An Access database of 100MB is our largest file with frequent access.
Our largest files are 500MB photoshop for printing tarpolines.
We are a publisher so our other files are docs, xls, indesign, etc.


kaagapay said:
We already have Win.Server 2003 license.
My budget is about $1,300.


I found a Xitrix server that is about $1300. I'll check on Monday about the details. So I am wondering if I can put something together for less?

I see that Intel boards with P45 have RAID 5. Is RAID from the Motherboard unusually slow compared to a separate RAID card? Any way to say how much slower?

The Xitrix will include:
No Hot-swap housing
Quad Xeon 3220
2gb ddr2 memory
4 SATA HD bay
3 HD of 1tb each
integrated video (ATI ES1000)
3 year warranty on parts & labor
no OS


Find out what chipset that server uses. It sounds like Intel 3000 MCH, which is very old stuff and supports PCI-X expansion slots only and not PCIe we use nowadays for things like hardware RAID and NIC controllers. If that's the case then that $1300 would be better spent on a DIY build. Whether it has a "3 year warranty on parts & labor" or not, if any unlikely hardware fault does arise you will still need a technician to figure out where the fault is first anyway.

From what I've highlighted above, in terms of storage the database needs go onto a small array that's NOT RAID5 (reason). Something like 2x74GB WD Raptor in RAID1 will do; enterprise-class storage without using SAS which raises cost significantly. The same array can be used for the operating system.

For your other data the performance from host/driver RAID5 (e.g. Intel Matrix RAID) is fine. Either 3x500GB or 3x1TB depending on your storage need.
Be sure to get drives that support TLER like the WD RE series or Seagate ES series.

As I've said earlier in this thread a hardware RAID controller is really only needed for RAID5 or 6 array which needs high throughput especially if lots of writing to the array from client machines are involved. But normally under such conditions the GbE ports gets saturated first, unless you use link aggregation.
Again, a hardware RAID controller raises cost to the build significantly.

Finally all data still needs regular backups. RAID with redundancy only protect from drive failures and not from events like accidental deletion or virus.
a b V Motherboard
June 28, 2009 10:44:36 PM

^Dude, thanks for the info on TLER, never knew about it. It looks like quite a useful feature to have in a server/enterprise RAID.
!