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    RAID questions


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    #1 Iceman_F1

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    Posted 30 January 2012 - 08:39 AM

    After a friend has tested out WHS 2011, I've decided to try it out for myself to see if it meets my needs. I have a couple of questions in regards to RAID choice though. I've tried searching however not found the information.

    Currently I have a box that has the following setup.

    - AMD A4-3400
    - Gigabyte GA-A75M-S2V
    - 8 GB RAM
    - 5 x 1.5 TB HD's (4 Seagate Greens & 1 Western Digital non-green)
    - FreeNas 8.0.3

    In testing FreeNas, it so far meets my needs but I'm more used to Windows and was planning on using this as a download machine as well as storage to replace one of my computers that is only doing torrents. More used to uTorrent than any linux/freebsd solution (which isn't fully built into FreeNas 8 yet)

    Thinking ahead, I've just placed an order for a HighPoint RR 2680 with cables.

    My question now comes down to the following.

    I know it's better to use matching drives however can't change it now so I'll make due with what I have.

    That being said, should I build it as RAID 5 (which it currently is somewhat in FreeNas) to have 6TB of space OR should I get 1 more HD and do a RAID 10 for 4.5TB of space but hopefully better reliability in the case of a drive failure?

    If I decide to go with RAID 10 now and decide to max out the card later (2 more drives), is it possible to expand it into 1 large volume after adding the 2 drives or would I have to tear the RAID apart and rebuild with the new setup?

    While this data won't be super critical I DO want protection on it. It will mostly house my video/music/random files off my other computers and I have a 2TB external drive for critical things that I don't want to have to take the time to replace.

    Leaning towards RAID 10 right now but not sure if it's possible to add 2 more drives and keep the array or if it'd need rebuilding.

    Any insights?
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    #2 pcdoc

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    Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:22 AM

    First off, I would not include the WD in with Seagates. Create your raid 5 with only Seagates for now and use the WD as backup drive. RAID 10 is faster and more secure but 50% less space. You need to decide the balance. RAID 5 offers one drive failure so sometimes for home users it is better to keep a spare instead of going RAID 10. I have been through one drive failure several months ago and it was a not brainer. Just popped in a new drive and 5 hours later it was done. With that much of a mismatch, you have a high probability of having issues. As for expanding, you can expand a RAID 5 or 10 anytime with the Highpoint card. Check my videos which I posted a while ago. I included a links.

    Build your RAID 5
    Expanding your RAID 5
    Backup Strategy
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    #3 Iceman_F1

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    Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:08 AM

    I had seen the first and last links before but the second one was new.

    Some good points. At this point, I'm not as worried about space size as I am about the data staying there. So RAID 10 seems like a safer bet as I've heard horror stories of RAID 5 having a drive failure and then another goes on the rebuild.

    I have a couple days before parts get in so I'll figure out soon which way to go. Good info though and I appreciate the input.

    EDIT: I just checked the drive info for the drives. I was wrong in that it's not a WD drive. It's still seagate but it is a non-green.

    (1) ST31500341AS vs (4) ST1500DL003

    Still, I agree about the not mixing so will have to make due with 4 for now and figure out what I want to do to expand.

    Edited by Iceman_F1, 30 January 2012 - 11:11 AM.

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    #4 ikon

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    Posted 30 January 2012 - 04:50 PM

    Only you can decide of course but, as I've posted before, I want to remind you that RAID is not a substitute for a good backup. You have to decide if the data is worth backing up or not.
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    #5 Iceman_F1

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    Posted 31 January 2012 - 07:59 AM

    Only you can decide of course but, as I've posted before, I want to remind you that RAID is not a substitute for a good backup. You have to decide if the data is worth backing up or not.


    Yup, I've read enough online about this (RAID not a substitute for a good backup) hence my extra 2TB external that I'll do backups on that which will be powered off otherwise.

    Just wanted to make sure it was possible to expand a RAID 10 after the fact instead of adding it as more volumes. Still flip-flopping but won't decide until the parts are in. Good advice anyways and I appreciate it.
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    #6 ikon

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    Posted 01 February 2012 - 04:24 PM

    Just wanted to make sure it was possible to expand a RAID 10 after the fact instead of adding it as more volumes. Still flip-flopping but won't decide until the parts are in. Good advice anyways and I appreciate it.


    I don't believe this feature has been standardised and is there for vendor specific. I would simply recommend checking vendor's site to ensure the card you're looking at can do what you want.
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    #7 Iceman_F1

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    Posted 03 February 2012 - 04:16 PM

    So I got the card on Wednesday. Put it in the case and installed windows home server. Once it was done rebooting I installed the drivers and web interface and rebooted no issues. Setup RAID 5 and let the drives setup. Everything seemed good so I started transferring files. Everything finally copied this morning but I needed to reboot after an install however it never came back.

    Through many efforts, I found that while the drives are plugged into the card, it won't boot. Almost like it's trying to boot off the HD's on the card despite the OS having been on another HD and setting the boot device in the motherboard bios. Can't seem to figure this out.

    I've tried the card in a PCI x4 and PCI x16 and the card shows in boot with and without drives. Without drives, it boots to windows and shows in device manager. With drives, just hangs on "Loading Operating System".

    While drives plugged in, won't boot off other HD or DVD drive.

    Tried plugging in OS drive onto the card and set it as the boot device of the card and still nothing.

    Any ideas on how to solve this? It's weird as the card works and even the cards bios shows the RAID and says it's normal yet it doesn't boot. I'm stumped.
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    #8 pcdoc

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    Posted 03 February 2012 - 10:36 PM

    There are other posts with the same issue depending on your configuration. Make sure If the card is already on in the first slot and you have set the boot priority and still hangs, then you need to go into the card BIOS under settings, and select the boot device from there. That should cure your problem.
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    #9 Iceman_F1

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    Posted 04 February 2012 - 07:48 AM

    pcdoc - Tried that and none of it worked. What I did do was mess around a bit with it and the following worked.

    - In this box, if I left the sas to sata cable unplugged until windows started to boot then plugged in the cable, it worked and saw the RAID in windows. This at least let me re-backup a few things I changed/added since the first backup I had copied onto the array.

    - In my other box (desktop gaming computer) it worked no issues. Plugged the card in, rebooted and no issues. Installed drivers, rebooted, no issues and saw the full array.

    Still not sure what the problem is so I'll mess around a bit with it later and went back to FreeNas for now. I kept the backup and OS HD so I can just replace them later and do more testing at another time.
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    #10 ikon

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    Posted 04 February 2012 - 06:46 PM

    In another thread the fix was to reflash the RocketRaid BIOS and disable INT13 on the RR card during the flashing.
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