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Server hard drive config with raid

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Last response: in Systems
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April 11, 2011 8:47:52 PM

So I have a a newly acquired server that I will be using as a web server and ftp server for some of our office computers. I want to use RAID 1 to mirror the storage drives for redundancy using a highpoint rocket raid card that I have purchased. The server has Win XP Pro 32bit SP3 installed already on a clean install. I have 2- 1TB WD HDD to use for the RAID.

After researching several forums there are devided opinions about what is better and I am looking for some expert advice, which I always get in this forum.

My question is: Should I just put the data drives (the 2-1TB drives) in a RAID 1 config and only use for data and keep a separate disk to run the OS or should a just use the 2 1TB drives and partition them with 2 partitions, 1 for the OS and the other logical partition for the stored data? I have traditionally installed 2 drives and just created different logical partitions so if one drive fails the other just works until I replace the drive. On the other hand I have heard people suggest that you place the OS on its own drive separate from the data. But in the case of a failure of the OS drive we would have to reinstall everything instead of just letting the OS/DATA array rebuild once a new drive is inserted. The RAID card I have only support two drives so two separate arrays are not possible at this time.

What do you guys think?
April 11, 2011 9:03:15 PM

You could always put in a second RAID controller to run two RAID 1 configurations. They are not very expensive. If you are going to the trouble of implementing a dedicated Server then this would be a sensible investment. I assume that the motherboard in the system does not have its own RAID controller? Obtaining a Motherboard that has its own RAID would answer all your problems. You don't need anything amazing to run a basic RAID 1 set up.
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April 12, 2011 5:11:57 AM

I did think about using 2 cards, but I haven't ever heard of anyone doing that. Onboard raid sux! I have personal nightmare experience with that. Dedicated raid cards are the way to go.

Thanks for your reply.
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April 13, 2011 4:18:15 AM

Do you have a service level agreement that requires minimal downtime? Otherwise I would go with OS, Data and Backup instead of RAID. A virus, os corruption and numerous other things will still wipe out your RAID array. You shouldn't ever have to reinstall. That's what backups are for.
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April 13, 2011 4:49:33 AM

I would personally go with Raid 1, if you want a backup of all files. Virus's are dangerous to all data, but If it is protected with good software i.e. Trendnet or something like that, you should be ok. Is it going to be for transactional purposes or for uploading? If for uploading purposes, then I would recommend using one drive for storage and have another for backup on a daily basis. Just my opinion
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April 13, 2011 6:03:44 AM

I appreciate your opinion. The purpose of a RAID is never to protect data from a virus. It is merely to boost write/read speed, capacity or to provide redundancy depending on the RAID implementation you use. In my situation we are trying to obtain maximum uptime as a webserver/backup location.

Since the only thing I am trying to do is minimized my downtime in a the event of a hard drive failure. By implementing RAID 1 configuration I get a mirrored copy in case a single drive fails. A virus cannot wipe out a hardware implemented RAID array. But I think the sentence after Uniquename said that really hit the nail on the head and made the light bulb in my head go off. "You shouldn't ever have to install" You are totally right. So I think my original idea and just use two drives RAID 1 and create different partitions for the OS and the data.

My plan is to have the mirrored drive RAID 1 config. Back that up two a swapable
e-sata removable hdd. I am also working on securing offsite cloud storage. Its all about the data.

_unas_ - In either scenario I was going to implement RAID 1. That was not the question. Given now that you know more of my situation, what do you think?

What do you guys think?
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April 13, 2011 4:46:27 PM

I would probably use a separate drive for the OS and ghost an image of that drive in case of failure. On the other hand, what Wamphryi suggests would probably work as well.

-Wolf sends
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April 13, 2011 4:52:34 PM

Has anyone actually done this? I have never seen multiple raid cards in any computer.
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April 13, 2011 8:49:07 PM

While I appreciate this I didn't see anywhere in the thread that they we going to use 2 raid cards at the same time. I have never seen that.
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April 13, 2011 10:20:24 PM

I guess I assumed that if they could run two RAID arrays off of a single card (question #3); which I also assume would require multiple controllers, then you should be able to run two separate RAID Controller cards in one system. I've never tried this myself, but if the controller is on the card, itself, then I don't see any reason you couldn't run as many controllers as you could install in the system.

-Wolf sends
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