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Newbie With RAID Questions

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February 13, 2012 2:13:10 AM

I have read the RAID sticky at the top of this forum. Still have questions.

I'm about to build a new desktop computer for a small home business. I am planning to use (2) SSD's 60gb each. I am planning to have a 1tb external drive for storage. The reason I chose to use SSD's is for speed. It's a concern with a specific software I am planning to run.

I have architecture questions.

The (2) 60gb SSD's are not enough capacity to store all the data I will generate with this computer. I am wanting to reserve those SSD's only for the Windows 7 Pro operating system, Office Pro and my own industry specific software. I don't want to save anything on these SSD's.

I want to use the external 1TB hard drive to do the actual storage of my data. Thats going to be a regular old SATA 7200RPM HDD.

Pardon me for not using the proper terminology. I'm a newbie to this type of architecture/configuration. Do I want to RAID those two SSD's? I want speed. I want read/write capability.

But if I RAID those 2 drives - is that pointless since I plan to save out to the external 1TB drive?

I don't even know how to configure a RAID setup or if I would need a 3rd or 4th SSD to do it.

Thanks for any help.

More about : newbie raid questions

a b G Storage
February 13, 2012 2:26:37 AM

If you RAID the SSD's and install windows and programs ONLY to these drives it will mean the starting of windows & the programs will be fast but as soon as you open the file you want to work on (stored on external HDD) in that program everything will go back to USB speed.

What your after is called a SCRATCH drive. where you keep your SSD raid for windows & Programs.
Get another SSD raid setup for your working files and archive non current projects & files to the external where speed dosnt matter.
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a b G Storage
February 13, 2012 2:28:35 AM

if your on a budget i would do the following

get a new single SSD for Windows & Programs
Raid ur Current SSD's for the scratch Drive
Remove the 1tb from it's enclosure and mount it inside the PC as an archive location. (it will be 2x quicker inside the PC rather than on USB)
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February 13, 2012 2:39:45 AM

It's all new stuff, so I'll just return the 1TB external drive.

Have already ordered parts, but they are not here yet.

I am willing to buy more parts and return any previously purchased parts that might not work.

I want speed. I want read/write speed but I need a ton of storage capacity. Well, maybe 1tb is not a ton in todays world, but to me it is a ton.

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February 13, 2012 2:49:03 AM

How can I use SSD drives to increase my speed?

How can I build redundancy/safety into the machine?

I am investing a lot of money into this machine and it's going to be making a pretty good paycheck for me. I cannot afford for it to be unstable. I cannot afford to lose my data in a year or two. I cannot afford slow performance.

I CAN afford backup disks.
I CAN afford to buy more SSD's if I need too.
I CAN afford standard SATA HDD's for whatever back up or storage I need.

If you want a list of the components I have already purchased, let me know and I will provide links.

Gotta go to bed. My 'day job' calls and I need sleep before Monday morning. Thanks for your help so far. The 2 posts above were already miles more clear and informative than the other computer forum I visited.

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February 13, 2012 4:21:07 AM

Well, the question I have for you is what the holy hell you're doing where you'll actually get a speed boost from putting SSDs in Mirror RAID. (There are some thing you can do where this might be the case, but they're pretty rare, and I doubt you're actually doing them.) Your "speed" bottleneck is much more likely to be processor-based or in RAM bus speeds than disk I/O. So you can make the drive setup as blazingly fast as you want, but you're unlikely to actually get a faster system if you're not using a really high end processor and top-tier RAM, which are both prohibitively expensive, and more typically found in server systems than desktop or workstation setups.

Like hugo suggested, you need a scratch drive for storing your data. If you're really worried about losing the data, get two, and RAID them.

You could do something like a two disk Mirror RAID of Western Digital Caviar Black WD1502FAEX 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives ($170 each at newegg)... or sacrifice capacity for speed and get two smaller, lower capacity drives for a similar price, like the Western Digital VelociRaptor WD4500HLHX 450GB 10000 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive, at $260 each, limit one per customer on newegg.

As to backups, well, there's a saying that data you only have in one place, you don't care about losing.

Doesn't matter if you're using top of the line, best in class gear or not, there's always a small chance of a hard drive failure. Even the best drives and product lines have a failure rate of about 3% percent a year. The simplest, cheapest backup solution would be to keep a copy of your data and the system SSD on a high capacity external drive. I've got a couple of these. 3TB, for about 200 bucks a pop, and they seem like they might do what you want. Just use drive imaging software to to drop a copy of your 60GB OS disk to the external drive periodically, and manually copy, or use a script/scheduled task to copy off the stuff from the data drive. You could easily keep a few months worth of OS drive backups on one of those external drives, in addition to having a second copy of your data.

Doing "true" backups would cost thousands of dollars, and doesn't sound like a worthwhile investment for you at this time, but if it is, I can share my professional experience with enterprise LTO tape backup systems.

And just as a quick thought... if you're "investing a lot of money into this machine," why don't you do something like by a high performance Dell, and pay a few hundred bucks for their next day business class support and warranty service? Seems like a safer bet than a home-build with no warranty or support if something goes wrong. (I mention Dell because I've used them professionally, and had good experiences with their warranty replacement services - I'm sure other computer vendors offer similar services for their business-class desktops as well.)
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February 13, 2012 11:24:04 AM

1905116,6,291081 said:
Well, the question I have for you is what the holy hell you're doing where you'll actually get a speed boost from putting SSDs in Mirror RAID. (There are some thing you can do where this might be the case, but they're pretty rare, and I doubt you're actually doing them.) Your "speed" bottleneck is much more likely to be processor-based or in RAM bus speeds than disk I/O. So you can make the drive setup as blazingly fast as you want, but you're unlikely to actually get a faster system if you're not using a really high end processor and top-tier RAM, which are both prohibitively expensive, and more typically found in server systems than desktop or workstation setups.

I'm using an estimating program to view large pdf files and strip data off them.

Quote:
Like hugo suggested, you need a scratch drive for storing your data. If you're really worried about losing the data, get two, and RAID them.
ok - what type of drive is the SCRATCH drive and how do I configure the system to write to it?

Quote:
You could do something like a two disk Mirror RAID of Western Digital Caviar Black WD1502FAEX 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives ($170 each at newegg)... or sacrifice capacity for speed and get two smaller, lower capacity drives for a similar price, like the Western Digital VelociRaptor WD4500HLHX 450GB 10000 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive, at $260 each, limit one per customer on newegg.

As to backups, well, there's a saying that data you only have in one place, you don't care about losing.

Doesn't matter if you're using top of the line, best in class gear or not, there's always a small chance of a hard drive failure. Even the best drives and product lines have a failure rate of about 3% percent a year. The simplest, cheapest backup solution would be to keep a copy of your data and the system SSD on a high capacity external drive. I've got a couple of these. 3TB, for about 200 bucks a pop, and they seem like they might do what you want. Just use drive imaging software to to drop a copy of your 60GB OS disk to the external drive periodically, and manually copy, or use a script/scheduled task to copy off the stuff from the data drive. You could easily keep a few months worth of OS drive backups on one of those external drives, in addition to having a second copy of your data.

Doing "true" backups would cost thousands of dollars, and doesn't sound like a worthwhile investment for you at this time, but if it is, I can share my professional experience with enterprise LTO tape backup systems.


I understand that.

Quote:
And just as a quick thought... if you're "investing a lot of money into this machine," why don't you do something like by a high performance Dell, and pay a few hundred bucks for their next day business class support and warranty service? Seems like a safer bet than a home-build with no warranty or support if something goes wrong. (I mention Dell because I've used them professionally, and had good experiences with their warranty replacement services - I'm sure other computer vendors offer similar services for their business-class desktops as well.)


Because off the shelf computers come with tons of bloated software that I don't want to deal with. Also, by the time I buy one of those, I'm already well into the cost of building my own. So I decided to do it on my own and only install the software that I want.
[/quote]
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February 13, 2012 4:20:20 PM

poordad said:
I'm using an estimating program to view large pdf files and strip data off them.


Yes, then it's unlikely that your hard drive I/O will be the bottleneck. If you'd like to hedge your bets anyway, you could always buy a couple high-capacity SSDs and put those in mirror RAID. (Several hundred bucks each, and a lot more than I'd pay for at best, a few hundredths of a second improvement per file operation, but it's your system and your money, so maybe it's worth it to you.)

poordad said:
ok - what type of drive is the SCRATCH drive and how do I configure the system to write to it?


Just a normal internal hard drive. It's connected to the mobo like the "OS drive," but into a different SATA port, obviously. Assuming Windows, the system should see it automatically, and you may have to format it and assign it a drive letter through the Disk Management screen. then instead of saving your files to "My Documents," You'd save them to D:\mydata\ (for example).

poordad said:
Because off the shelf computers come with tons of bloated software that I don't want to deal with. Also, by the time I buy one of those, I'm already well into the cost of building my own. So I decided to do it on my own and only install the software that I want.


Fair enough. I'm a custom-build guy myself, but for all my professional stuff, I buy Dells for the warranty and support. Component dies, and I've got a replacement part next business day. Seemed like maybe something that would be useful to you, but going custom build is certainly a reasonable way to go too.
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February 14, 2012 1:06:46 AM
February 18, 2012 2:33:13 AM

The new computer is up and running. Still downloading some updated drivers and windoze updates, but I am typing this message from the new machine.

I decided NOT to Raid 0 the hard drives. I decided not to even use the SDD's. Going to sell them and try to recoup some of the money. I don't see the point of using the SDD's as a SCRATCH drive. Such a waste of money. I'm going to archive out to the external drive unless somebody wants to go into detail and tell me how to remove it from the case and make it work inside the computer. It's one thing to tell an inexperienced user to do that. It means nothing if you can't back it up with directions on how to do it. Just sayin'

I did use both of the Western Digital 250gb hard drives instead. They are configured RAID 1
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