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Drive recommendations for use with Raid ...

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September 18, 2012 1:15:47 PM

I'm planning to switch to Raid 50, and also to purchase new hard drives for this purpose.

Since I'm going to get a new raid controller that supports SATA 3 / 6gb, I thought these might be handy attributes for the hard drives:

Enterprise / 5 yr warranty
1TB (I don't need gobs of storage -- yet)
SATA 3
64mb cache
7200rpm

The controller will likely have 512mb RAM.

I currently have RAID 6 and want 50 for the performance.

I am assuming that the bigger cache and faster SATA interface would both make a difference. No?

Thanks for directing me to any discussion where discussions or hard drives meeting these requirement are being discussed.
September 18, 2012 1:33:58 PM

western digital red drives are the best raid drives for the money and even though they are 5400rpm will be bottlenecked by the transferspeeds you can get through a wired internet onnection. if you want a high cache and your already paying a lot you could get a ssd for caching. I'm not an expert with raid that is pretty much what i know about raid. you will need to get them from a different website than i linked they only let you get a 10. Pretty much any pc componet wil sell this drive.

western digital red= http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 18, 2012 3:03:53 PM

emperor piehead: I'm building a fast workstation so the network access limitation is not a factor.

I'm using a Supermicro case with eight internal RAID bays, so I could do Raid 50 and have six drives for the raid and two hot spares. The reason I'm not looking at Raid 60 is that it would require all eight slots and I'd have no hot spares.

I could convert my three half height bays to another Raid five-pack, and that WOULD give me room for hot spares and pass-thru drives, but I'd also be looking at a more expensive controller and have to run my DVD drives externally.

I don't know about the intellipower feature.

Looks like that drive only has a three year warranty.

I'll be replacing WD4000YR drives which were advertised with 1.2 million MTBF, but five of eight of them died within five years, and another since. The replacements fared better, but I think the longer warranty is essential.
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a b G Storage
September 18, 2012 4:24:31 PM

lasitter said:
emperor piehead: I'm building a fast workstation so the network access limitation is not a factor.

I'm using a Supermicro case with eight internal RAID bays, so I could do Raid 50 and have six drives for the raid and two hot spares. The reason I'm not looking at Raid 60 is that it would require all eight slots and I'd have no hot spares.

I could convert my three half height bays to another Raid five-pack, and that WOULD give me room for hot spares and pass-thru drives, but I'd also be looking at a more expensive controller and have to run my DVD drives externally.

I don't know about the intellipower feature.

Looks like that drive only has a three year warranty.

I'll be replacing WD4000YR drives which were advertised with 1.2 million MTBF, but five of eight of them died within five years, and another since. The replacements fared better, but I think the longer warranty is essential.


My next recommendation would be the WD RE4 Enterprise drives but it seems that you are not happy with them. I personally have been using the WD Black drives for a simple RAID0 (previously RAID1) for the past 2 years without an issue - maybe I've been lucky. But they do carry a five year warranty.

IMHO, if you are looking for speed/performance but are concerned about reliability I would stick with the RE4 drives due to the 5 year warranty and the fact that they are designed for NAS/RAID systems.

The Velociraptors are another option but I don't think they are available in the TB range.

With any mechanical drive, its a matter of time before it fails - SSD's are the alternate option but are mucho $$$$
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September 18, 2012 7:08:32 PM

ELMO_2006: The RE4 drives would seem to be winners, but if I read the specs correctly, they do not support 6gb/s. Why would they NOT support the SATA 3 standard?

Would there be a point in getting a fast controller for the RE4 drives?

When you switch to a raid strategy that involves some level of striping, I don't know where the bottleneck moves.

Would four striped drives w/64mb buffers benefit from a SATA 3 interface?

My reflexive response would be yes, but then I've not looked at any benchmarks.
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a b G Storage
September 18, 2012 9:23:28 PM

Q: Why would they NOT support the SATA 3 standard?
A: Marketing.

Q: Would there be a point in getting a fast controller for the RE4 drives?
A: If you refer to a SATA3 controller, I doubt it. But a dedicated controller would be the better option here

Q: When you switch to a raid strategy that involves some level of striping, I don't know where the bottleneck moves.
A: In the end the bottleneck would be the HDD's themselves and the controllers involved. For optimum speed/performance go with a hardware RAID controller that can perform on the fly expansion without formatting the entire array.

Q: Would four striped drives w/64mb buffers benefit from a SATA 3 interface?
A: I would say no as today's HDD's cannot come close to saturating the SATA2 interface.

Maybe someone else here can chime in and offer some assistance if not recommendations.

Hope this helps and I'm interested on how this all plays out. If you don't mind keeping us updated would be great if and where possible.

Edit: If you are looking into a RAID card, you may want to ensure that the RAID card supports both SATA2/SATA3 for future scalability and expansion.
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September 19, 2012 12:30:49 AM

I currently have an old mainboard with an Areca ARC-1120 PCI-X raid controller. I really like Win2k Server so that narrows the field a lot in terms of driver support.

None of the PCIe 3.0 controllers are going to offer support for Win2k, so that leaves me with PCIe 2.0.

Of the SATA III controllers offering Raid 50 and 60 that I've seen, these are the only two that offer support for at least eight drives via internal connectors with a half gig of cache:

MegaRAID SAS 9260-16i
http://www.lsi.com/products/storagecomponents/Pages/Meg...

MegaRAID SAS9280-16i4e
http://www.lsi.com/products/storagecomponents/Pages/Meg...

Intel has one supporting eight drives but only 256mb cache.

So I'm going from hardware raid to hardware raid. Hope that helps.
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a b G Storage
September 19, 2012 1:50:34 AM

lasitter said:
I currently have an old mainboard with an Areca ARC-1120 PCI-X raid controller. I really like Win2k Server so that narrows the field a lot in terms of driver support.

None of the PCIe 3.0 controllers are going to offer support for Win2k, so that leaves me with PCIe 2.0.

Of the SATA III controllers offering Raid 50 and 60 that I've seen, these are the only two that offer support for at least eight drives via internal connectors with a half gig of cache:

MegaRAID SAS 9260-16i
http://www.lsi.com/products/storagecomponents/Pages/Meg...

MegaRAID SAS9280-16i4e
http://www.lsi.com/products/storagecomponents/Pages/Meg...

Intel has one supporting eight drives but only 256mb cache.

So I'm going from hardware raid to hardware raid. Hope that helps.


WD does have HDD's that are SAS capable:

http://wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=10

As a side note, have you looked into the following:

http://lime-technology.com/

Sorry don't mean to complicate things further - :??: 
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September 20, 2012 8:17:34 PM

ELMO_2006 said:
Hope this helps and I'm interested on how this all plays out. If you don't mind keeping us updated would be great if and where possible.


So I need to rank order some drive / controller options for performance and reliability:

- 32 vs 64 meg drive cache

- SATA II vs SATA III drive

- SATA II vs SATA III raid controller

- Warranty: 3 vs 5 years.

- TLER / CCTL vs not

And a hybrid question: Would you rather have a 32 meg cache SATA III drive vs 64 meg cache SATA II drive?

WD RE4 WD1003FBYX
64 meg cache / SATA II / TLER: Yes / Warranty: 5 Years

WD Red WD10EFRX
64 meg cache / SATA III / TLER: - / Warranty: 3 Years

WD Black WD1002FAEX
64 meg cache / SATA III / TLER: - / Warranty: 5 Years

HGST Deskstar 0F12115 2TB
64 meg cache / SATA III 0F12115 / CCTL (Hitachi's TLER) / Warranty: 3 Years




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September 20, 2012 9:38:50 PM

Just called LSI and they made my life simpler!

Win2k Support? We were just kidding!

Even though the product page claims Windows 2000 compatibility, that's just a typo. You'd know only if you downloaded another global OS support matrix document where "EOL" and the red "x" indicate that there never was a driver for windows 2000 ...
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September 20, 2012 11:04:18 PM

Just went to the downloads page and downloaded software, driver and firmware files for controller in "archived" section. The readme says that Windows 2000 is supported with SP3. And LSI support now looks at the same document and tells me that the 12.05.03.00 rev file dated 2012/06/16 is also the CURRENT release ...

I'm waiting until I get the same answer twice.

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a b G Storage
September 21, 2012 1:39:24 PM

Hi lasitter...

To respond to your rank order...

It really won't matter much between 32 and 64MB cache and as for the drives, IMHO and it's only that, I would opt for the RE4's or if money is an issue, the RED's as long as you are working with HDD that are designed for RAID systems.
As for the RAID cards, ensure to get something that is futureproof in case you wish to upgrade from HDD to SSD's in which case you would want to take advantage of the SATA3 interface unless you get one that also supports SAS.
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September 21, 2012 2:30:31 PM

MegaRAID SAS 9260-16i supports SAS and can do this thing called "CacheCade" using SSDs in conjunction with HDDs. It's something that datacenters seem to be very interested in, and can be done with from one to 64 SSDs in addition to the regular RAID ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkfPK-Dgl68
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