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Disabling RAID...

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September 23, 2012 1:24:30 PM

Part 1: I now have an HP Proliant DL580 server. I plan to add (4) 500GB SATA hard drives and wish to use them as independent drives as one might in a desktop configuration (ie C:, D:, E:, F:) . How would I disable RAID and would this work ok?

Part 2: Also, is it possible to setup RAID in pairs? For example, if I install all (8) hard drives, could I have drives 1,3,5,7 be the unique drives mirrored in pairs by 2,4,6,8 (ie 1 & 2 mirrored 3 & 4 mirrored 5 & 6 mirrored 7 & 8 mirrored). This would give me the best of both worlds. I'd have 4 different drives all mirrored for redundancy in case of failure. Is this possible?

I appreciate any help that you guys can give to either question. I'm obviously a novice at servers and these are setup in my home for the sole purpose of me learning by experimenting. So if you have a suggestion that you think may work let me know. No business lives or dies by this. It is purely a hobby. Thanks again.

(In case it matters, the storage controller is an HP Smart Array P400/512MB BBWC and the drives that I'm interested in using are Western Digital Black WD5000BPKT)

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September 23, 2012 1:57:55 PM

The Smart Array card should allow you to configure the disks which ever way you like (at bootup it should allow you to configure the array by pressing CTRL+R (not 100% sure on the combo)), but the card will not fuction as a non raid card direct AHCI SATA interface. There is a HP Array configuration utility availiable on HPs website that allows you to configure the array from windows:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Driver...
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September 23, 2012 2:02:47 PM

During post, you will normally see a key combination, like CTRL-L to enter the disk management software to configure drives and yes, you can set the hdd's as single drives or multiple raid.

For a standard server, you would use two average size hdd's (for example 2x120GB) in raid-1 for o/s and raid-5 (minimum of 4xhdds) for data and then just partition the raid-5 in to seperate drives, sizes to suit yourself.

This way everything has some sort of backup.
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September 23, 2012 2:09:33 PM

Thanks das_stig, I can never remember the Ctrl combos, normally I set them up once and never have to re-set them again.
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September 23, 2012 6:36:56 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

hairystuff, are you saying that with the utility that I can setup the drives from within Windows to function as 4 independent drives using the storage controller that's installed?

And das_stig, you've suggested a combination Raid 1 Raid 5 setup. From your suggestion, I'm assuming that its best for the o/s to be on its own drive with apps installed on a seperate drive and other data on yet another drive? I always thought that this would slow things by having to access the drives seperately. (Be gentle. Remember, I'm a rookie.:) ) Also, is there a 1 for 1 RAID setup (meaning drives C and D are exactly duplicated with one able to be substituted for the other)? Or, should I just configure the drives independently and set the "redundant" drives on a backup schedule?

I believe I may be confused as to what I'm asking you guys for? What I'm trying to achieve is an exact backup for each installed drive and I'm not exactly sure of the best possible way to do this with a server.

Thanks again and keep the suggestions coming.
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September 23, 2012 7:22:13 PM

Hi elsaddiq, yes with the utility you can configure, rebuild and run diagnostics on your array (although I have never really used the utility to configure only run diagnostics and get email alerts from the smart array incase of failing disks, psu's and ram backup batteries on my HP Smart Array 6400), but in theory you can have hot swappable drives and have a hot spare incase of on the fly rebuilds.
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September 23, 2012 10:06:15 PM

Have a read of http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual... to configure the controller ( Basically pressing F8 during boot up when you see the controller messages come up ).

As for making backups - if you configure 2 drives as a RAID 1 array - they will automatically keep a copy of the data - it will appear to the OS as a single drive though.
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September 23, 2012 11:47:38 PM

I think nigelren has what I'm looking for. I wasn't sure this existed but after researching RAID 1, it seems that mirroring without striping or parity is exactly what I'm looking for. Now, if I can do RAID 1 pairs for each of 4 drives (8 drives total), I'll be a happy man. Researching...

And...

If I put the o/s on the two 146GB (15k rpm SAS) enterprise drives that came with the server as suggested by das_stig, can I then use the 500GB (7200 rpm SATA) drives for the apps, database, etc. without any noticeable loss in performance? Will the different drive types (SAS/SATA) mix on the storage controller without incident?
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September 24, 2012 9:48:43 AM

for mirroring I think its best to use the same type of drives, for spanning it doesn't matter as much.
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December 4, 2012 2:44:54 PM

Best answer selected by ELSADDIQ.
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