How To Set Up Lightning-Fast RAID the Simple Way

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outcast

so where are the benchmarks? im REALLY curious to see what difference ssd caching makes.

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handyman315

"If a RAID 0 array crashes, all the data is lost."

Contrast that statement with,

"If a hard drive crashes, all the data is lost."

The first statement, no more devastating than the hard drive statement, has given RAID0 a bad rap for years now.  I thought we had moved beyond it, but apparently not.

What both statements should actually say is, "If a RAID0 (or hard drive) crashes, never to be read again, all the data is lost."

In fact, if we are not talking about a true head crash (which is extremely rare), most crashes - whether a RAID0 or a single hard drive - are seldom IMMEDIATELY terminal, i.e., most hard drives, whether in a RAID0 or standing alone give lots of warning before failing, never to be read again.

And to state it simply, once either one is read again, the data is still lying right where it always was - whether in a RAID0 or on a single hard drive.

Please, let's stop perpetuating the myth, at least at a magazine as fine as "MAXIMUM PC".

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outcast

RAID 0 is a higher risk because if EITHER of the drives dies your whole RAID set it dead. you are doubling your chance of failure. true, neither solution has redundancy (single drive, raid 0) but when you think of it as a dataset where a single drive is a single dataset and a raid 0 is a single dataset, the RAID 0 is twice as volitile. 

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bautrey

I have just got done finished building my system with a RAID setup as the boot device and there is one crucial thing that you can add to make another noob's problems easier:  

When installing Windows 7 onto a RAID drive, you need the RAID Driver from your motherboard.  You have to load it by goign to repair computer and clicking on the inf file.  If you could have added this small piece of information, you could have saved me a couple of hours...

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Sovereign

"Avoid RAID5" isn't accurate--"Avoid software RAID5 under Windows" is more accurate.

MDRAID in Linux is pretty reliable.

I use hardware RAID5 (Dell PERC5/i snared off eBay).  RAID0 and RAID1 don't generally create a computational load or potential for screw ups as high as "fake RAID5" does.  So using "mobo RAID" for these is fine, even RAID10/0+1 are okay from the mobo.

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lien_meat

I will never ever trust a fakeraid (integrated on the MB), they always seem to fail.  Windows based software raids I have never tried myself, but my friend has lost plenty of data when windows screws up and he can't recover properly...so I don't know that I would trust that either...he's had so much bad luck...and bought a pretty expensive raid card after that to prevent it happening again.

What I would recommend, if a high quality raid card is out of the question for you, that I have personally never had a problem with yet, and have depended on for years, is LVM in linux.  It's more reliable than windows software raid (as far as my and my friend's experience tells me), more flexible than any regular raid type mentioned, and can scale to pretty much infinity.  Drive Extender in WHS (not the latest one, they killed the feature) was the closest thing in windows you could get...but it's gone now.  If your linux install has issues, no problem.  Pop in a live cd, install lvm if it isn't already included, and you can do whatever you like...it will just work.  Re-install linux, mount your lvm volumes...you are all good...nothing tricky to worry about.

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Insula Gilliganis

The storage enclosure pictured in this article is a Rosewill RSV-S8, a three year old design still available at Newegg for $270  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132016  Thought this article was going to be about putting together one of these puppies, but a nice article nonetheless.

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wcj786

I completely disagree with your suggestion about avoiding RAID5.  Sure, there is a slight hit on write speeds, but unless a person is continually writing files to the hard drive (which most aren't), the read speeds are almost as good as RAID0 and you have the safety of being able to lose a drive, yet still retain all of your data.

Just based on the picture of the case and hard drives in this article, it would make better sense from a person to put a RAID5 solution in it than either RAID0 or RAID1.  They would get a 14TB dirve with RAID5, using 2TB disks, versus a 16TB drive with RAID0 or an 8TB drive with RAID1 or RAID10. 

So, they get an equivalent read speed with the RAID0 and RAID5 in this solution, but with the RAID5 have the security of recovering all of their data if one of the HDD's go bad, whereas the RAID0 solution would lose all of their data.  The RAID 1 and RAID10 solutions cut 6TB from the storage.  Unless the data is crucial to them, the extra storage would normally outweigh the redundancy, since with RAID5, you can recover from losing one HDD.  Granted, if more than one HDD failed in a RAID5, then unless you replaced the first and rebuilt the RAID before the second HDD failed, you would lose your data, while that would be less of a problem with a RAID1 or RAID10 solution.  But, even with a RAID10 solution, if one drive from each mirrored portion of the RAID failed, you would lose all of the data.

If you look at companies that utilize RAID for their businesses, you find that RAID5 and RAID6 are much more common than RAID0, RAID1, or RAID10.  (Putting RAID6 in the example above with 8 HDD's would net a single drive of 10TB, yet two separate disks could fail and still be able to recover all data.)

So, in my opinion, your suggestion of avoiding RAID5 is the exact opposite of what people should be doing, as long as they are going to be utilizing 3 or more HDD's.  I personally use RAID5 with 8 HDD's in a similar case shown in the article.  I keep ebooks, movie backups, pictures, documents, and any other data storage I have a need to access on that drive, along with PC games such as WoW, StarCraft 2, Battlefield 2, etc.  I have never had an issue with write speeds.

I do admit that I am not using an integrated RAID controller, but a separate PCIe card to handle my RAID, but the integrated solutions, of which I have used in the past, handle RAID in the same way.

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someuid

wcj786 is so spot on, I give a +2.

RAID5 is far superior to RAID 0 and 1.

And I can not stress enough the point that RAID is only a solution to protect you from HARDWARE failures.  Software failures will kill any RAID system you use.  A virus, file system corruption, getting too happy with the delete key - RAID won't protect you from those failures and accidents.

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Deanjo

In general, Windows RAID is useful when other RAID controllers aren’t available, but with the widespread availability of Intel and other third party RAID controllers, it’s generally better to use those.

One HUGE disadvantage of using the fakeRAID (aka BIOS Raid) is that if your motherboard fails you better hope like heck that an identical replacement is available (at bare minimum, the same chipset) or kiss that data goodbye.  With a software raid that array can easily be migrated to another motherboard or chipset with your data intact.

 

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Athlonite

 With a software raid that array can easily be migrated to another motherboard or chipset with your data intact.

 

you mean Hardware array right as software is what comes built in on mobo's and it's that that isn't transferable between different mobo's

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CalDrumr

Very informative post.  Thank you!  Just the kind of article I like to see from the greatest magazine ever!

Is it easy to set up a RAID that uses a couple of drives out of a larger set of drives?  For instance, if I have six drives in a system, would it be easy to set up a RAID 0 that uses just two of the drives, leaving the others to function separately?

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handyman315

Yes.

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Carlidan

Here Here

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praetor_alpha

I'm waiting for BTRFS to mature.

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Logun

In the Intel RAID Configuration BIOS one of the 2 SSD drives I have in the RAID 0 is listed as Error Occurred(0)

I can boot to windows fine and completely ignore this error. I can also go into the IRST software and click the "set drive to normal" which makes the error go away - and maintains the RAID.

So what's the error? any ideas? Thanks!!

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don2041

This post is more like what I want to see on MAXPC.

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DasHellMutt

I currently have a single 1TB drive with two partitions. One partition for the OS and core applications and another for data and games. This is all running on a Z68 Sandy Bridge based system.

I have read that the SSD caching only supports a single volume (read: partition) rather than a single drive. Could I move my OS partition to its own SSD use a second SSD to cache the terabyte drive wth all of my games on it? If so that would give me great speed and reliability for a large amount of data while preserving the flexability of having my OS and data separate.

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Athlonite

simple answer yes

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bautrey

I have some questions:  

When I configure an SSD RAID 0 array, is it possible to flash the firmware on the SSD after I set up the array. Or is it possible to flash the SSD's while in the BIOS, before I set up my system?

Would I be fine without a dedicated RAID controller for a system with a RAID 0 and a RAID 5? 

 

Specs:  

ASUS Sabertooth 990FX

FX-8150

2 x Corsair GT Seies 120GB SSD's

3 x Hitachi 3TB HDD's

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Logun

Yes you can update the firmware without wrecking the array and without losing data. But still do a backup before you attempt to update the firmware. I do believe this is accomplished by using a linx based OS which handles the RAID slightly different than Windows does - allowing you to see each drive within the array.

For instructions on how to update the firmware please see the Corsair Forums.

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bautrey

Thank you for the reply.

 

When you say, "this is accomplished by using a linx based OS which handles the RAID slightly different than Windows does" does that mean I have to not use Windows then?

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Digital-Storm

So fast you leave the T out of lightning.

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ABouman

haha, exactly! (or... rather, exacly).

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