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to use RAID or not to use RAID

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by Tovis, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Tovis

    Tovis Member

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    Do any of you know the pros and cons of using RAID vs. not using it?
     
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  2. edgette

    edgette Member

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    What are you trying to gain with a raid setup? Redundant storage of your files? Performance?
     
  3. MatthewTimothy

    MatthewTimothy Active Member

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    depends on the amount of hdd space you have. RAID 1 is usually the best option because it makes two copies. Generally this RAID is used with two identical drives in size. The idea of it is if one drive fails the other has all your data on it. Drive 0 is dangerous because it separates the data and if one drive fails all the data is lost. If you are on a larger scale of drives and space there are other options such as RAID 5, which is required of a min of three drives. It span the data across all of them and if a drive fails you can add a new drive of equal or greater size and it will rewrite the data across it. But if you happen to be one of a million that may get two drives to fail in a RAID 5 you are screwed. There is RAID 1+0 which is RAID 1 and RAID 0 combined but you need at least 4 drives. There is RAID 6 as well but on a server level. Personally I run RAID 1 on mostly all computers and run a RAID 5 on my servers with a backup of redundancy. More info can be learned from here
     
  4. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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  5. MatthewTimothy

    MatthewTimothy Active Member

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  6. LittleSnakey

    LittleSnakey Member

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    We use raid 0 for performance. It does make a big difference in performance. we use Velociraptor 10,000 rpm hard drives
     
  7. anotherdog

    anotherdog Very Active Member

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    I use raid for ants.
     
  8. idsignsil

    idsignsil Member

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    I have a RAID 10 set up. 4 - 1 TB hard drives. 2 drives are my hard drive and the other 2 are a mirror. Can never have to many backups.
     
  9. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    Do always remember though that the intention of RAID is performance and/or fault tolerance, it is not intended to be your only backup. If you happen to get a virus, or a corrupted file, raid will happily make sure that corrupted file or virus is across all drives for you.... then again if you do have an actual backup and it is run then it will also back those up. You should however have a couple of backups that get rotated which help mitigate that sort of scenario.

    That being said, I stopped using RAID 0 when we changed our main boot/app drives to SSD's. Even a single SSD will spank the fastest 10k rpm drives in RAID 0 but with physical disks RAID 0 is a nice way to get maximum speed. Now for our bulk data drive, those are RAID 1 - just a single mirrored drive. The server which holds the older archive data has RAID 5. Then we make actual backups to external drives which get swapped with an offsite set weekly.
     
  10. SignBurst PCs

    SignBurst PCs Very Active Member

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    There are so many types of RAID and scenarios, your question is really hard to answer. I would really have to know a lot more specifics to give you an intelligent answer. What are you trying to achieve?
     
  11. Replicator

    Replicator Major Contributor

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    Well said, and I have had it happen on a few occasions . . .
     
  12. briankb

    briankb Active Member

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    I use RAID on every workstation now for data drives.

    With our last round of new workstations we set them up as follows:
    Primary for Operating System and Programs - SSD 120gb
    Data Drive - RAID 1 (two drives) 500 or 1TB each

    Our two web servers use four 500gb drives configured as RAID 10 (two mirrored pairs that hold a RAID 0 strip). This provides just over 900gb of storage and thanks to RAID 0 it is very fast. And since each stripe of RAID 0 is a mirrored pair, no single disk failure will take it down.

    My vote is RAID 1 for Workstations or Servers if you want to protect your work.

    If it's a Windows system use the built-in feature of Windows Vista/7 to handle your raid vs the bios raid. The windows raid is easy to configure and recover if you have a bad disk. The bios raid's are not always that good and I've never seen one with a user interface that was easy to use when you have to replace a bad disk.
     
  13. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    If you have four drives I prefer RAID 5 to RAID 10 but ymmv.

    Don't bother with RAID on workstations anymore, seems really old hat. In the NAS of course, obviously, but workstations should be imaged every night and you're adding complexity to a system for no real gain by using RAID in them. They shouldn't be storing files anyway (again, that's what the NAS is for, with offsite cloud redundant upload...) and a single SSD is plenty fast.
     
  14. Tovis

    Tovis Member

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    Wow, this is going to take a bit to read over. Thanks for all your input.

    I more or less want to have a server (Windows SBS Essentials) I want people to be able to access files from it (file sharing), and people use programs such as quickbooks in it remotely.

    It looks like, using a trial of the program I can tell it to back up certian things to certain places. Example (company folder to external hard drive).

    I did read that quickbooks doesn't work so hot with RAID.

    Is it fine just to tell the OS to back things up or better to have everything completely mirrored?
     
  15. tcorn1965

    tcorn1965 Very Active Member

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    Raid 10 here with 4 2TB Drives. Linux server
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  16. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    My super smart go to guy recommended it for me. I wanted a surefire backup system across our network and he said this would do the job.

    I'll still backup to external drives because I'm super paranoid about data loss. I've had it happen in the past and don't ever want to go through that crap again.
     
  17. choucove

    choucove Active Member

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    The use of RAID really depends all on the situation and specific goals you have in mind. As Casey stated, there are many different levels of RAID, each with their intended purpose, benefit, and disadvantage.

    What you are specifically stating is using RAID for protecting data storage on a file server system and not really the purpose of RAID 0 for performance. For data redundancy there are several possible RAID configurations you can choose, but keep in mind that RAID is not a backup solution, it's primary goal is to allow the system to continue running and holding your data in the case of a hard drive failure. You MUST have a solid backup system in place outside of that RAID as, more than once, I've seen RAID systems go down or fail in a way that leaves data destroyed or corrupted.

    The simplest and easiest RAID for redundancy for you to set up is going to be RAID1. This can be as simple as taking two large capacity (I'd recommend high quality and even enterprise grade) hard drives and configure them in a mirror with two separate partitions, one for the operating system and one for data. You can even take this a step further to help improve performance a bit and put your operating system on one set of small capacity drives in RAID 1 and another set of large capacity drives in RAID 1 just for your data. This way you can modify your OS RAID array or your DATA RAID array separately from one another without affecting the other.

    If you are wanting to get into really high capacities (greater than 2 TB) then you should start looking into other more complex forms of RAID. There is RAID 5 that requires at least 3 drives but you will be able to work with the full capacity of 2 out of the 3 drives. You can also assign hot-spare hard drives if you have an additional spare drive. In the event of a failure, the spare hard drive automatically begins reconstructing the RAID without the administrator needing to swap out drives, reconfigure, or run anything else. RAID 6 is a further adaptation of RAID 5 and requires at least four drives but can sustain failure of two hard drives where all the other RAID levels so far can only protect data from a single drive failure. However, RAID 6 is rather new and only supported on a few server-grade RAID controllers.

    Another option mentioned above is RAID 10 which requires at least 4 hard drives, and you will have half of the total drive capacity as usable space, but you gain the benefit of speed from striped data. This can be nice if you have need of a huge amount of disk throughput, but generally file sharing in a small business environment is not going to tax your disk throughput quite that much to need the additional speed of striping. This form of RAID can be configured on more devices than RAID 6 and can sustain failure of two hard drives, but those two drives cannot be in the same striped set or the data is lost.

    Finally this brings me to the actual controller. If you're looking at setting up a file server, what kind of hardware will be running this RAID array? Are you looking at a standard desktop system with just the onboard SATA controller, or are you looking at some form of dedicated RAID controller? This is going to make all the difference as well in what form of RAID you can/should consider for your file server.
     
  18. MatthewTimothy

    MatthewTimothy Active Member

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    im debating on one of these for a file server here

    Like you, I am paranoid and have 3 backups. 2 onsite and one off site. with an occasional file burn of external HDD
     
  19. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    Look at Synology or Qnap if you want a quality NAS, and remember that RAID is not backup. Still need offsite, cloud is easiest/more reliable than externals (fragile, relies on you remembering to do it).
     
  20. SignBurst PCs

    SignBurst PCs Very Active Member

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    I have seen many of you post that RAID (alone) is not a sufficient backup, which is true.

    BUT, a backup can be RAID (and often is).
     

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