Raid-1 or Raid-5 ? Hardware based or Software based ?

I am buying a new Dell T-7500 workstation.

After a Hard Disk crash once, I learned that I need an extra hard disk always ready in case one fails.

Dell is offering either software based Raid -1 OR Hardware based Raid-5 using PERC6/i SAS/SATA Hardware RAID Card with either 3 OR 4 Hard disks.

Specs of system are :

CPU : Intel Xeon E 5645 at 2.4 Ghz
8 GB ECC DDR3 1333 MHz RAM
500 GB SATA 7200 RPM HDDs with either Raid-1 or Raid-5
Windows - 7 Ultimate 64 bit
Currently I clone my HDD using Acronis True Image Home so that I always have an extra HDD ready but it is not in real time so I will still lose some data.

Even if I get a Raid system I still would like to continue cloning the HDD & keep them in remote locations.

My main goal is always having a cloned drive Ready. My concerns are as follows & need advice.

(1) I am not much of a technical person so if anything goes wrong like a Hard disk failure, how difficult would it be to replace the failed HDD & Rebuild the array ?

(2) Would I still be able to clone a HDD as I am currently doing using Acronis software ?

(3) Should I get Hardware based Raid or software based & whether Raid-1 OR Raid – 5 & how many HDDs should I get ( 3 or 4 ) if I get Raid-5 ?

(4) I frequently Fresh Install Windows-7 in Primary Partition & I have 6 partitions. I just format the Primary Partition & Install OS.
It is very easy to do now. But will it still remain same with Raid-1 OR Raid-5 ?

Thank You.
2 answers Last reply
More about raid raid hardware based software based
  1. I'm not a big fan of software based RAID, though we used to use Windows Server mirroring years ago.

    In my opinion, get your RAID out of your workstation. We obviously are pre-disposed to using NAS on a network for data and realize that may not be in your budget.

    But a reasonably priced NAS does nothing but data and can do that one job well. lots of benefits regarding hot swap, expansion, upgrading drives, etc that would not be the case in a workstation.

    We are putting SSD's in workstations and putting any data of any size on a NAS such that an 80GB or 120GB SSD is all the workstation ever needs.

    This way the workstation does not need a massive power supply, extra add-in cards and suck lots of power/dirt (and make noise).

    We seldom order the SSD from the manufacturer, so the original drive that comes in the workstation can be used both for a backup of "new state" and has room for Acronis image backups too. (Can probably use Windows 7 image backups if you like). - or, just clone it.
  2. dan99t said:
    Currently I clone my HDD using Acronis True Image Home so that I always have an extra HDD ready but it is not in real time so I will still lose some data.

    Yes that is true! There are TWO failures you need to look at:
    Files Corruption cause by Virus, software bugs...
    Hardware failed cause by drives go bad.

    I would use the set up for server HDD for OS and HDD for Data

    a_ Small HDD for OS and Programs - an ideal is 40~100GB SSD, fast and easy to image
    Better solution is use a hardware raid1 like iMirror525A and connected to TWO drives
    Then you are safe in both failure
    Just remember to re-image when new program is installed

    b_ Relative bigger 3.5 HDD for data, back your data to another drive with schedule. Use the freeware program like:

    Now you are safe from both failures
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