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RAID 1 - disk re-use?


Masquerade
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I've just acquired an external infoSAFE enclosure (startech.com) to enable me to house two WD 2TB SATA drives in a RAID 1 configuration. I use Acronis to backup my laptops to this device. I do intend to move to Vail when it is formally released and aim to migrate these drives over to that server. For the transistion to Vail - I intend to:

step 1: "break" the mirror

step 2: move one of the drives to the Vail server where I expect to have to reformat

step 3: copy the contents of the remaining drive across to the Vail server

step 4: add second drive to the Vail server and have it as part of the mirror.

 

By the time this happens, I may have saved enough for one or two more drives and so be able to create a RAID 5 and so have more usable space. However, the question is - will transistion work - can you start a RAID 1 from one disk and then add the second? More importantly - is there a better way?

 

Chris

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By the time this happens, I may have saved enough for one or two more drives and so be able to create a RAID 5 and so have more usable space. However, the question is - will transistion work - can you start a RAID 1 from one disk and then add the second? More importantly - is there a better way?

 

Sure, this should be doable. I don't know enough about how RAID 1 is implemented in the ioSafe, but at worst, you'll have to do a bit of trickery to get the data off the the second drive. As far as RAID 5, however, I'm less enthusiastic. Unless you're willing to dump money into business-class hardware, RAID 5 using consumer hardware has always been finicky. As soon as the new beta for Vail is pushed-out sans DE, I'm planning on messing with different options, but most will rely on mirroring my drives.

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Sure, this should be doable. I don't know enough about how RAID 1 is implemented in the ioSafe, but at worst, you'll have to do a bit of trickery to get the data off the the second drive. As far as RAID 5, however, I'm less enthusiastic. Unless you're willing to dump money into business-class hardware, RAID 5 using consumer hardware has always been finicky. As soon as the new beta for Vail is pushed-out sans DE, I'm planning on messing with different options, but most will rely on mirroring my drives.

 

If I stick to mirroring, then I think I'm limited to a 3TB array (2 x 3TB disks). With RAID 5 I can have up to four drives on most motherboards and so would have about 9TB (maths never being my strong point). The alternative would be to have a RAID contoller to enable more than one mirrored array - unless I'm missing something. Will an on-board controller allow for two arrays? [i would have my o/s drive mirrored anyway but I understand that most motherboards have a primary and secondary RAID controller.] :(

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You can have as many drives in a RAID1 as the controller can support. You could have 4x 2TB drives and end up with a 4TB array.

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You can have as many drives in a RAID1 as the controller can support. You could have 4x 2TB drives and end up with a 4TB array.

Thank you - I need to readup more on this. Brilliant.

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Guest no-control

If I stick to mirroring, then I think I'm limited to a 3TB array (2 x 3TB disks).

 

As noted you can run several disks in a RAID 1 mirror. If you stay with even numbers and more than 4 I would suggest RAID 10 if supported

 

With RAID 5 I can have up to four drives on most motherboards and so would have about 9TB (maths never being my strong point).

 

3x3TB RAID5 would yield a 6TB array

 

The alternative would be to have a RAID controller to enable more than one mirrored array - unless I'm missing something.

 

This is the RAID10 I speak of above. A Mirrored Stripe

 

Will an on-board controller allow for two arrays? [i would have my o/s drive mirrored anyway but I understand that most motherboards have a primary and secondary RAID controller.

 

Yes Most controllers can handle multiple arrays, but performance is going to take a big hit. Better off using the on board for the O/S RAID1 Mirror and a card for the RAID 5

 

 

 

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Masquerade. Always check with the specific RAID controller's documentation to make sure of what your limitations are. I've seen controllers with limitations based on number of total physical drives, number of arrays, total size of an array, etc. Especially with the lower cost cards, you need to make sure you read the documentation carefully.

 

I think this is an area where I'll part ways with many on these forums. Given consumer-grade hardware, RAID 1 is pretty much the way to go in my opinion. It's easy to setup and I only ever have to match 2 drives at a time. If I build a server and two years from now, I want to upgrade storage, I can buy 2 drives of any type and size that fits my budget, plug them in, and go. Sure, there's a painpoint with managing multiple drive letters, but migrating/upgrading when a RAID 5 array is involved is never a painless process.

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  • 1 year later...

Thank you to all for your instructive comments. From my base of a twin-disk RAID1, I'll probably start by adding a second pair to give me the extra 2TB I'll need. Then I can think about the next step. While I'd prefer a separate RAID controller - I agree with mrossco that I need to look at the small print as well as listing to BYOB again. THANK YOU

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