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RAID 1/0 w/OS on a SSD. No clue where to start.

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September 8, 2011 2:29:05 PM

Hello,
Is it possible and if so how, to build a RAID 1/0 with 4 or 6 (750gb) HDD's and have a 5th (2TB) HDD to backup all of that and a 6th SSD to have my OS (windows 7) boot from. Or would it be better to have the OS boot from the RAID 1/0 as well? This will be part of a brand new build (no existing configuration). How the hell do I set that up? Or is there a better idea that anyone may have for a set up? Basically I want the speed of striping and a good solid backup and to avoid my system from taking 5 minutes to start and load and run programs for video/picture editing and games in the shortest amount of time. Other ideas are appreciated as well.

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a b G Storage
September 8, 2011 4:03:57 PM

With 4 or 6 drives both RAID1 and RAID0 are a bad idea. With RAID0 if *any* of the drives fail you're going to lose all of the data from the array. With RAID1 if you're using n drives then the speed of the RAID1 will be 1/n the speed of a single drive. For two drives that's an acceptable sacrifice, but it's too much for 4+ drives.

What is the budget? Booting off of an SSD is usually enough speed for anyone and putting two drives in RAID1 will protect against single drive failure for mass storage drives. If you want to run a lot of programs off the SSD you'll need ~120GB or maybe ~240GB which gets expensive.

RAID1 is not fool-proof backup, though. It doesn't protect against viruses, accidental deletes, power surges, data corruption, or if your house burns down. I use RAID1 myself for mass storage, but for important files there is no substitute external (preferably off-site) backup.
a b G Storage
September 8, 2011 4:16:55 PM

Why are you looking to build a RAID array? If you are buying a SSD you will have the best performance from booting from the SSD. The RAID idea is OK if you are trying to set up a server, but for a workstation the risk reward is not worth the bother.

You would be bettter off setting up a SSD boot system with a faster (7200 rpm) HDD for video editing. However, most video editing does not see any benefit from fast HDDs. The problem is with the nature of video editing. You could do a test by setting up video editing on the SSD, and seeing if there is a difference between the SSD and the HDD. If you show a performance boost then you would be better off buying a second SSD dedicated to video editing. When you are finished editing transfer your files to a HDD.

Now, I believe that you have gone on a wild goose chase because the bottleneck in video editing is usually the CPU or the GPU. Editing and transcoding are more processor intensive than disk intensive.

In short, a RAID array is not a good idea. Yes, get a good SSD (the larger the better) and use it for boot and games. Also get a good HDD for storage (Samsung or Hitachi are best reliability/price performers). Test if there is any improvement with video editing on the SSD. If so then consider buying a dedicated SSD for video editing. If not (and this is my prediction), then use the HDD to do all of your video editing.

Look for the best reliable SSD and HDD you can afford. Set up a good back up with a second HDD if you can afford it. When buying HDDs consider 2 TB capacity.
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a b G Storage
September 8, 2011 4:51:09 PM

chesteracorgi said:
short, a RAID array is not a good idea.


I think RAID1 is a fine idea, *especially* because video editing doesn't see much of a difference in hard drive speeds. Single drive failure is the biggest concern for experienced users (i.e. those who are safe about viruses and who don't make stupid delete/overwrite mistakes) in terms of data loss, in my opinion, and two drives in RAID1 is a reasonable safeguard (if you can afford the drives).
September 8, 2011 5:06:43 PM

danraies said:
With 4 or 6 drives both RAID1 and RAID0 are a bad idea. With RAID1 if *any* of the drives fail you're going to lose all of the data from the array. With RAID0 if you're using n drives then the speed of the RAID0 will be 1/n the speed of a single drive. For two drives that's an acceptable sacrifice, but it's too much for 4+ drives.

What is the budget? Booting off of an SSD is usually enough speed for anyone and putting two drives in RAID1 will protect against single drive failure for mass storage drives. If you want to run a lot of programs off the SSD you'll need ~120GB or maybe ~240GB which gets expensive.

RAID1 is not fool-proof backup, though. It doesn't protect against viruses, accidental deletes, power surges, data corruption, or if your house burns down. I use RAID1 myself for mass storage, but for important files there is no substitute external (preferably off-site) backup.


RAID 0 is striping. It provides nX the speed for both writing and reading. There is no performance hit for using RAID 0. A single disk failure takes down the RAID.

RAID 1 is mirroring. It provides 1X the speed for writing, and nX the speed for reading. It can survive n-1 disk failures.

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As for the original question, I agree with Chesteracorgi.

I would probably setup two identical size HDDs with one as a data drive and one as a backup drive. I wouldn't do RAID 1 because it tends to wear out the backup drive due to identical usage. If you write a script that does automatic daily incremental backups it puts less strain on the backup disk while providing the same backup just not instantaneous. If you can live with losing at most 1 days worth of work it is superior to RAID 1. You can also keep differential daily/weekly backups that go back for months using very little disk space. That protects against making stupid mistakes like accidentally deleting a file which RAID 1 won't help with.

I would only use RAID if I truly needed the performance boost and I couldn't use a small SSD as a scratch drive. I used RAID once when I was younger and it is more hassle than it is worth. Currently all my DVDs, home videos, home pictures, and documents are contained on a single 1.5TB drive, and if I ever needed more space I'd just move one of those categories to a new drive and mount it in the same place it was before (/share/media/<category>)
a b G Storage
September 8, 2011 6:30:00 PM

danraies said:
With 4 or 6 drives both RAID1 and RAID0 are a bad idea. With RAID1 if *any* of the drives fail you're going to lose all of the data from the array. With RAID0 if you're using n drives then the speed of the RAID0 will be 1/n the speed of a single drive. For two drives that's an acceptable sacrifice, but it's too much for 4+ drives.





My god, go do some research on RAID levels before offering help.



RAID 1 is mirroring. If you had two drives in a RAID 1, and lose one drive, you still have all your data on the other drive. The speed of the array is as fast as the slowest drive in the mirror. Ideally, you mirror identical drives anyhow. In a RAID 0, if you lose one drive, all is lost. However, with a RAID 0, the speed scales with the number of drives (not linear, eventually you get to a point of dimishing returns). Two drives in a RAID 0 offers about an 80% increase in speed above just one drive (not quite double, because there is a slight amount of overhead with striping). A RAID 10 is basically a pair of mirrors, striped. You need a minimum of 4 drives to implement. You can lose any one drive, and not lose your data. This solution offers speed as well as performance. You also have RAID 0+1, which is a pair of stripes, mirrored. RAID 0+1 and 10 have similar performance characteristics. The determining factor would be your migration path if you decide to add disks, or migrate the array to a different RAID level. Some controllers don't migrate nested RAID levels in certain ways. You would need to check with your RAID card/chipset manufacturer to determine this.

Depending on what kind of performance you need, and what kind of controller you will be using, RAID 5 isn't a bad option (assuming you have a good controller). A properly configured RAID 5 with descent drives and a good controller will still manage 80-90MB/sec. A RAID 5 provides reduncancy via striped parity blocks. A RAID5 array's storage space is n-1 (e.g. four 750gb drives would net you 2.25TB of redundant space). If one drive fails, you still have all of your data, and the array runs in a non-optimal status while you replace the failed drive. Once the failed drive is replaced, the controller rebuilds the data and parity from the remaining drives to the new drive, and all is well.
a b G Storage
September 8, 2011 6:39:57 PM

Settle down people, I just made a typo. I fixed it in my reply.
a b G Storage
September 8, 2011 7:09:41 PM

Set up the SSD as C:, set up the multiple 750GB drives as raid 5 for your storage, probably mounted as D:, put in the 2TB for backup as E:.
a b G Storage
September 8, 2011 7:15:43 PM

cadder said:
Set up the SSD as C:, set up the multiple 750GB drives as raid 5 for your storage, probably mounted as D:, put in the 2TB for backup as E:.





You wouldn't really need the 2TB drive as a backup, if you were running a RAID 5 with a half dozen 750GB drives. You would have redundancy in the RAID 5 set. If the data was mission critical, you might have a seperate, independent backup drive, however, i'd recommend it be an offline storage like an external drive, so if a virus or power surge were to take out the entire system, the external drive would survive (provided it was offline / disconnected when not actually doing a backup. Another option is a RAID 6, so you could lose any two drives and still be good, if your data is that important. However, most onboard RAID controllers and cheap add-in cards won't do RAID 6.

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